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Jesus Soto, Petite Ecriture Noire, 1968
Jesús Soto, Petite Écriture Noire, 1968

JESÚS SOTO SURVEY AT GREY ART GALLERY

Jan. 10, 2012

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Twenty years of work by avant-garde artist Jesús Soto (1923-2005) come together in “Soto: Paris and Beyond, 1950-1970” at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, Jan. 10-Mar. 31, 2012 -- the first major Soto show in New York in 35 years. Long a major figure on the Latin American scene, the artist is clearly being reconsidered by the art market -- a new auction record for his work was set at Christie’s New York in 2010, when a painted-wood with wire panel sold for $758,500, double its presale high estimate.

The exhibition of 50 works begins in 1950, the year Soto moved from his native Venezuela to Paris. There he showed alongside Marcel Duchamp in the 1955 exhibition “Le Mouvement” at Galerie Denise Rene and befriended Jean Tinguely, Victor Vasarely and Yves Klein, whose International Klein Blue color Soto borrowed for several of his own works. The gallery’s examples from these early years, particularly the geometric oil and Plexiglas paintings, convey the origins of what would become a lifelong interest in kinetics and the relationship between artworks and their viewers.

In the 1960s, Soto’s fascination with movement comes into focus, such as via the “Escrituras” and “Vibraciones” series, in which wires extend and bend outward from the paintings.

The exhibition ends with Soto’s most immersive works, his “Penetrables.” Visitors walk through a canopy of metal, nylon or plastic cords hanging from the ceiling, typically in the shape of a cube or other geometric form.

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