Opening 31 October, 6 – 8PM
Genthiner Strasse 36
„(…) Holt asked me if I wanted to drive with her to Malibu and watch the pelicans. What about them? I asked. They can’t land right, she said. We spent an entire afternoon watching the comedic creatures crash land while discussing what things were meant to be as opposed to what they actually were, and how one notion obscured the other. Hearing Holt talk about meaning as expectation, and hypothesizing that pelicans would land as gracefully as starlings if we lived in a world of language, made perfect sense (…)“1 Vik Muniz, 2013
Société is excited to present an exhibition of works by Holt Quentel.
The Milwaukee-born, graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Princeton University, Holt Quentel had her first solo exhibition at Stux Gallery in Boston in 1987. Introduced to the public in New York the same year, Quentel quickly became a fixture on the local art scene. Having participated in numerous group shows in the US and Europe between 1987 and 1992, she deserted the art world leaving behind a singular oeuvre. Her sculptural practice was recently subject to a partial review at the Aspen Museum of Art (2013).
The exhibition at Société presents four large-scale paintings on soiled, unstretched canvases, each one obscurely marked with a single monumental letter or number. Resembling worn out signs, awnings or tarpaulins, Quentel’s paintings were first carefully handcrafted to then be purposely and repetitively maltreated.
Choosing her home-studio in West Village and the large enamelled bathtub there as the centrestage, Quentel subjected her canvasses to a variety of afflictions: soaking, rubbing, tearing, gouging, tying, stitching and more. Completed, with faded colouring, they were unceremoniously hung on metal frames or wooden beams and equipped with own heavy-duty carrying bags, as if prepared for an impending mysterious adventure or a session of home bricolage.2
Although the artist vanished without trace in 1992, her work still lingers in the memory of the artists from that generation and beyond. ”For the young student I was, this tiny black-and-white photo represented New York, audacity, novelty, it had the flavor of first love. And this 3, what a mystery … For a whole week, I wondered what it represented. When I was able to acquire this work, I was close to crying”3 recalled Takashi Murakami in an interview in 2016.
On view at Société are four major paintings by Holt Quentel.
The exhibition will run until 20 December 2019.
1. Muniz, Vik. “Landing Pelicans.” In Holt Quentel, edited by Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson. Aspen Art Museum, 2013.
2. Frick, Thomas. “Holt Quentel at Stux.” Art in America, June 1988.
3. Eskenazi, Daniel, and Jonas Pulver. “Takashi Murakami, Un Monument Face à La Catastrophe.” Le Temps. Le Temps, March 4, 2016. https://www. letemps. ch/culture/takashi-murakami-un-monument-face-catastrophe.