Sara Hildén Art Museum 21 February - 31 May 2009
The Sara Hildén Art Museum celebrated its 30th anniversary 2009. To mark the occasion the museum held an exhibition of works by the American artist Alex Katz. The exhibition was one of a series displaying works by famous international artists which belong to the museum’s own collection.
Alex Katz was born in New York in 1927, and he is one of the most esteemed of his generation of American artists. He belongs to the same generation as the best known representatives of Pop Art, namely Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Rather than being known as a Pop artist, however, Alex Katz is regarded as a representative of the "New York School" and American-style painting.
Alex Katz's paintings usually feature people, with the model frequently being his wife Ada. He paints large facial portraits or busts and beach scenes or cocktail parties with several people in them. Landscapes and flowers also feature in his art. His paintings are large in scale and are mostly horizontally orientated. They have been influenced by advertising but, above all, by the world of television and film. He is particularly known for his double portraits and for his 'flat sculptures', or cut-out works. His oeuvre also includes serial works, collages, stage scenery and costumes. Katz has both taught and lectured at many colleges of art and has held over two hundred solo exhibitions.
Alex Katz grew up in Queens in New York City. His parents emigrated from Russia to New York in the early 1920s. At the beginning of the 1940s Katz attended a trade school and spent his days drawing copies of sculptures from Antiquity. In 1946 he was admitted to study at the Cooper Union, an art college in New York. Katz recalls that he drew around the clock, sketching both on the subway and in cafés. Above all, he was interested in jazz, particularly in the 'cool jazz' performed by Stan Getz, Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins. Jazz also had a decisive influence on his style, and in his paintings he tried to impart the same kind of coolness found in the work of these musicians.
Alex Katz still lives and works in New York, but since the 1950s he has spent his summers in the state of Maine.
The exhibition was assembled by the Sara Hildén Art Museum, and from Tampere it was transfered to the Musée de Grenoble in France and from there to the Museum Kurhaus Kleve in Germany.