— Drawing on the Utopic

Hired Curator!

Zurtopia  – Oct. 2


Paris / New York


Zürcher Gallery
33 Bleecker Street, New York NY 10012


Curated by Austin Thomas

October 2 – November 20, 2014

Brian Belott, Ákos Birkás, Regina Bogat, Matt Bollinger, Paul DeMuro, Marc DesgrandchampsMichael Dotson, Michel Huelin, Irena JurekAlix Le Méléder, David Lefebvre, Pushpamala N., Austin Thomas, Wang Keping, and Katharina Ziemke

From the Curator:

Welcome to the great state of Zurtopia where art comes from art, it is of itself and we are all in it together. I am honored to be helping Gwenolee and Bernard Zürcher, my esteemed contemporaries, organize and curate their fifth anniversary exhibition at their New York City gallery, which opened here in 2009.

What I do is very much about community (organizing salons and other events and collaborating with other artists, galleries and institutions) and the name of my gallery is Pocket Utopia (recently merged with Hansel and Gretel Picture Garden). This anniversary exhibition is a reflection of our combined social and artistic relationships. We are co-creators.

We have some amazing events scheduled to go along with this exhibition; including a Dan Tepfer-Joanna Wallfisch (piano/voice duo) concert on October 7th and another concert planned for October 13th. In addition we will have a film screening of a Marcel Duchamp documentary by Philippe Collin.

Joan Mitchell, who resided in the countryside outside of Paris and was neighbors with the Zürchers at the end of her life, is our guardian angel for this project. The exhibition will show documents from this period where Sundays were spent with Joan Mitchell and endless discussions revolved around everything and painting.

This exhibition finally gives Gwenolee and Bernard the chance to recognize a very special man and collector of Zürcher Gallery, Ahmet Ertegun, the founder and president of Atlantic Records. Mr. Ertegun was one of the most influential and ground-breaking figures associated with modern musical recording (he discovered Led Zeppelin) and he still inspires Gwenolee and Bernard (he died a month before their New York gallery opened) to seek out new and yet undiscovered talents today.

Zurtopia offers a wonderful opportunity to look hard at a group of the gallery’s artists. I am writing this statement not quite knowing what the immediate outcome will be, but am aware of the potential collective impact that this distinctive community of creators will have with Brian Belott’s innovations in collage, Ákos Birkás’s philosophy about painting a certain situation, Regina Bogat’s devotion to art making with clever variations on certain abstract themes, Matt Bollinger’s extra-large and bracing graphite drawings, Paul DeMuro’s painterly electricity, Marc Desgrandchamp’s time-fragmented paintings, Michael Dotson’s paintings of the “Disney- esque,” Michel Huelin’s relationship with nature and software, Irena Jurek’s very meaningful cat character, Alix Le Méléder’s proposals of four colors determined by the passage of the brush, David Lefebvre’s painted images cut out of magazines or downloaded from a mobile phone, Pushpamala N.’s ethnographic documentations which have been compared to Cindy Sherman, Wang Keping’s unique wooden sculptures that juxtapose vivid emotion with a marked sense of introversion, Katharina Ziemke’s pictorial treatment of current events, and me, the co-host with a small drawing. This is quite an ambitious affair, reminiscent of the Paris salons.


~ Austin Thomas