White Room: Wayne KoestenbaumOctober 27–December 15, 2012 320 West 13th Street White Room
Roman as Samson
Blue Angelo with Orange Predella
Jeff Twice (Purple Shorts)
White Columns is proud to present the first solo exhibition of paintings by the celebrated New York-based poet, writer and, now, artist Wayne Koestenbaum.
Koestenbaum’s exhibition includes twenty-four recent oil paintings drawn from a larger body of work that Koestenbaum has developed over the past two years.
In 2011 White Columns’ director Matthew Higgs saw a small group of Koestenbaum’s earliest paintings in a group show organized by Stuart Horodner at Atlanta’s Contemporary Art Center. Unaware that Koestenbaum had taken up painting, Higgs contacted the artist on his return to New York and thus began a series of studio visits which resulted in an invitation to Koestenbaum to present his work at White Columns. In the two years since Koestenbaum started his painting practice he has produced more than 400 easel-sized works, literally educating himself as artist through the process of making. Writing in the current issue of Art in America in a preface to an extensive conversation with Koestenbaum, Steel Stillman suggests that the paintings:
“ … have much in common with his writings: they are bold, personal declarations that celebrate surprising and often queer dimensions of their subject matter, while reveling in the felicities of their own expression … the real treat they offer is the opportunity to observe Koestenbaum’s mind and eye – already steeped in experiences of looking – discovering themselves in a new language. We track his familiar themes – his preoccupations with autobiography and the varieties of male desire – as he calibrates them to unfamiliar grammar and syntax.”
Wayne Koestenbaum (b. 1958) is a New York-based writer and artist. He is the author of six volumes of poetry, a novel, and nine works of nonfiction. His recent books include Humiliation (2011), The Anatomy of Harpo Marx (2012), and Blue Stranger with Mosaic Background (2012). He received his B.A. at Harvard, an M.A. in Creative Writing from John Hopkins, and a Ph.D. in English from Princeton. He is distinguished professor of English at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Since 1992 he has written about art and since 2003 he has been a visiting critic in the MFA painting department at Yale.