Contributed by Sharon Butler / Pallazzola, Johann Christian Reinhart�s etching posted above, shows the view over Lago Albano toward the convent of Sta. Maria ad Nives di Palazzolo, and, in the distance, the Monto Cavo, the ancient site of a temple of Jupiter. Like all of Reinhardt’s beautiful etchings on view through Sunday at Pocket Utopia, this one from 1792 is painstakingly drawn and printed, depicting small figures in a picturesque landscape among ruins and monuments. Unlike so much contemporary art, the sense of time unfolding is palpable, both in terms of the scenes rendered–everyone is so leisurely!– and the etching process used to create each piece. None of the characters appear hurried, and by looking slowly into each scene, the viewer is rewarded with rich detail and nuance. Improbably, the show was curated by Richard Tuttle, one of my favorite masters of casualist painting and abject, found-object sculpture.
Here’s the backstory from the press release:
Armin Kunz of C.G. Boerner first met Richard Tuttle when the artist was looking for prints by the German Romantics. Immersing himself in the art and the writing of the Romantics also triggered Tuttle’s own writing. An insightful review by Tuttle appeared in The Brooklyn Rail on a comprehensive retrospective of the work of Philipp Otto Runge (1777-1810) staged by the Kunsthalle Hamburg in 2011. The invitation to write on Johann Christian Reinhart (1761-1847), an artist from the small town of Hof in Franconia in Bavaria, came from F. Carlo Schmid, one of the foremost scholars on the artist who co-curated the first comprehensive museum exhibition of Reinhart’s work for the Kunsthalle Hamburg and the Neue Pinakothek in Munich in 2012-13.
Schmid heads the German branch of C.G. Boerner in D�sseldorf and when the gallery was able to acquire a complete set of the Malerisch-radirte Prospecte von Italien, which includes 72 etchings by Johann Christian Reinhart, Albert Christoph Dies (1755-1822), and Jacob Wilhelm Mechau (1745-1808), it was obviously tempting to approach Richard Tuttle with this box of prints and ask him if he would be interested in curating a small exhibition at Pocket Utopia.
At the opening, Tuttle told me that artists have to start taking more responsibility for shaping art history, otherwise the art historians will get it wrong. The show is fascinating and well worth a trip down to Henry Street to have a long, relaxing look.
“Richard Tuttle: The Reinhart Project,” Pocket Utopia, Lower East Side, New York, NY. Through June 9, 2013.
NY Times Art in Review: Richard Tuttle, Richard Phillips