“In a huge, empty room, a fat dirty, greasy man was slapping white paint on a blank canvas with a kitchen knife. From time to time he would press his face against the window and look out at the storm. The sea came so close that it seemed to batter the house and completely envelope it in its foam and roar. The salty water beat against the windowpanes like hail, and ran down the walls. On his mantlepiece was a bottle of cider next to a half-filled glass. Now and then, Courbet would take a few swigs, and then return to his work. This work became The Wave, and caused quite a sensation around the world.”
—Guy de Maupassant recounts a visit he made to Courbet during his stay in Etretat, France, September 12, 1886
We are pleased to present Barbarian Days on-view March 11th through May 1st at the gallery’s St. Barth location, exhibiting works by: Rachelle Dang, Koji Enokura, Herbie Fletcher, Francesca Gabbiani, Katharina Grosse, Julio Le Parc, Robert Levine, Robert Longo, Ari Marcopoulos, Catherine Opie, Joni Sternbach, and Lawrence Weiner.
Taking as our inspiration the autobiography Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir of New Yorker writer, William Finnegan, this unruly exhibition celebrates historic and contemporary artists who consider the ocean as a vehicle for an enriching
and daunting personal psychosomatic investigation into creative catharsis. Presented at Fergus McCaffrey St. Barth, the gallery’s intimate venue on the wild side of the island at Grand Fond, the exhibition is acoustically augmented by the nearby rush of crashing waves and reverberating subterranean coral ricochets.
The sea is endless, a source of the known and unknown. The artists in this exhibition draw directly from the ocean—in some cases physically immersing their bodies; in others, their minds; for many, often both. Francesca Gabbiani, Katharina Grosse and Herbie Fletcher are avid surfers; Rachelle Dang, Joni Sternbach, and Catherine Opie, keen observers; for Lawrence Weiner and Robert Levine the wave is an inspiration for intellectual reflection; for Ari Marcopoulos, Koji Enokura and Robert Longo, wry awe. Common to all, is its offering of expansive possibilities to harness force through image, language, and gesture. These are Barbarian Days indeed.