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Alex Katz: The Complete Woodcuts and Linocuts, 1951-2001


Bellevue Art Museum will present an exhibition of wood cuts and linocuts by internationally recognized painter and printmaker Alex Katz titled Alex Katz: The Complete Woodcuts and Linocuts, 1951-2001 opening to the public on June 22, 2002 in the Museum's second floor gallery. This exhibition is devoted to the woodcut and linocut prints created since 1951, a technique that Katz abandoned for a time and picked up again in the mid-1980s. This group of works shows a variety of the stylistic experimentations Katz has explored throughout his career. The exhibition includes forty-two woodcut and thirty-six linocut prints created since 1951.

In the prints of the 1950s, Katz leaves the roughness of the wood creating an expressive texture to the print, which emphasizes a more traditional printmaking method. While the prints of the 1980s to present, Katz tends to create more simplified block prints representative of early collage practices. The artist's use of collage creates images free of any significant visual texture as the images are reduced to a few flat color areas. Katz has also been described as employing German Expressionist techniques, characterized by the harsh angular edges, and black and white tones emphasizing the fact that the images are cut from a solid block, creating work that is often associated with commercial advertisements and early propaganda posters. However, Katz's prints tend to make references to sexy advertising campaigns rather than cutting social commentary. (right: Alex Katz, Big Red Smile, woodcut, 1995, Courtesy of Peter Blum, New York)

Alex Katz has become one of the most important artists to emerge on the American art scene since 1950. Trained as a graphic designer, Katz spent the early years of his life designing posters, book jackets and magazine covers. His remarkable body of large-scale portrait paintings, woodcuts and linocuts, spans more than thirty years. By using close-up vantage points and cropped compositions, and a combination of abstraction and realism, his work engulfs the viewer in an imaginary space located between reality and the artificial.

Alex Katz has exhibited widely throughout the United States and Europe. His works are included in the collections of many museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. D.C. and the Art Institute of Chicago. Katz works are also to be found in international collections such as The Saatchi Collection in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Tokyo.

An catalog accompanies the exhibition and can be purchased in the Museum Store. The exhibition was organized by the Peter Blum Gallery in New York. Works were lent by the Colby College Museum of Art.


Editor's note: RL readers may also enjoy:

and from other websites:

and these VHS videos:

Alex Katz: Five Hours is a 20 minute 1996 video directed by Vivien Bittencourt and Vincent Katz. "We get to see the artist's famous portrait style, as well as the landscape style for which Katz has recently been acclaimed. The videomakers decided against the use of dialogue; the painter is accompanied only by the music of composer and theater artist Merideth Monk. This video captures the essence of Katz, that quality Robert Storr of the Museum of Modern Art defines as the unquantifiable "cool", in a dazzling and moving display of commitment to the experience of painting." (quote from Checkerboard Film Foundation)


Alex Katz: 38-minute 1977 Alex Katz. interview from the Video Data Bank, a resource for videotapes by and about contemporary artists.


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rev. 2/10/06

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