Luc Tuymans: Nice

Texts by Éric de Chassey, Joshua Cohen, Jonathan Crary, Lynne Tillman, and Su Wei

Forthcoming June 2024

Stunning translations of images from the internet and the artist’s iPhone to canvas, Luc Tuymans’s quiet paintings belie an underlying moral complexity. 

“Once Tuymans’s muted compositions felt fatalistic; now they appear as committed assaults on our digital fragmentation and the lies that thrive in its cracks.” —Jason Farago, The New York Times

One of the most important painters working today, Luc Tuymans pioneered a distinctive figurative style beginning in the 1980s that has proven singularly influential among his peers as well as subsequent generations of artists. Tuymans’s deeply resonant compositions insist on the power of images to simultaneously convey and conceal meaning. Rendered in a restrained and muted palette, the artist’s canvases are based on preexisting imagery from a range of historical, cultural, and popular media sources.

This monograph of recent work reveals how Tuymans’s paintings grasp the mystery, strangeness, and possibilities of contemporary image making. It highlights a body of work that Tuymans has been working on since 2020, bringing together three exhibitions: Good Luck, at David Zwirner, Hong Kong; Eternity, at David Zwirner, Paris; and The Barn, at David Zwirner, New York. For this trilogy, Tuymans has heightened the contrast and saturation in his paintings, underscoring the urgency of our contemporary global moment. With texts by the novelist Joshua Cohen, the art historians Jonathan Crary and Éric de Chassey, the writer and critic Lynne Tillman, and the writer Su Wei, this publication offers an in-depth, dimensional understanding of both Tuymans’s outlook and his assertion of the relevance of painting in our digitally saturated world.


Publisher: David Zwirner Books

Artists: Luc Tuymans

Contributors: Éric de Chassey, Joshua Cohen, Jonathan Crary, Lynne Tillman, Su Wei

Designer: Beverly Joel, pulp, ink.

Printer: Verona Libri, Verona

Publication Date: 2024

Binding: Hardcover

Dimensions: 9.5 × 11.5 in | 24.1 × 29.2 cm

Pages: 176

Reproductions: 70 illustrations

ISBN: 9781644231296

Retail: $85 | $115 CAN | £65

Status: Not Yet Published

Luc Tuymans

Luc Tuymans (b. 1958, Mortsel) is a Belgian artist who is internationally known for his paintings that engage equally with questions of history and its representation as with quotidian subject matter cast in unfamiliar and eerie light. Painted from preexisting imagery, his works often appear slightly out-of-focus and sparsely colored, like third-degree abstractions from reality. Whereas earlier works were based on magazine pictures, drawings, television footage, and Polaroids, recent source images include material accessed online and the artist’s own iPhone photos, printed out and sometimes re-photographed several times. Since the 1980s, Tuymans has steadily exhibited in the United States, Europe, and abroad, and his work is represented in major museum collections.

All Luc Tuymans books

Éric de Chassey

Éric de Chassey is the director of the Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris, and a professor of modern and contemporary art history at the École normale supérieure in Lyon, France. Between 2009 and 2015, he was the director of the French Academy in Rome, Villa Medici. He has published extensively on American and European art, transatlantic cultural relationships, and the visual culture of the second half of the twentieth century. 

Joshua Cohen

Joshua Cohen's books include the novels Cadenza for the Schneidermann Violin Concerto (2007), A Heaven of Others (2008), Witz (2010), Book of Numbers (2015), and Moving Kings (2017); the short-fiction collection Four New Messages (2012), and the nonfiction collection Attention: Dispatches from a Land of Distraction (2018). Cohen was awarded Israel’s 2013 Matanel Prize for Jewish Writers, and in 2017 was named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists. His most recent novel, The Netanyahus (2021), won the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He lives in New York City.


Jonathan Crary

Jonathan Crary is Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory at Columbia University. His books include Techniques of the Observer (1990), Suspensions of Perception (1999), 24/7 (2013), and Tricks of the Light (2023).

Lynne Tillman

Lynne Tillman is a novelist, short story writer, and cultural critic. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship; a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant; and The Katherine Anne Porter Prize awarded by The American Academy of Arts and Letters. She is a professor and writer in residence in the Department of English at the University at Albany. 

Su Wei

Su Wei is a curator and art critic based in Beijing. He is the senior curator of Inside-Out Art Museum (IOAM), Beijing. His curatorial projects include the 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, China (2012); No References: A Revisit of Hong Kong Video and Media Art from 1985, Videotage, Hong Kong (2016); Permanent Abstraction: Epiphanies of a Modern Form in Escaped Totalities, Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing (2016); Crescent: Retrospectives of Zhao Wenliang and Yang Yushu, IOAM, Beijing (2018); and The Lonely Spirit, IOAM, Beijing (2018). His recent work focuses on thick descriptions of China’s contemporary art history, excavating its legitimate origins and rupturing nature.