In the Great Hall MOCA presents a mid-career survey of New York-based artist Max Estenger covering close to twenty–five years of painting and sculpture, as well as incorporating a new large-scale architectural piece modeled on a Brooklyn subway token booth constructed specifically for this exhibition. A rigorous formal language is the driving force in these works, a making of adamantly non-pictorial “specific objects” in conversation with art history and an ongoing grappling with the ideological parameters of abstract painting. Resolutely anti-illusionistic, this art comes from Estenger’s commitment to a systematic, though not dogmatic, engagement with the challenge of how to “take a flat surface and organize something compelling on top of it.” Included are his See-through and OSHA paintings, in which real space is created by the actual supports themselves, more recent vibrantly-hued color band works, and blocky and ruggedly elegant sheetrock sculptures. This extensive sampling is an important and overdue consideration of an artist who brings integrity, a moral dimension, and tough-minded tenacity to visual materializations that fuse a serious study of direct experience with aesthetic gratification.
Images by Maya Heilman-Hall.
Max Estenger Map and Didactics
Listen to Max Estenger’s Artist Talk HERE