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Asger Jorn - Artists - Petzel Gallery

Asger Jorn (1914-1973) Danish

Asger Jorn was a Danish artist and co-founder of both the avant-garde CoBrA group and later the Situationist International. He is best known for his paintings, lithographs, and etchings, where he experimented with spontaneous and semi-figurative representation. Born on March 3, 1914 in Vejrum, Denmark, he studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen from 1937 to 1942. As a member of social avant-garde revolutionary movements, Jorn often combined writing with images as a means of popular communication. The Silkeborg Museum of Art was renamed the Museum Jorn in 2010 in his honor.

Petzel Gallery’s exhibition of works by Asger Jorn in the spring of 2016 was the first US-based show dedicated exclusively to Jorn’s work in over twenty years. Jorn’s current exhibition Jorn + Munch at the Museum Jorn, Silkeborg, Denmark opened on February 12, 2017, and was organized by the Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway, where the exhibition was previously on view.

Asger Jorn’s work can be seen in public collections at the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice; Tate Gallery, London; Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark; Arken Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Boston, MA; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, MI; National Gallery of Victoria, Australia; Reina Sofía National Museum, Madrid; Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, among others. 

Jorn believed in the protective power of a shaman, someone he thought of as the man with the “sound of a rattle” in his hand. He developed a figure named the “Aganak”, an ant-like, warrior-insect, named from a combination of Jorn’s name, “Asger”, and the sound of a bite: “nak-nak”.

—Axel Heil and Roberto Ohrt