Haim Steinbach: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
Employing a radical form of re-contextualization, Steinbach observes the psychological manifestation and physical materiality of objects. He questions the narrative and connective functions of color and allegory within the world of object interaction.
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Haim Steinbach on view April 21 through May 27, 2016.
Throughout his influential practice, Haim Steinbach has engaged concepts of presentation and display, and questioned the nature of the object in its social and cultural context. He has developed a unique visual lexicon consisting of already existing objects and texts, which he presents on walls, on shelves and in boxes he designs. Employing a radical form of re-contextualization, Steinbach observes the psychological manifestation and physical materiality of objects. He questions the narrative and connective functions of color and allegory within the world of object interaction.
Central to the exhibition is the consideration of color. This deeply rooted interest can be traced to Steinbach's early work of the 1970s that related to the leading concepts of Minimalism and Color Field painting. In the Bar Arrangement (cut out) works of 1972-73, Steinbach investigated the minimal grid with the arrangement of the “cut out” color bars. These bars were placed at the periphery of a brown/black square. The painted square functioned as a space, a field or a game board on which to arrange things.
Upon entering the gallery, the visitor encounters the silhouette of a lion’s head on an expansive wall painting. The image is drawn from the highly popular musical The Lion King, whose plot is based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Continuing into the gallery, eight handcrafted wood and glass boxes each display a metal container produced by Pantone, a company famous for its color “Matching System.” Taking these objects out of their everyday context, Steinbach weighs how we recognize objects and concepts anew through visual and linguistic tropes.
In the rear gallery on the ground floor, the work pantonecoolgray10 transfers painting’s support from the Pantone box directly to the wall. On the adjoining wall, the gray repeats in a long rectangular format framing the text “omaobamaoldsmobile.” Two shelves, Untitled (mouse, shoes, duct) and Untitled (rabbit, sailor), display objects whose colors echo the immediate surroundings.
Upstairs, the work it would look like this holds the wall with a cascade of thirteen painted rectangles accompanied by commercial color names. Works in the facing project space entertain how the identity and meaning of colors, words and objects may shift within a matrix of signifiers. What is a duck? What is Darth Vader? What is a bocce ball?In the last gallery, Steinbach presents the early bar “cut out” works in the company of two recent works, Untitled (funnel, box, dog chew) and wall painting, fromzoomtozooooooooooooom.
Haim Steinbach was born in 1944 in Rehovot, Israel and moved to New York in 1957. He received his BFA from Pratt Institute in 1968 and his MFA from Yale in 1973.
Steinbach has held solo exhibitions at major museums worldwide including most recently The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas (2014); Kunsthalle Zurich and Serpentine Galleries, London (2014); CCS Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York (2013); Statens Museum fur Kunst, Copenhagen (2013-14); Berkeley Art Museum, UC Berkeley (2005); Haus der Kunst, Munich (2000); Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna (1997); Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin, Italy (1995); Guggenheim Museum, New York with Ettore Spalletti (1993); and CAPC musée d’art contemporain, Bordeaux (1988).
Prominent group exhibitions include: Accrochage at Punta della Dogana, Pinault Foundation, Venice and Cher(e)s Ami(e)s at Centre Pompidou, Paris (2016); Walter Benjamin: Exilic Archive, Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv (2015); Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); Ileana Sonnabend: Ambassador for the New, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013-2014); Surrealism and the Object, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2013-2014); This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2012); Venice Biennale (1997) and documenta IX, Kassel Germany (1992).
Steinbach's work is represented in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Castello di Rivoli, Turin; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Städel Museum, Frankfurt; Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen; Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, among others.
All installation images above: Photo by Jean Vong