Where is Jack Goldstein?

November 14–February 02, 2013

New York…Jack Goldstein, whose oeuvre encompasses films, paintings, recordings and word poems, was a member of the first graduating class of CalArts (California Institute of Arts) in 1972 — an auspicious start for a dazzling and too-brief career that remains much admired but stubbornly enigmatic. Goldstein moved to New York, where his rejection of Minimalism and urgent embrace of imagery helped establish him as a key figure in what is today known as the Pictures Generation, and made him one of the most influential American artists of the 1980s. He showed his work initially at the new Metro Pictures; bounced among several other galleries; then slowly faded from view and eventually removed himself completely from the New York art scene. Goldstein returned to California in the 1990s and virtually disappeared from public consciousness until his 2002 retrospective at Le Magasin in Grenoble. A few months before the publication of Jack Goldstein and the CalArts Mafia, an oral history of his early days and with interest in his work growing significantly, he tragically ended his own life on March 14, 2003. In the decade since his death, interest in Goldstein has grown significantly, and yet the deeper intentions of his rapturous but ominous work remain a mystery.


Beginning November 14th, Venus Over Manhattan will present Where Is Jack Goldstein?, an exhibition conceived to invite further exploration of that mystery and to re-contextualize the artist’s significant contributions. The show will be one of the very first ever to focus in depth upon Goldstein’s early paintings. On view will be 13 key canvases from the decade spanning 1976 to 1986, all on loan from important private collections. Among the earliest works included are “The Pull,” an experiment combining photography and painting, along with an important early-untitled triptych from 1979. “Untitled (#26)” from Goldstein’s Burning City series (1981) leads to the artist’s fully developed canvases, represented in Where Is Jack Goldstein? by a monumental work from the Blitzkrieg (Tracer) series. The Lightning series will be represented by three large paintings, and Goldstein’s interest in celestial phenomena is revealed in “Untitled (Observatory)” and “Untitled”(Eclipse),” both made in 1983.

Where Is Jack Goldstein? will be on view from November 14, 2012 through January 15, 2013. At the exhibition’s November 14th opening, Venus Over Manhattan will restage Goldstein’s famous performance work “Two Fencers” (1977).

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication, including a key essay by artist Ashley Bickerton. A leading figure of the Neo-Geo generation of the 1990s, Bickerton was hired upon graduation from CalArts by Jack Goldstein’s studio, where he remained the artist’s primary assistant for four years. His contribution to the publication, titled “Jack ’n’ Me,” recalls his firsthand experience with Goldstein and provides an extraordinary look at the real Jack Goldstein, providing one man’s answer to the question posed by this show’s title.

Where is Jack Goldstein? also will present the original print of “Shane” (1975), one of Goldstein’s most important and best-known films. This work will be projected continuously throughout the run of the exhibition. Likewise, the gallery will complement the show with the music of Patsy Cline, whose recordings were played without interruption in the artist’s New York studio.

Venus Over Manhattan gallery is located at 980 Madison Avenue, between East 76th and 77th Streets, on the third floor and is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10AM to 6PM.

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