Bernar Venet. Arcs

9 Mar — 22 Apr 2017 at Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York, United States

Bernar Venet. Arcs, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery
Bernar Venet. Arcs, Exhibition view. Courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery
21 MAR 2017

Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to announce Bernar Venet: Arcs, on view at 297 Tenth Avenue from March 9 – April 22, 2017. The exhibition features six large-scale drawings and two new sculptures by the French conceptual artist. The gallery will publish a fully-illustrated pamphlet with an essay by American art critic, Carter Ratcliff.

With this new series of drawings, the artist deepens his radical, lifelong exploration of the line and material. Ratcliff writes, “A drawing is an end in itself, not merely a step on the way to realizing a sculpture, nor is a small sculpture of any less importance than one of the artist’s immense outdoor pieces.” Stretching to seven feet tall, these drawings are the artist’s largest to date. Venet uses graphite, oilstick and collage to create groups of four, five and seven arcs in six different configurations onto a white background. With their exacting precision, Venet’s new work originates in his first conceptual sculpture. The interplay between sculpture and drawing brings out the inherent versatility of form in Venet’s oeuvre that transcends material boundaries.

Mirroring the drawings are two new sculptures made of six-foot-tall rolled steel finished in a black patina. The new Arc sculptures are comprised in groups of four, five and seven curved lines that extend upwards from its base at variations of 86.5 degrees.

Carter Ratcliff emphasizes throughout his essay, “How do the sculptures in this exhibition stand in relation to the drawings? Again, it is easy to make—and to leave unquestioned—the assumption that the drawn arcs represent the sculptural ones. Yet we could just as reasonably say that it is the other way around, for Venet sees each of his mediums as equal to all the others”.

Bernar Venet (b. 1941, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France), known for his groundbreaking sculpture works, has explored a range of disciplines over his five-decade conceptual practice, including sculpture, painting, photography, language and drawing. He first gained recognition in the 1960s for his iconic Tas de charbon (Pile of Coal), an amorphous sculpture without specific shape. 1979 marked a significant turning point in Venet’s career, when he began a series of wood reliefs—Arcs, Angles, Straight Lines—and created the first of his Indeterminate Lines pieces. Venet currently lives and works between New York, Paris and Le Muy, France.

Venet’s work has been the subject of numerous single-artist museum exhibitions worldwide and over 30 public sculpture commissions. On March 3, RAW: Portraits of Artists by Venet will open at the Alliance Française of Boston and will remain on view through May 2. Recent exhibitions include Disorder: 9 Uneven Angles at Union Square Plaza, New York in 2016; public installations at the Venice Biennale in 2015 and 2009; and Venet à Versailles, an exhibition of significant scale at the prestigious Château de Versailles in France in 2011.

Venet’s work is included in all major museum collections worldwide such as Busan Museum of Art, South Korea; Denver Art Museum, CO; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Jumex Foundation, Mexico City; Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland; Musée National d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; New York Public Library, New York; The Detroit Institute of Arts, MI; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., USA; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, CT; Yale University, New Haven, CT among many others.

Venet has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Grand Prix des Arts de la Ville de Paris and Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur—France's highest civilian honor. Last year, he was honored with the International Sculpture Center’s 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award.