For this year’s edition of The Armory Show, Axel Vervoordt Gallery’s intention is to retrace the New York avant-garde art scene of the 1950s-60s in remembrance of Martha Jackson Gallery (1952-69). Martha Jackson emerged herself as a pioneer art dealer and became known for her cross-continental approach, by promoting artists from West and East. In 1958 French art critic Michel Tapié organized a Gutai exhibition at Martha Jackson Gallery; Kazuo Shiraga and Jiro Yoshihara gained international recognition. At our booth we will unite them with other fellow members such as Shozo Shimamoto, Yuko Nasaka and Tsuyoshi Maekawa.
In Europe, the Spanish artist Antoni Tàpies drew Martha Jackson’s attention. Tàpies was invited to New York where Martha Jackson showed his work from 1953 onwards, both in solo and group exhibitions. She introduced Tàpies to several Gutai artists for example Shiraga, and thanks to her he could meet many American artists in 1959 including Pollock, Kline, de Kooning and Motherwell. The same year, Michel Tapié published the first exhaustive monograph on his body of work. In 1960 Martha Jackson showed the works of Tàpies alongside Arp, Burri, Calder, Chamberlain, Cornell, Jim Dine, Dubuffet, Dan Flavin, Jasper Johns, Kaprow, Yves Klein, Nevelson, Oldenburg and Rauschenberg. In 1960, Tàpies also showed his work at MoMA and Guggenheim.
Further proof of the interplay between the USA and Europe is the arrival of Athens-based sculptor Takis in New York in 1959 to exhibit at Martha Jackson Gallery, right after he joined the French art dealer Iris Clert where he met another important figure, Yves Klein. Lucio Fontana also came overseas as he was invited in 1961 by Tapié for a solo exhibition at Martha Jackson Gallery.
Although Martha Jackson broke new grounds and succeed in uniting these post-war artists, she was not the only legendary art dealer that operated on such a global level. At the other side of the Atlantic, we can find an equivalent in German art handler Alfred Schmela (Galerie Schmela, Düsseldorf). He also strived for a dialogue between European and American artists. Schmela highly supported the international ZERO movement, including Otto Piene, Günther Uecker, Heinz Mack, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni and Jef Verheyen, as well as Yves Klein, Joseph Beuys, Arman, Richter, Haacke, Christo, Robert Indiana, Gordon Matta-Clark and Tinguely. In 1960 Schmela confronted the work of Antoni Tàpies - who was then represented by Martha Jackson- in his important group exhibition Weiss Weiss, next to Beuys, Fontana , Klein, Manzoni, Tinguely, Uecker and Verheyen.
We are looking forward to meet you at our stand. Please find us in the contemporary section on Pier 94, booth # 625.