Between 1992 and 2002, Peter Halley’s paintings were seldom seen in New York City — during that entire ten-year span there was only one exhibition of his paintings in the city. This exhibition focuses on eight works from those years when, despite his absence from the New York scene, Halley was actively exhibiting in Europe. The eight paintings in this exhibition were assembled by Gian Enzo Sperone, who exhibited Halley’s work regularly at his gallery in Rome — in 1996, 1997 and 2000.
The paintings in this exhibition, dated 1997 through 2002, are representative of Halley’s particular visual lexicon in this period. They are characterized by his extensive use of pearlescent and metallic paints and feature dense compositions in which multiple conduits radiate from a large centrally-placed cell or prison.
A key figure in the 1980s Neo-Conceptualist movement and a major presence in the downtown New York art scene, Halley has, for more than three decades, explored a strictly limited vocabulary comprising rectilinear geometric forms that he calls “prisons” and “cells,” connected by right-angle linear pathways that he labels “conduits.” Halley’s compositions are reflective not only of the city’s three-dimensional urban grid, but also of the burgeoning flow of information spawned by computer technology. The work speaks to a world in which there are no longer singular “places,” but vacuums that exist between endless currents of data.
Halley is also known for his numerous critical essays on art and culture. From 1996 to 2005, he published INDEX magazine, which featured extensive interviews with cultural figures in film, music, fashion, and design. He served as director of graduate studies in painting and printmaking at the Yale School of Art from 2002 to 2011.
Sperone Westwater’s exhibition coincides with Halley’s installation New York, New York, organized by Lever House Art Collection in collaboration with Greene Naftali, on view at Lever House, 390 Park Avenue, through December 2018.