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Integral to Jutta Koether’s project is the consideration of how to make painting relevant in the environment of today’s art world. The four paintings featured in the 2012 Biennial reference the seventeenth-century French classical artist Nicolas Poussin’s famous painting cycle The Four Seasons (1660–64). Koether goes beyond the traditional notion, however, to represent new “seasons” that reflect the rhythms of contemporary life, such as those of the fashion world and financial markets. In contrast to the quiet precision of Poussin’s work, the visceral, rough, and raw brushstrokes that activate these canvases question the bourgeois sensibility—exemplified by Poussin—that is sometimes associated with the field of painting.
Mounted on transparent glass panels and installed in front of one of the Museum’s windows, Koether’s images interact with the building’s architecture to become, in her words, a site-specific “window onto a window.” She challenges her audience to reconsider the framework through which they see and interpret paintings. Incorporating the display standards of an exhibition space as an element of her work is a common strategy for Koether, who is often as concerned with the context in which her paintings are shown as she is with the paintings themselves.
Jutta Koether’s work in on view in the Museum’s third floor galleries.