Dana Schutz Has Found “Jupiter’s Lottery” In Monumental New Works in NYC

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Looking at a Dana Schutz painting, and even more dramatically a full exhibition, is like walking into surgery. You are seeing a procedure of painting, an exercise in reshaping and re-alterting what painting is. It’s thick, messy, intense and unforgettable. There are fragments of the past and visions of the future of oil painting. That the works are painting wet-on-wet adds to this immediate sort of figurative chaos, of movemnt, of examination of how materials and imgination can co-exist on a canvas. 

Jupiter’s Lottery in NYC at Zwirner coincides with a major survey of the artist’s work, on view through February 2024, at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, where it traveled from the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark. And it feels perhaps apt that Schutz is having a milestone end of the year. Painting as a medium is where so many are foucused, for good or bad if you ask some, but as a figurative painter, Schutz is one of the best and most influential; deserving of another look. The gallery notes “Schutz’s paintings make the human predicament visible and the indescribable felt,” and in this moment, this chaotic worldwide moment, that messiness and control is brilliantly noticed. 

I was thinking about my mood when I walked into this show, how peculiar the arrangements are on the canvas, the large sculptures around, this sort of jarring and beautiful blasts of energy in the white space gallery. And Schutz just has a presence to the work. Paint is made to be felt, given a scent. And all five senses are at play in Jupiter’s Lottery. There have been some wonderful shows this season, and add this to another where painting reminds us of something fun, something powerful, something with a little volume that permeates a room. —Evan Pricco

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