Dana Schutz’s “Monde Visible”

Dana Schutz, “Swimming, Smoking, Crying” © 2023 Dana Schutz, courtesy of the artist, CFA Berlin, Thomas Dane Gallery and David Zwirner. Photo: Obispo

One of the most prominent figures in the U.S. new figuration scene, Dana Schutz, is featured with an exhibition “Le Monde Visible” (The Visible World) at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (until February 11, 2024). With forty paintings from the early 2000s until today, drawings and recent sculptures it spans her stellar two decade career. Schutz (born 1976) is among the most successful female artists of her generation. Her painting “Elevator” recently sold at Christie’s for $6.5 million. It is the first time that the work of this internationally renowned American artist has been shown on this scale in France.

This exhibition outlines various themes found throughout her work: intangible subjects, often portrayed with humour; artists at work; the transformation and construction of the self; and tensions between the individual and the collective.

Taken from a painting of the same name, the exhibition title “The Visible World” acts as a proposal and a contradiction. About the 2018 painting Schutz said “The title denotes the reality of pictures, a container for the intangible, a condition that the subject of this painting seems to be forever bound to, while gesturing toward escape.”

Schutz is a storyteller and a virtuoso in her use of colour. Over the years she has honed a sense of dramatic tension which is revealed in her intricate compositions. Her paintings depict imaginary scenes –inspired by hypothetical situations, physical improbabilities, contemporary life and language–creating a world of unruly characters, human folly, deadpan predicaments and physical calamity… a vision that speaks loudly to our troubled times.

“Le Monde Visible,” Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (until February 11, 2024).