Frieze New York
Online Viewing Room
Preview: May 6-7, 2020
Public Days: May 8-15, 2020
Venus Over Manhattan is pleased to present a selection of work by Ed Paschke for the inaugural presentation of Frieze New York's Online Viewing Room. The presentation comprises a group of important and historic works by Ed Paschke, whose technicolor portraits of provocative subjects established him as one of the most important artists to emerge from Chicago in the last fifty years. Rising to prominence alongside a group of artists who came to be known as the Chicago Imagists, Paschke’s production was distinguished by the range of its references, which, at various moments in his career, included circus freaks, tattoo artists, physically deformed figures, ambiguously gendered bodies, and sideshow attractions. Supplementing his studio practice, Paschke took on various jobs, working as a factory hand and a psychiatric aide, experiences that connected him with the breadth and diversity of Chicago’s urban communities, while simultaneously informing the content of his practice. Celebrated for the technical mastery with which he rendered his figures, Paschke made paintings with nearly photorealistic precision, endowing his subjects with a confrontational, nearly physical presence. Following a major retrospective of his work at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford University, the presentation comprises a tightly focused group of major paintings that illustrate many of the major visual strategies that defined his production, blending references to circus posters, carnival acts, religious icons, tattooed figures, and dissolved figures. Taken together, the presentation highlights the singular force of Paschke’s imagery, positioning his work alongside that of the greatest figurative painters of his generation.
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"Central to my work is what I refer to as the law of opposites; I believe that there are polarities between things […] Positive/negative, the idea of pacing a painting in terms of complexity and simplicity, the idea of public versus private, are elements that have always interested me and that I've always tried in some way to build into the character of the paintings."
– Ed Paschke
"Think of Ed Paschke, the great American painter who died in 2004, as a formalist in wolf’s clothing, or the most abstract of Photo Realists. His dystopic photo-based paintings depict the denizens of a lurid dark side, where crime, race, clubs and an eerie glamour mixed with intimations of violence."
– Roberta Smith, 2014
Ballon Illustree, 1996
"On weekends I would stretch canvases in Ed's studio. At the end of the day Ed would ask me, "Do you want to go out tonight? I'd like to show you this club I just went to." He took me to tattoo parlors, a midget bar on the south side, a club where a pregnant woman was dancing, her whole body tattooed. Garish colors, risque costumes and flashing neon lights all became part of his painting. He taught me to create my own personal iconography from the world around me."
– Jeff Koons, 2015
Red Green Buddha, 2000
Paschke is talkative, though not self-revealing. I feel as though he's warming up to real conversation with stories that have been rehearsed and fine-tuned. He acts out the one about making himself into a snake: "Well, I transformed myself into an object once, actually; I put these tattoos all over myself. They weren't real tattoos. I just drew all over myself with marking pens. I was going to have myself photographed for a poster for a show I was having. I just loved the way it felt. I looked in the mirror and moved around like a snake. It took days to wash it off. Then I thought, wouldn't it be great to be able to feel this way anytime I wanted to, so I took an old white shirt and drew on that, so whenever I wanted..." He is a tall, thin man in nondescript beige clothes, pretending to be standing in front of a mirror, twisting his whole body in graceful reptilian gesticulations. The long erratic tube of light you would think would quit sputtering doesn't. He gestures to a plastic hose filled with discarded colored sponges. "I'm making an art sausage," he says.
– Susan Bergman, 1988
Teaching notes from Paschke’s archive, Northwestern University
Mano Giallo, 2000
ABOUT ED PASCHKE
Ed Paschke was born in 1939 in Chicago, Illinois. He received both his BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been the subject of numerous solo presentations both stateside and abroad, including exhibitions at Ashmolean Museum, Oxford University; the Art Institute of Chicago; Gagosian Gallery, New York; the National Museum in Wroclaw, Poland; Galerie Darthea Speyer, Paris; Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and the Dallas Museum of Art. His work is frequently featured in major group exhibitions, including recent presentations at Goldsmiths CCA, London; Fondazione Prada, Milan; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Brooklyn Museum; the Musée du Louvre, Paris; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. His work is held in numerous public collections around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Musee d'Art Moderne Nationale, Paris; Museum des 20 Jahrhunderts, Vienna; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven. Ed Paschke lived and worked in Chicago, until his death in 2004.