Jan. 26, 2013 - Nov. 30, 2013
In collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts, Corbett vs. Dempsey presents Gyroscopic: Cubist Drawings & Late Paintings, 1936-1970 , an exhibition of works by Richard Koppe.
Even before he came under the spell of the New Bauhaus in Chicago, which he attended and subsequently joined as faculty, Richard Koppe (1916-1973) was a consummate modernist. An intense and imaginative formalist, in the mid 1930s he was already dedicated to the play of shape, color, and composition, and the nature of the serial variation. This set of preoccupations, common to a whole generation of American abstract artists in the mid-century, would guide Koppe his entire life, through flirtations with Surrealism and Expressionism, as he worked in many different media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and design. Koppe’s early work was deeply involved in a highly stylized species of American Cubism, drawing on his studies at Chicago’s Institute of Design with Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Gyorgy Kepes and Alexander Archipenko.
This is highlighted in a selection of 1938 Cubist drawings, all brilliant jewels, rich in color and morphic invention. Gyroscopic also focuses on Koppe’s extraordinary final body of work, executed between 1969 and 1971. Working large scale, in paintings as big as ten feet wide, late in life Koppe suddenly introduced a new, much flatter, much less gracile modality, featuring a set of iconic eye forms as well as a subsidiary motif of abstracted knives. In 1970, Koppe showed 24 of these paintings, including Gyroscopic , at the newly-established Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
The exhibition is accompanied by a sixty-two-page full-color catalog, with an introduction by Judith Kirshner.