Marlborough is pleased to commemorate the 50th anniversary of New York artist Joe Zucker’s 100-Foot- Long Piece with an exhibition of this landmark multi-panel work, created in 1968-1969.
This masterwork, exhibited here with a large body of related archival material, comprises a blueprint for Zucker’s long and diverse practice. It plants a flag for the artist’s ongoing inventiveness, irony, and eclecticism.
With the creation of this work, Zucker presents the viewer with a puzzle-like, encyclopedic visual vocabulary, anticipating subsequent pictorial and conceptual approaches such as New Image, Neo-Expressionism, Appropriation, Neo Geo, as well as more recent process- based abstraction, with a self-referential, wry regard for the embedded, associative meaning of his imagery and materials.
100-Foot-Long Piece is a linear aggregate in which gestural abstraction rubs elbows with hard edged grids, silk-screened passages, sculptural reliefs, and a host of other styles and forms. One is mindful of both physical and critical tropes of progressive art history from the physicality of the frieze to a qualitative timeline tracing the contributions of Modernism.
If, as Marcel Duchamp suggested, it takes half a century to fully recognize a work of art, then we have arrived at the ideal moment for a reassessment of Zucker’s seminal, multifaceted contribution and the persistence of his painterly vision.
Joe Zucker (b. 1941, Chicago, Illinois, based in East Hampton, New York) has consistently been one of America’s most innovative artists. From the seventies, Zucker experimented with what has become his signature technique: rolling cotton balls in paint and gluing them to canvas in a gridded arrangement. Resulting in a highly textured surface reminiscent of mosaic, this technique radically transforms the surface of the canvas and challenges the “flatness.” His imagery most often relates in some way to the materials and processes, for example the series’ with cotton plantation imagery executed in cotton balls rolled in paint. Throughout his extensive career, Zucker has exhibited alongside artists such as Agnes Martin and Brice Marden at the pioneering Bykert Gallery in the 1960s, and later with dealer Holly Solomon, who was well known for her support of new and experimental mediums.
Zucker’s work is in extensive public collections including: The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Tel Aviv Museum, Israel, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, The Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and many others.