Jonathan Hammer

Zombie King and Clown


January 13 - February 24, 2001
523 W 24 Street


Press Release

Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Jonathan Hammer: Zombie King and Clown, the next exhibition in his gallery at 523 West 24th Street.

The exhibition will include recent large-scale photographs, drawings, and nine unique hand-made "leather paintings" each consisting of several hundred pieces of inlayed multi-colored shark, box-calf, stingray and snakeskins. The paintings, adorned with gold leaf and encased in elaborate gilded frames and satin, mark an important culmination in the artist's career.

Born in 1960, Hammer lives and works in San Francisco and was formally trained as a bookbinder. His studies of Hugo Ball, mystic and founder of Zurich Dada have evolved into a fascination with Haitian and South American voodoo practice. The artist uses skin as a playful veneer to spark thoughts on religion, literature, and history, taking us deep into an environment of mystery and confusion. Hammer's lexicon of mutant toy fragments, clowns, and alien-creatures continue to interpret themes of greed, transformation, mythology and sexuality.

Jonathan Hammer has shown his work in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cologne, Berlin, Madrid 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 in 1998.

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 2001. 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: Zombie King and Clown will remain on view through February 24th at 523 West 24th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues). Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00am to 6:00pm.

For further information or photographs please contact Adrian Rosenfeld at 212-243-0200.

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