Sunday, September 30, 2018
Masters Mingle, but don’t Match, at David Zwirner Gallery
At David Zwirner Gallery, modern and medieval art mingle in an exhibition with strong pieces but a weak concept. Endless Enigma: Eight Centuries of Fantastic Art, participates in today’s curatorial trend of placing artworks from across centuries together with the intention of drawing historical and cultural connections. Featuring hard-hitters like Bosch, Titian, Goya, Munch, Bourgeois, and Dalí, the show explores surrealist themes in their work, such as myth, the subconscious, and religious narratives. However, this theme is interpreted quite loosely. The juxtaposition of Ernst’s Forêt, soleil, oiseaux ou le chant à la lune with an old master Judith Beheading Holofernes emphasizes the time of the day the paintings depict (both being night scenes) rather an investigation of surrealist and grotesque subjects. Taking up the entire two floors of the gallery’s 20th Street location, the expansive exhibition underscores Zwirner’s power in both the modern and old master markets. There is quality at the level of each individual piece, however. Taken as a whole, the exhibition comes off as a fever dream garage sale instead of a study of the fantastical mind.