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Dana Schutz (b. 1976)
Dana Schutz (b. 1976)

Shaving

Details
Dana Schutz (b. 1976)
Shaving
signed and dated 'Dana Schutz 2010' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
72 x 84in. (183 x 213.4cm.)
Painted in 2010
Provenance
Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2011.
Literature
J. Zeppetelli, 'Dana Schutz' in Magazine of the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, vol. 26, no. 2, 2015 (illustrated in colour, p. 2).
R. Entright, 'I like the World and the World Likes Me' in Border Crossings, vol. 34, no. 2, 2015 (illustrated in colour, p. 7).
Exhibited
Berlin, Contemporary Fine Arts, Dana Schutz: The Last Thing You See, 2010, no. 4 (illustrated in colour, pp. 4-5).
Purchase, New York, Neuberger Museum of Art, Dana Schutz: If The Face Had Weels, 2011-2014 (illustrated in colour, p. 81). This exhibition later travelled to Miami, Pérez Art Museum and Denver, Denver Art Museum.
Wakefield, Hepworth Wakefield, Dana Schutz, 2013-2014.
Hanover, Kestnergesellschaft, Dana Schutz: Demo, 2014, p. 150 (illustrated in colour, p. 41).
Montreal, MAC Montréal, Dana Schutz, 2015-2016, p. 67 (illustrated in colour, p. 40).

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Paola Saracino Fendi
Paola Saracino Fendi

Lot Essay

‘ I think of it as subjects performing themselves against the plane of a canvas. I was thinking of the paintings as being social. Sometimes they want to engage with the viewer or in other cases they are doing slightly antisocial things … Everything about the painting makes it feel like she’s facing the opposite direction but there she is, shaving her downtown area. It is a painting that is a mixture of both being turned away from the viewer and yet also engaged in a very frontal direct address to the viewer. There is realism in that painting, I guess, in that it’s hard to get ready for the beach.’
– Dana Schutz


With its vibrant palette, monumental scale, fractured picture plane and strikingly intimate subject matter, Shaving is an important example of Dana Schutz’s complex painterly language. Painted in 2010, the work has been widely exhibited, featuring in solo shows at the Hepworth Wakefield, the Kestnergesellschaft Hanover and, most recently, the MAC Montréal in 2016. Drawing inspiration from the languages of Synthetic Cubism and German Expressionism, as well as artists such as Francis Picabia, Giorgio de Chirico, René Magritte and Willem de Kooning, Schutz places her subjects in surreal, deliberately unsettling scenarios, fluctuating between domestic, comedic and dark psychological registers. Erudite art historical references merge with bold contemporary subjects and strains of dark humour, creating a vivid dialogue between past and present. Richly saturated tonalities and abstract formal divisions heighten the uncanny mise-en-scène of her paintings, inviting the viewer into a world of warped familiarity. Schutz describes the present work as ‘a very frontal painting, in maybe a confrontational way, but the subject is faced away from the viewer so there’s kind of a backwards-forwards scenario ... A lot of times when I choose to paint figures, a lot of my decisions come from the format of the canvas, so there’s abstraction that goes on but it’s usually trying to find the right kind of tension within the framing edge of the painting. With her body shape, it almost looks like it’s been reflected in a shard of mirror so there’s a kind of edge to her shape that is not a normal or typical edge to the shape of a body’ (D. Schutz, quoted at http://danaschutz.macm.org/en/the-gallery/ shaving/ [accessed 22 May 2018]).

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