Disaster exhibitions (artists)

Here a little research on recent artist’s exhibitions gathering their “disaster” pieces…

“Goya: The Disasters of War”

February 28–June 8, 2014

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Featuring a complete set of the first published edition of etchings produced by canonical Spanish painter Francisco de Goya, The Disasters of War documents the horrors of the Peninsular War of 1808–14 between Spain and France under Napoleon Bonaparte. The 81 aquatint etchings, 80 numbered works from the series and one working proof, are grouped into three main sections: the effects of war, the Madrid famine of 1811–12, and the disappointment at the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy. Because of their criticism of both France and the restored Bourbon monarchy, these works were not published until 1863, three decades after Goya’s death. The etchings explore such themes as carnage, conflict, famine, heroism and retribution. The exhibition presents new scholarship on the series, reviving Goya’s original intentions for the order in which it is to be seen, interspersing themes of war’s impact on city and countryside.

Goya: The Disasters of War is a collaboration of Pomona College Museum of Art and the University Museums of the University of Delaware. It is curated by Janis Tomlinson, director, University Museums, and circulated by the Pomona College Museum of Art.

This exhibition contains graphic depictions of war and may not be suitable for all audiences.


Andy Warhol, the Death and Disaster Series and Prestige

Sotheby's Font | Delta Fonts

Roger Kamholz

NEW YORK – In June of 1962, Andy Warhol met his friend Henry Geldzahler for lunch at Serendipity, one of Warhol’s regular haunts. The young curator had a piece of advice for the budding Pop artist, whose work at the time dealt with Coke bottles and soup cans. “It’s enough life, it’s time for a little death,” Geldzahler reportedly instructed Warhol. Geldzahler’s push for him to move beyond consumer objects and engage with more serious subject matter led the artist to create some of the most powerful artwork of his career. 129 Die in Jet!, Warhol’s 1962 remake of a New York Mirror front page, and his earliest portraits of the late Marilyn Monroe were the artist’s first clashes with the theme of death. Moving into 1963, Warhol quickly advanced beyond these oblique references and was confronting fatality squarely in its grim face. He had embarked on what would later be known as the Death and Disaster series.

This loosely connected group of seventy-odd artworks take as their subjects car accidents, suicides, electric chairs, even tainted cans of tuna fish. Warhol appropriated source material from newspapers and police photo archives and used the silk screen as a means to mechanically repeat these lurid images across broad swaths of canvas. Whether Warhol intended to intensify or blunt the menacing content of these pictures via repetition is an open question…

Daily News: From Banality to Disaster 

Brand New: New Logo and Identity for The Met by Wolff Olins

From the Catalogue
The Warhol Effect: A Timeline, by Rebecca Lowery, surveys some of the most notable moments in Warhol’s lifetime and beyond.

“Daily News: From Banality to Disaster” explores Warhol’s engagement with the imagery of everyday life, his interest in items of consumerist American culture in the 1960s, and its his keen attention to advertising, tabloids, and magazines. This section also examines the connection to later artists who also appropriate objects from the supermarket or the department store or share Warhol’s fascination with disaster or death, including Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, and Ai Wei Wei.

Donald Sultan: Disaster paintings

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Artist Donald Sultan’s career began with his first solo exhibition in 1977 in New York City, when he was just 26 years old, and he rose to prominence in the 1980s. A painter, sculptor, and printmaker, Sultan is regarded for his ongoing large-scale painted still lifes featuring structural renderings of fruit, flowers, and other everyday objects, often abstracted and set against a rich, black background; but he is also noted for his significant industrial landscape series that began in the early 1980s entitled the Disaster Paintings, on which the artist worked for nearly a decade. While Sultan’s still lifes depict and strengthen fragile and ephemeral objects, the Disaster Paintings often illustrate robust, man-made structures, such as industrial plants and train cars, that exhibit a level of fragility in their propensity to be unhinged by catastrophic events. Distinguished for combining such subject matter with industrial materials, such as tar and Masonite tiles, the Disaster Paintings exemplify in both media and concept the vulnerability of the most progressive manufactured elements of modern culture.

Sultan’s Disaster Paintings are renowned for their sensitivity to natural and man-made events in a modern, postindustrial age. The paintings are large-scale and demonstrate great physicality in the artistic process, subject matter, and finished form. Sultan’s series comprises a confluence of seeming dichotomies, merging the industrial materials of Minimalism with representational painting, stylistically combining figuration and abstraction, and making references to high and low culture, ranging from topical events to art historical iconography. Featuring a wide array of disasters as subject matter, such as forest fires, railway accidents, arson, and factories producing toxic plumes, the Disaster Paintings eternalize the real-life modern events we are faced with daily in contemporary society yet quickly forget when the next catastrophe occurs. It is a timely moment in history for the Disaster Paintings to be reconsidered.



Unearthing Disaster I & II, a video installation by Berlin- based artists, Angela Melitopoulos and Angela Anderson, is the result of years of research on the destruction of a pristine, mountainous forest region in Northeastern Greece by Eldorado Gold, a Canadian mining company. Since 2013, Melitopolous and Anderson have documented the environmental, social, economic, and psychological damage inflicted on this region by El Dorado’s construction of a massive open pit gold mine.




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