534 W 21st Street
A rare selection of works by Dutch artist Jan Schoonhoven (1914 — 1994) will be on view for the first time in New York at the Paula Cooper Gallery. Consisting of drawings and monochrome reliefs dating from the 1950s to the 1970s, the exhibition in the front gallery of 534 W. 21st Street runs from 23 October through 4 December, 1999.
A founding member of the Nul group in 1960 in Delft, Holland, Jan Schoonhoven developed an artistic style governed by order, geometry and repetition. Variations of particular motifs — intersecting rows of horizontal and vertical lines in the drawings; the three-dimensional structures of white patterns and grids in the reliefs — recur in works from this period. In a suite of ten 10 x 6” reliefs from 1962, the delicate, hand-crafted surfaces of cardboard and papier-mâché belie the geometric order of their underlying compositional framework. Later ink drawings evidence freer, more fluid delineations.
For most of his adult life, Schoonhoven worked as a civil servant in the Dutch postal system, an occupation that profoundly shaped his views on objective, non-referential, non-hierarchal production. After receiving the second prize at the São Paulo Biennial in 1967, he participated in Yayoi Kusama’s happening at Galerie Orez, The Hague, the same year. While associated in Europe with fellow Nul artists Henk Peeters and Jan Henderikse, as well as Piero Manzoni and Lucio Fontana, Schoonhoven’s art has seldom been shown outside the context of group exhibitions in the United States.
The Paula Cooper show provides an introduction to works that demonstrate the range of his production. Accompanying the exhibition will be an illustrated catalogue with an introduction by Rudi Fuchs, Director of the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and an essay by Beat Wismer, Director of the Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland.
Jan Schoonhoven’s art work is included in the collections of The Stedelijk van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, The Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, The Tate Gallery, London, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, among others.
This exhibition was made possible with the generous support of the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam, for the advancement of the visual arts, design and museums.