Exclusive interview with the legendary American artist Alex Katz. Katz, currently in his ninth decade, is painting with the high ambition of being the best.
Alex Katz (born July 24, 1927) is an American figurative artist. In particular, he is known for his paintings, sculptures, and prints and is represented by numerous galleries internationally.
Alex Katz was born to a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York, as the son of an émigré who had lost a factory he owned in Russia to the Soviet revolution.In 1928 the family moved to St. Albans, Queens, where Katz grew up.
From 1946 to 1949 Katz studied at The Cooper Union in New York, and from 1949 to 1950 he studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. Skowhegan exposed him to painting from life, which would prove pivotal in his development as a painter and remains a staple of his practices today. Katz explains that Skowhegan's plein air painting gave him "a reason to devote my life to painting.
Katz has admitted to destroying a thousand paintings during his first ten years as a painter in order to find his style. Since the 1950s, he worked to create art more freely in the sense that he tried to paint "faster than can think. His works seem simple, but according to Katz they are more reductive, which is fitting to his personality.
Since 1951, Alex Katz's work has been the subject of more than 200 solo exhibitions and nearly 500 group exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally. Katz' first one-person show was an exhibition of paintings at the Roko Gallery in New York in 1954. In 1974 the Whitney Museum of American Art showed Alex Katz Prints, followed by a traveling retrospective exhibition of paintings and cutouts titled Alex Katz in 1986. The subject of over 200 solo exhibitions and nearly 500 group shows internationally, Katz has since been honoured with numerous retrospectives at museums including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Jewish Museum, New York; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Colby College Museum of Art, Maine; Staaliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden; Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga and the Saatchi Gallery, London (1998). In 1998, a survey of Katz' landscape paintings was shown at the P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, featuring nearly 40 pared-down paintings of urban or pastoral motifs.
Katz is represented by Gavin Brown's Enterprise in New York, Timothy Taylor Gallery in London, and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris/Salzburg.
Alex Katz | filmed by Out of Sync | NYC Apr 2014
Interview | Jesper Bundgaard
Camera and edit | Per Henriksen
Producer | Out of Sync
Artworks courtesy | Alex Katz
© Out of Sync 2017