Jonathan Hammer

The Famulus

September 12 - October 24, 1998
523 W 24 Street

Press Release

Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Jonathan Hammer: The Famulus, the next exhibition in his gallery at 523 West 24th Street.

The exhibition will consist of 20 recent large-scale drawings in mixed media and two unique hand-made books bound in multi-colored leathers. The books are filled with Hammer's drawings and a text by the Dada writer Hugo Ball, from which the title for the exhibition, The Famulus (a term for an attendant or assistant, especially of a medieval sorcerer or scholar) is derived.

Born in 1960, Hammer lives and works in San Francisco and was formally trained as a bookbinder. After many years, he has recently completed a study of Hugo Ball, mystic and founder of Zurich Dada. Using some of Ball's themes as inspiration, Hammer's work offers a visually skewed narrative in a world of altered reality. Casting the artist in the role of seer, Hammer's images of reconfigured toy fragments, clowns, rag-dolls and creatures interpret themes of illness, transformation, archetypal mythology and sexuality.

Jonathan Hammer has shown his work in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cologne, Berlin and Zurich over the past ten years. His first one-person museum exhibition was at the Berkeley Art Museum in 1993, and the Centre d'art Contemporain, Geneva organized a major exhibition of his Hugo Ball work earlier this year.

Hammer's book on Dada, esotericism and modernism in relation to his own work,
Ball and Hammer, will be published by Yale University Press in 2000. It will include Hammer's critical writings, a catalogue of his drawings and his translation of Hugo Ball's 1920 novel Tenderenda the Fantast.

Jonathan Hammer: The Famulus will remain on view through October 24th at
523 West 24th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues). Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 to 6:00pm. For further information or photographs please contact Jeffrey Peabody at 212-243-0200.

Additional Information