Alfred Jensen

Alfred Jensen: Concordance

September 20, 2001 - June 16, 2002

<p>Alfred Jensen. <i>The Great Pyramid</i>, 1980. Photo: Bill Jacobson.</p>

Alfred Jensen. The Great Pyramid, 1980. Photo: Bill Jacobson.


Jensen's highly respected but rarely seen paintings elaborate his comsological theories, drawing on the sciences of astronomy, physics, and mathematics, and frequently involving Mayan and Chinese calendrical systems. Included are large-scale multi-part paintings that span the artist's mature career beginning in 1960. among the highlights of the exhibition is Great Pyramid (1980), a key late work never before exhibited publicly.


Press Release


September 20, 2001-June 16, 2002

Aug 03, 2001

"Concordance," an exhibition of key works by the painter Alfred Jensen (1903-81), opens at Dia Center for the Arts on September 20, 2001. Included are large-scale multi-part paintings that span the artistís mature career. Composed in checkerboard, wheel-like, and other patterns, they elaborate Jensenís complex cosmological theories. A highlight of the show will be Jensenís final artistic statement, the monumental The Great Pyramid (1980), which will be on public exhibition for the first time.

Jensen was in many ways an autodidact, his aesthetic informed by the study of a broad range of esoteric interests, including the color theories of Goethe, the writings of Leonardo da Vinci, Pythagorean geometry, Mayan and ancient Chinese calendars, the I Ching, Greek religious rituals, and Michael Faradayís theories of electromagnetic forces.

Jensen's highly individual style matured at the end of the 1950s. Although related to the work of certain Abstract Expressionists, notably Mark Rothko, his work can be read in relation to the systems of measurement, chronology, and duration developed by certain artists of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Alighiero e Boetti, Hanne Darboven, and On Kawara, who have exhibited at Dia.

Although Jensen's unique fusion of metaphysics, sign systems, and painterly handling made him something of an outsider, he exhibited widely in New York and Europe through the 1960s and 1970s. In 1977 he represented the United States at the fourteenth São Paulo Bienal with work that subsequently traveled to six U.S. cities. In 1985, a posthumous retrospective was held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Jensen's paintings are in the permanent collections of major museums in the United States, Europe, and Japan.

Alfred Jensen was born in 1903 in Guatemala to a Danish father and a Polish-German mother. He spent his early years in Denmark; in the mid-1920s, among other training, he briefly attended Hans Hoffman's art school in Munich and academies in Paris. He traveled widely until 1951, when he settled in New York City.

Support for this exhibition has been provided by the members of the Dia Art Council.

Publication and Lecture
"Concordance" will be accompanied by a catalogue that includes essays by Dia's curator, Lynne Cooke, as well as by art historian and philosopher Michael Newman, who situates Jensen's work in the art of the 1960s and 1970s, and art historian David Anfam, who relates the artist to his Abstract Expressionist colleagues. The hardcover volume, which is scheduled for publication in December 2001, will be available in Dia's bookshop for $35.

Artist Matthew Ritchie will lecture on Jensen this fall as part of Dia's Artists on Artists lecture series. The lecture will take place at Dia's exhibition facility at 548 West 22nd Street on December 20, 2001, at 6:30 pm. The Artists on Artists lecture series, made possible by a grant from Art for Art's Sake, New York, highlights the work of contemporary artists from the perspective of their colleagues and peers. For more information the public should call 212 989-5566.

Dia Center for the Arts
Established in 1974, Dia Center for the Arts plays a vital role among visual arts institutions nationally and internationally by initiating, supporting, presenting, and preserving art projects in nearly every medium, and by serving as a primary locus for interdisciplinary art and criticism. Its first major projects were long-term sited works of art not likely to be accommodated by conventional museums because of their nature or scale, created by artists such as Walter De Maria, Donald Judd, and Dan Flavin.

Dia presents a temporary exhibition program in its renovated warehouse buildings in Chelsea, New York. Supplementary programming in Chelsea includes commissioned artist Web projects, lectures, poetry readings, film and video screenings, performances, scholarly research and publications, symposia, and an arts education program that serves area students. Dia is currently constructing a new facility in Beacon, New York, sixty miles north of New York City, to display its permanent collection, which comprises in-depth holdings of many of the most important artists of the 1960s and 1970s.

Exhibition hours during the 2001-2002 season are Wednesday through Sunday, 12 noon to 6 pm, from September 12, 2001.

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For additional information or materials contact:
Press Department, Dia Art Foundation, or 212 293 5518

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