Matthew Marks is pleased to announce the opening of his next exhibition, David Smith: Medals for Dishonor, 1937-40.
This exhibition marks a new association for the gallery with the Estate of David Smith, from which all the works in the exhibition have been drawn. The exhibition examines a major although little known body of work by America's most important sculptor.
The exhibition will consist of the full series of fifteen bronze reliefs, which have not been shown in New York since 1940 when David Smith originally exhibited them at the Willard Gallery. Related sketchbooks, preparatory drawings, collages, experimental casts and the original plaster molds will also be on view.
Smith started work on the Medals for Dishonor following a trip to Europe in 1935-36 where he first encountered Surrealism. They are his response to the devastation of the First World War and the Depression, as well as the nascent fascism brewing in Europe.
Each Medal depicts a specific war-time evil: Bombing Civilian Populations, refers to the devastation of the Spanish town of Guernica; The Fourth Estate, the establishment's attack on artistic and intellectual freedoms; Munitions Makers to rampant war profiteering and the complicity of big business. Other medals refer to the Ku Klux Klan, anti-semitism, and biological warfare.
Smith responded to the pictorial freedom of Surrealism by using layered images and meanings, a wide iconography, anthropomorphic forms, and incongruities of scale. The Medals relate to a long tradition of low relief cast bronze commemorative medallions dating back to the Renaissance.
David Smith: Medals for Dishonor, 1937-40 will be on view at Matthew Marks Gallery, 1018 Madison Avenue (between 78th and 79th Streets) through January 28, 1995. Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 - 5:30. For more information or photographs please contact Matthew Marks at (212) 861-9455.