Alex Katz - Quick Light is now available at our bookshop for national and international shipping. Read Adrian Searle's review of the exhibition.
Alex Katz, Reflection 7, 2008. © Alex Katz, DACS, London/VAGA, New York 2016, Courtesy: Gavin Brown's enterprise, Rome/New York, Timot
"Katz’s paintings look painfully simple: painful because you know you couldn’t do it, and if you tried it would look cheap and the whole thing would fall apart. The easier he makes it look, the harder he is to emulate. This is one of the exciting things about Katz, not that I go to paintings for a high-wire act. The quicker his paintings seem to be, the longer you want to spend with them. Katz paints with the speed of a thought or a glimpse, but it is all artifice. Katz is sneaky. He works to make it look easy. No one wants to see how hard it is; you don’t get marks for effort.
Instantly recognisable, Katz’s paintings are sometimes mistaken for pop art, but only because he has always painted the modern world in a modern way, with a kind of casual accuracy – just as his friend, the poet Frank O’Hara, would describe a New York lunch break or a yearning for intimacy while sharing a bottle of Coke.
Katz’s world is largely white and affluent, east coast and sophisticated, in the same way Katz is, though he is more of a dandy, even at 88, than most people ever manage. The artist has style and so does his art, but I don’t mean any of that as a put-down. He doesn’t paint battles and he doesn’t paint suffering, his own or anyone else’s. He once told me he thought the work of Leon Golub was “kind of adolescent”, but we need both kinds of artist, them and a whole lot more, to make sense of the world through their different sensibilities."
Alex Katz: Quick Light review – a bright burst of life in freeze-frame, Adrian Searle, The Guardian, Jun. 8, 2016.