'This Has No Name' is the first major U.S. museum survey of New York-based sculptor B. Wurtz (b. 1948). For over forty years, Wurtz has developed a visual language that subverts the industrial austerity of Minimalism and centers the minutiae from daily life in ways poetic and whimsical. B. Wurtz’s idiosyncratic work in sculpture and assemblage revolves around the use of objects that refer, directly or indirectly, to the “acts of eating, sleeping and keeping warm,” inspired by an early drawing.
Food tins, clothing, plastic bags, mesh produce bags, and yogurt containers are transformed into elegant meditations on form and line while simultaneously underscoring the artist’s commitment to the ethics of reuse. The exhibition will focus on Wurtz’s work after 1980, when he completed his studies at CalArts, beginning with his “object portraits,” a series of photographs, deadpan portraits of some materials that would later become major building blocks for his sculptures, like green plastic fruit baskets or twist-ties. These serve as an important framework for Wurtz’s later explorations, which include drawings and paintings made with articles of socks and shoestrings and sculptures made from post-consumer packaging materials. Further, by incorporating recognizable, everyday materials he has personally handled, Wurtz creates self portraits through materials, and peels away some of the mystery of artistic production to establish more intimacy between artist and viewer.
B. Wurtz was born in 1948 in Pasadena, California, and lives and works in New York. He received a MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1980. In 2015 he was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, United Kingdom, which traveled to La Casa Encendida, Madrid. He has had additional solo exhibitions at Kunstverein Freiburg; White Flag Projects, St. Louis; Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago; the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut; and Lulu, Mexico City. His work has been included in group exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York; Tang Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, among others. He is presently working on a major public art commission for Public Art Fund, New York. He is represented by Metro Pictures, New York; Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles; Office Baroque, Brussels; and Maisterravalbuena, Madrid.