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Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings

Curated by Axel Heil and Roberto Ohrt

456 W 18th Street

March 5 – April 13, 2019

Stephen Prina, Exquisite Corpse: The Complete Paintings of Manet
Arnulf Rainer, King Henry the Sixth
Arnulf Rainer, King Henry the Fifth 
Arnulf Rainer, Cymbeline
Albert Oehlen, Ohne Titel
Max Ernst, Untitled - Le feu
Francis Picabia, Bière Sarrator
Asger Jorn, Une tête comme ça
Marcel Duchamp, L.H.O.O.Q.
Asger Jorn, Conte du Nord (Northern Count) (Modification)
Asger Jorn, Brotherhood Above All (Fraternité avant tout)
Asger Jorn, Untitled (Bathers)
Asger Jorn, Ainsi s’Ensor (Out of this World – after Ensor)
Asger Jorn, The Little Grey Home in the West (Modification)
Asger Jorn, Le Hollandais Volant (Modification) -The Flying Dutchman
David Wojnarowicz, True Myth (Kraft Grape Jelly)
David Wojnarowicz, Jean Genet Masturbating in Metteray Prison (London Broil)
David Wojnarowicz, True Myth (Domino Sugar)
Alexis Smith, Fools Rush In
Alexis Smith, Fire & Ice (Christmas Eve, 1943)
Alexis Smith, Bad Day.... (Christmas Eve, 1943)
Alexis Smith, Lost Horizon
Julian Schnabel, Untitled (BEZ)
Per Kirkeby, Untitled
Per Kirkeby, Untitled
Wade Guyton & Stephen Prina, Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2017, Epson UltraChrome HDR on linen
R.H. Quaytman, The Sun, Chapter 1 [Book 1, Fear A]
Daniel Spoerri, Autoportrait aux lunettes
Ray Johnson, Untitled (Mona Lisa Bunny)
Ray Johnson, Untitled (Mona Lisa Graphic Print)
Ray Johnson, Untitled (Elvis Masked by Vertical Element with Colored Tesserae (Book Cover Series))
Ray Johnson, Untitled (Dali Crucifixion with Nancy)
Ray Johnson, Untitled (Pink Model)
Martin Kippenberger, Modell Interconti
Vidya Gastaldon, Healing Painting (Chasse aux esprits)
Vidya Gastaldon, Healing Painting (Marine monster)
Betty Tompkins, Women Words (Grant Wood #1)
Betty Tompkins, Women Words #44 (Weegee)
Betty Tompkins, Women Words (Vermeer #3)
Betty Tompkins, Women Words #99 (Avedon #4)
Betty Tompkins, Women Words (Velázquez #1)
Betty Tompkins, Women Words #50 (Weegee)
Betty Tompkins, Women Words (Tintoretto #1)
Hans-Peter Feldmann, Woman with Lipstick
Mike Kelley, Reconstructed History
Hans-Peter Feldmann, Nude with Man Ray Marks
John Stezaker, Tears XI
John Stezaker, Tear
John Stezaker, Tears IX
Lee Krasner, Present Subjunctive
Lee Krasner, Past Conditional
Daniel Spoerri, Attention: chien méchant
Daniel Spoerri, Les amoreux (Le monument)
Enrico Baj, The Whore with the Ultra-bodies
Enrico Baj, Come Here, You Fair Girl
Julian Schnabel, And there was somebody wiping his tears with his flag V
Enrico Baj, Ultrabody in Switzerland
Vidya Gastaldon, Healing Painting (Rescue me B)
Vidya Gastaldon, Healing Painting (Vers de Ciel)
Jacqueline de Jong, Reine de Sable touched by Pollock
Jacqueline de Jong, 7Four7 Returned to the ground
Jacqueline de Jong, Eigenheimer's first encounter
Rachel Harrison, The Classics
Rachel Harrison, The Classics
Rachel Harrison, The Classics
Jim Shaw, The Old Masturbator and the Far Away Hills
Gedi Sibony, Still Life with Eggs
Gedi Sibony, Scarecrow
Gedi Sibony, Brown Bottles
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view
Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings, Installation view

If you have old paintings, do not despair. Retain your memories but detourn them so that they correspond with your era. Why reject the old, if one can modernize it? —Asger Jorn

Petzel is pleased to announce Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modifications Paintings. Situated in the context of the first thrift store paintings altered by Danish artist Asger Jorn, this group show of over 30 prominent international artists investigates multifarious appropriation methods spanning from the mid-1960s to the flourishing techniques of the 1980s, up to the present day.

But flashback to Paris, 1959: Asger Jorn exhibits a group of paintings at the prominent Galerie Rive Gauche. Not only has he re-worked these found paintings with his own brush, modifying their respective surfaces, but he also writes a text describing his technique as a recovery of certain iconographic archetypes. Instead of making a mockery of these kitsch paintings, he articulates some of their inherent folk-art values. The exhibition is not well received. However, it has since become legendary. Jorn’s modifications have long been a neglected chapter in the Danish artist’s biography. Yet from today’s perspective these high/low hermaphrodites are recognized by keen-eyed viewers as mirrors reflecting the historicity of modern painting.

Such “Modifications” are a painterly version of  “détournement,” a Situationist technique, described in 1956 by Guy Debord and Gil Wolman as the systematic revaluation of “prefabricated aesthetic products.” For Jorn, who co-founded and financially supported the Situationist International, the 1959 Galerie Rive Gauche exhibition, showcased his implementation of a fundamental aesthetic critique in which he appropriates a relatively discredited artistic source as “his” own material, then applies his iconography, and his language to that particular prefabricated model.

Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modification Paintings features works by Enrico Baj, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Vidya Gastaldon, Wade Guyton/Stephen Prina, Rachel Harrison, Ray Johnson, Jacqueline de Jong, Asger Jorn, Mike Kelley, Martin Kippenberger, Per Kirkeby, Lee Krasner, Albert Oehlen, Francis Picabia, Stephen Prina, R.H. Quaytman, Arnulf Rainer, Julian Schnabel, Jim Shaw, Gedi Sibony, Alexis Smith, Daniel Spoerri, John Stezaker, Betty Tompkins, and David Wojnarowicz.

A comprehensive book on Strategic Vandalism: The Legacy of Asger Jorn’s Modifications Paintings is forthcoming with texts written and edited by the curators as well as reprinted articles on the subjects of détournement, vandalism, and the relationship between modifications and appropriation art in the late 1970s.

Petzel Gallery is located at 456 West 18th Street New York, NY 10011. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM–6:00 PM. For press inquires, please contact Ricky Lee at ricky@petzel.com, or call (212) 680-9467.

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