Stamos (1922-1997) was the youngest of the group of New York abstract expressionists who came to be called “The Irascibles.” Zinsser (b. 1961) is a painter and writer known for his interest in post-war American abstraction.
A survey of selected significant historical Stamos works will be paired against new paintings by Zinsser that respond directly to Stamos’s imagery and methodologies. An accompanying series of word-based drawings by Zinsser also provide a narrative art historical bridge of reference between the two.
The exhibition addresses questions of how iconic artworks are received by contemporary viewers. Appropriation and visual quotation are central to the practice of today’s abstract painters, but here this dialogue is sharpened, as Zinsser takes Stamos’s ideographic formats of “sky,” “sun” and “field” to his own post-minimal and pop responses.
Stamos’s well-known storied biography, steeped in the lore of New York School artists and galleries of the 1940s-1980s, provides a dual mode of reference: as it frames the works included within the larger themes of mythology, romance and tragedy.
Theodoros Stamos was a founding member of the abstract expressionist movement. He was included in Nina Leen’s famous photograph in LIFE magazine in 1951, The Irascibles. He showed at many significant New York galleries, including Betty Parsons Gallery and Andre Emmerich Gallery, over his long career. His works are included in the collections of most major US museums.
John Zinsser, BA, art history, Yale University, first encountered Stamos work during his studies as an undergraduate. He co-founded Journal of Contemporary Art in 1987. He is a longstanding lecturer at New School University in New York. As an artist, he has had over 30 solo exhibitions in the US and Europe. He is the subject of a recent monograph, John Zinsser: New York Paintings, published by kunstgaleriebonn. This is his fifth solo show with Graham.