Hirshhorn Presents Largest U.S. Museum Survey of Charline von Heyl

Exhibition Will Feature More Than 30 Paintings Created Since 2005, Including New Work
March 15, 2018
News Release
Abstract art work

The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has announced the largest U.S. museum survey of paintings by the pioneering contemporary artist Charline von Heyl, on view Nov. 8–Feb. 24, 2019. “Charline von Heyl: Snake Eyes,” a major multinational exhibition organized in collaboration with the Deichtorhallen Hamburg, highlights von Heyl’s groundbreaking artistic output since 2005, including recent works that point to new developments in her constantly evolving practice. More than 30 large-scale works reveal the artist’s creativity and influence in the field of contemporary painting.   

“We are delighted to present, in collaboration with the Deichtorhallen Hamburg, the most comprehensive American museum survey of Charline von Heyl,” said Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu. “Von Heyl has had several major institutional shows in her native Europe, but this is an exciting moment to bring this part of her practice to our nation’s capital.”

One of the most inventive painters working today, von Heyl has received international acclaim for continually rethinking the possibilities of contemporary painting. Her cerebral, yet deeply visceral, artworks upend longstanding assumptions about composition, beauty and narrative, creating images that are seemingly familiar yet impossible to classify. Combining keen humor, a rigorous, process-based practice and references from a broad array of sources, von Heyl creates paintings that, in her words, offer “a new image that stands for itself as fact,” challenging conventions about an artist’s signature style or linear development.

Curated by Hirshhorn Senior Curator Evelyn C. Hankins and Dr. Professor Dirk Luckow, general director at the Deichtorhallen, the exhibition will shine an international spotlight on one of today’s most dynamic painters and demonstrate both the vitality and limitless possibilities of the medium.

The Deichtorhallen’s presentation of “Charline von Heyl: Snake Eyes” will be on view this summer. In parallel with the Hirshhorn’s exhibition, select von Heyl works will also be on view at the Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens in Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium, this fall.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a lavishly illustrated catalog in English and German, designed in close collaboration with von Heyl and featuring a new painting created specifically for its cover. The publication includes texts by Luckow, Katy Siegel, professor and the Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw Endowed Chair in Modern American Art at SUNY Stony Brook, and curator and writer John Corbett, as well as an extensive interview between the artist and Hankins.

About the Artist

Von Heyl (b. 1960, Mainz, Germany; lives and works in New York City and Marfa, Texas) studied at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg and the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and participated in the Cologne art scene in the 1980s. Her work has been exhibited internationally in both solo and group exhibitions, and is in collections around the world, including in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate, London; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; and Kunstmuseum, Bonn. She was a finalist for the Hugo Boss Prize in 2014 and has been awarded residencies at the Wexner Center for the Arts and the Chinati Foundation.

About the Hirshhorn

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the national museum of modern and contemporary art and a leading voice for 21st-century art and culture. Part of the Smithsonian, the Hirshhorn is located prominently on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Its holdings encompass one of the most important collections of postwar American and European art in the world. The Hirshhorn presents diverse exhibitions and offers an array of public programs on the art of our time—free to all, 364 days a year. For more information, visit hirshhorn.si.edu.

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Allison Peck

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