Alex Katz, the 92-year-old artist known for a distinctive style of stark figurative painting and stylized landscapes he has refined since early studies dating back to the 1940s, will be the subject of a career retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in 2022. The hometown show in New York—currently being organized, a Guggenheim representative confirmed, by Katherine Brinson, curator for contemporary art at the Guggenheim; Nancy Spector, artistic director and chief curator; and Levi Prombaum, a curatorial assistant who helped organize the museum’s two-part exhibition “Implicit Tensions: Mapplethorpe Now”—will mark a milestone for an artist who has long been synonymous with the city in which he was born.
“If you try too hard for a likeness, you lose your painting,” Katz told a writer for ARTnews in 1962—in one of the magazine’s “Paints a Picture” profiles by poet James Schuyler (who was “dragooned into posing” for a portrait during a spirited visit to Katz’s studio).
In the decades since, Katz has been the subjects of many exhibitions—including “Alex Katz, This Is Now,” a survey of landscapes going back to the 1980s that opened at the Guggenheim Bilbao in 2015. Currently, Katz has work on show the Colby Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine (in a presentation of drawings inspired by Moby Dick) as well as the Dallas Museum of Art. He also has shows on view now at Galeria Monica de Cardenas Zuoz in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and Timothy Taylor Gallery in London; other recent gallery shows for him have been presented at other galleries, including numerous significant exhibitions at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York as well as Richard Gray Gallery in Chicago and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris. Later this year, he will be the subject of a retrospective featuring some 30 large-scale oil paintings and accompanying studies opening in June at Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, Spain.