Brand-New & Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s

July 11, 2015 - October 18, 2015

The Paul J. Schupf Wing for the Works of Alex Katz

The 1950s saw American artist Alex Katz (b. 1927) take up and master painting directly from nature, lay claim to Abstract Expressionism’s size and scale on behalf of figurative painting, and innovate with collages and cutouts. It was a decade in which he looked to the portraiture of Édouard Manet for lessons in the relationship between figure and ground, and the one in which he met Ada, his most enduring model. Given the overwhelming popularity of painterly abstraction, this was also a period when he destroyed hundreds of canvases, and those that survived had little to no audience. This major exhibition will introduce audiences to an overlooked body of work and consider it within the context of the aesthetic commitments of the decade. Brand-New & Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s features sixty-five paintings, cutouts, and collages, including many on loan from the artist and major public and private collections.

Details about the exhibition tour coming soon.

For press inquiries, please contact Francisca Moraga López.

Related Programming

Related Publications and Press

Exhibition feature: Phil Hirschkorn, ‘The world caught up with me’: Painter Alex Katz continues prolific work, PBS NewsHour, September 2015

Exhibition review: Geoff Edgers, Alex Katz at 88: Portrait of the artist unable to slow down, The Washington Post, July 2015

Exhibition review: Sebastian Smee, Alex Katz’s sweet spot: the hue of the ‘Brand-New’The Boston Globe, July 2015

Press release: Brand-New and Terrific Press Release



Brand-New & Terrific
Alex Katz in the 1950s
Diana Tuite

Celebrating an experimental decade in the career of Alex Katz, this book introduces audiences to a relatively unknown body of his work.




Banner Image: Alez Katz, Jack’s Fancy Fruit and Veg., 1951-1952, oil on masonite, 36 x 16 in. Gift of the artist, 1995.091. Art © Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY