Seeing is Reliving

10 Oct – 10 Dec 2013

TMH is pleased to announce its inaugural exhibition dedicated to the art of JAN FRANK (1951, US born in Amsterdam), the artist’s first show in Amsterdam in over 20 years. The exhibition is focused on the Plywood Paintings from 1993-1998 but will include important new work. Given Frank’s international stature, with numerous solo shows and curatorial projects in New York City and internationally over two decades, his presence in Amsterdam is long overdue.

As early as 1998, B. H. Friedman, the late American art critic (most famous for the first biography of Jackson Pollock) wrote:  “For over twenty years and through ten solo shows, Jan Frank has been obsessed by line.” Now, in 2013, Frank is still fully committed to the sprawling and sensual curve. And when confronted with his work, we, the viewers, are obsessed and seduced in turn: do the clusters of seemingly aleatory lines and swirls conjure organic shapes, images of reclining nudes or landscapes with winding rivers, flights of birds, traces of melodies or dance?

TMH Catalogue 1.1, 2013

Video projection of Peanuts (1978) by Jan Frank, during the Amsterdam Light Festival 2013 / Benefit concert with pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama

In the first period of his painting career, Frank used the line as a mode of appropriation. He borrowed pictorial elements of admired predecessors from de Kooning and Guston to Mondrian and Van Gogh, and showed that painting could both join and confront the “art of not making” that has pervaded the world of art after Duchamp. In the Weltanschauung of the 1990s, Frank hid his artistic mastery behind the appropriated line and ingeniously revealed it compositionally using commercial quality correction fluid, known as white out. In a bold and unsurprising reversal, he changed everything around in the works that followed after 2000. This time, the deadly inorganic white-out blocks, distorts, or suddenly stops Frank’s own rigorous curves—like a chance accident that can stop or change a seemingly predictable course of events. These recent works reveal the firm hand and masterstroke of a true grandmaster through and through.

Jan Frank’s last show at Paul Kasmin Gallery was listed third in 2011’s Top Ten in Painting by the Art In America magazine. And it is only fitting that works from different periods of his distinguished career can now be seen in Amsterdam, installed by Frank himself.

The exhibition is organized with the participation of Kunstruimte Wagemans, Beetsterzwaag.


Jan Frank (1951, US) is an international painter. He has been showing in New York and abroad for the past 25 years. When unable to paint due to a double wrist injury in 2008, he curated a group of shows in a gallery space on the Bowery, in New York City. From then on, curatorial projects have remained an important form of expression for Frank, as they embody his longstanding theoretical exploration of personal and historical concerns in art, and he undertakes them from time to time. Jan Frank’s work is represented in major private collections, as well as in museums. Frank was born in 1951, Amsterdam, NL and lives and works in New York, NY.