On view through April 12 at Hauser and Wirth Gallery’s 18th Street location is a selection of works collected by Reinhardt Onnasch, one of the first German art dealers to open a gallery in New York after World War II, and a skilled curator who helped to launch the career of a number of New York’s most definitive post-war artists. Re-view: Onnasch Collection provides a glimpse into the work done by this collector and enthusiast, reflecting overlapping art movements that bridged the American and German art worlds of the time.
The show is structured according to the dominant movements of the art world at the historical moment in which Onnasch was collecting and selling. Organized to reflect the progression and threads of influence between movements, the show begins with Abstract Expressionist masters in the first room, where a selection if iconic works by Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, and Morris Louis are on display. Progressing through the early years of Pop Art with works by Claes Oldenburg, the tradition of Assemblage, and the Post Minimalism of Richard Tuttle, the show ends in a tenth room with the Minimalist Conceptual work of Ad Reinhardt, Dan Flavin, and Richard Serra. Ample space is given to less frequently exhibited artists like Edward Kleinholz and the early semiotic abstractions of Jim Dine, and perhaps even more room is given for association between divergent artists like these two, with plenty of room to consider the early work of Christo alongside the commercially-inspired pop art of John Wesley as well.
As mentioned, the works on view are impressively dense, and the impeccable collection, curated for exhibition by Hauser and Wirth’s Paul Schimmel, reflects the gallery’s increasingly impressive role as a historical archive. Strong ties are made between diverse threads in the practices of these artists, while still allowing the voice and tastes of Mr. Onnasch to stake out a healthy spot in the foreground. The collection reveals a true investment in the personality and practice of particular works and artists. The organization of these works invites the viewer to anticipate aesthetic movements and encounter themes that reflects the historical sequencing that inevitably steered Onnasch’s investment in the art world.
Exhibition Page [Hauser and Wirth]