Dana Schutz

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Dana Schutz
Born 1976
Livonia, Michican
Nationality American
Known for Painting

Dana Schutz (born 1976) is an American artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She is best known for her humorous, gestural paintings that take on specific subjects or narrative situations as a point of departure.[1] Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Early Life and Education[edit]

Dana Schutz grew up in Livonia, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, and graduated in 1995 from Adlai E. Stevenson High School. In 1999, while pursuing her BFA at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Schutz ventured abroad to attend the Norwich School of Art and Design in Norwich, England. That same year, she participated in Maine’s Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture residency program, and in 2000 completed her BFA upon her return to Cleveland. In 2002, Schutz received her MFA from Columbia University in the city of New York.


Dana Schutz first came to attention with her debut exhibition Frank from Observation (2002) at LFL gallery (now Zach Feuer Gallery). This show was based on the conceit of Schutz as the last painter, representing the last subject “Frank”. Since then her fictive subjects have ranged from people who can eat themselves, a gravity fanatic, imaginary births and deaths, and public/private performers.[2] On the occasion Schutz’s museum retrospective at the Neuberger Museum, New York Times critic Karen Rosenberg said “Ms. Schutz has become a reliable conjurer of wickedly grotesque creatures and absurd situations, willed into existence by her vigorous and wildly colorful brush strokes.”[2] She concludes, “Again and again Ms. Schutz has challenged herself to come up with a subject that’s too awkward, gross, impractical or invisible to paint. But she has yet to find one that stumps her.”[2]

When asked where she comes up with her quirky subject matter, Schutz has said that, "the paintings are not autobiographical […] I respond to what I think is happening in the world. The hypotheticals in the paintings can act as surrogates or narratives for phenomena that I feel are happening in culture. In the paintings, I think in terms of adjectives and adverbs. Often I will get information from people or things that I see, a phrase, or how one object relates to another. I construct the paintings as I go along." [3]

Jörg Heiser, who has compared Schutz to Austrian painter Maria Lassnig, describes the work in his 2008 book All of a Sudden: “Her canvases are ‘too big,’ the way showy gold chains are too big, but also skeptical and at times bad-tempered, the way intelligent teenagers are in their loathing of the bland aestheticism and brash sexuality of pop-modernity”. With regard to color, Heiser adds, “Schutz’s pictures favor a carefully chosen palette of vomit and mold and rot, between pink and purple, turquoise and olive, ocher and crap” [4]

In an essay for Schutz's catalog, Dana Schutz: Paintings 2002-2005, Katy Seigel addressed Schutz's work as paintings that "speak so vividly of their making," claiming that Schutz's paintings are an "allegory for the process of making art."[5] Seigel goes on to write "by rendering the process of creation as one of drawing on oneself, recycling oneself and making oneself, Schutz creates a model of creation that blurs beginnings and endings, avoiding the dramatic genesis of the modernist blank canvas, as well as the nihilistic cul-de-sac of the appropriated media image."[5]

In 2012 Schutz presented her exhibition Piano in the Rain at Petzel Gallery in New York. Critic Roberta Smith described the paintings’ “loose, flyaway feeling” and the “caught-in-the-act air” of Schutz’s thinly painted characters who appear in weird, slightly frantic situations.[6] In her review of the show, Smith concludes: “More than ever, Ms. Schutz seems to want every stroke and smudge of paint to register separately so that you can see through to the bare canvas and reconstruct her every move as she fearlessly tackles life’s flux.”[6]


Schutz is represented by Petzel Gallery in New York and Contemporary Fine Arts in Berlin. Solo museum exhibitions include: Dana Schutz at SITE Santa Fe (2005), Dana Schutz: Paintings 2002-2005 at the Rose Art Museum in 2006 (a show which later traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland), Dana Schutz at Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin, Ireland (2010), Dana Schutz at the Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto in Rovereto, Italy (2010), If the Face Had Wheels (2011) at the Neuberger Museum in Purchase, NY (which later traveled to the Miami Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver in 2012), Dana Schutz at UK’s Hepworth Wakefield (2013), and most recently Dana Schutz at the Kestnergesellschaft in Hannover, Germany in 2014.[7]

Schutz has participated in many major group exhibitions both in the United States and abroad including the Venice Biennial (2003), Prague Biennial (2003), Greater New York (2005) at MoMA PS1, Take Two. Worlds and Views (2005) at The Museum of Modern Art, Two Years (2007) at the Whitney Museum, Eclipse: Art in a Dark Age (2008) at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, After Nature (2008) at the New Museum, Riotous Baroque (2012) at Kunsthaus Zürich, and Comic Future (2013) at Ballroom Marfa in Marfa, Texas.[7]


Schutz’s work is represented in numerous major museum and public collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Whitney Museum of American Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Tel Aviv Museum of Art.[7]


Upon graduating from Columbia University’s MFA program in 2002, Schutz received the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant. The following year, she was the recipient of the Louis Confort Tiffany Foundation Award. In 2007, Schutz was awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award, and in 2010 she received Columbia University’s Medal for Excellence.[7]

Solo exhibitions[edit]


  • Dana Schutz, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal, Canada


  • Dana Schutz, Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, Germany


  • Dana Schutz, Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield, UK
  • God Paintings, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany


  • Dana Schutz: If the Face Had Wheels, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO[8]
  • Dana Schutz, Works on Paper, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO
  • Piano In The Rain, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York, NY[9]
  • Götterdämerung, The Metropolitan Opera, New York, NY
  • Dana Schutz: If the Face Had Wheels, Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL


  • Dana Schutz: If the Face Had Wheels, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY
  • Dana Schutz: Drawings & Prints, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA


  • Dana Schutz, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland / Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Rovereto, Italy
  • Dana Schutz: The Last Thing You See, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany


  • Missing Pictures, Zach Feuer Gallery, New York, NY


  • If It Appears In The Desert, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany


  • Stand By Earth Man Zach Feuer Gallery, New York, NY


  • Dana Schutz: Paintings 2002-2005 Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA / Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH


  • Dana Schutz, Site Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM
  • Teeth Dreams and Other Supposed Truths, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany


  • Dana Schutz, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS
  • Panic, Zach Feuer Gallery, New York, NY
  • Self Eaters and the People Who Love Them, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France
  • Run, Mario Diacono Gallery, Boston, MA


  • Dana Schutz: Still Life, Shaheen Modern & Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH


  • Frank From Observation, LFL Gallery, New York,[10] NY


  1. ^ Jarrett Earnest, "In Conversation: Dana Schutz with Jarrett Earnest" the Brooklyn Rail, June 2012.http://brooklynrail.org/2012/06/art/dana-schutz-with-jarrett-earnest
  2. ^ a b c Rosenberg, Karen. "The Fantastic and Grisly, Envisioned". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Mei, Chin. "Dana Schutz". BOMB Magazine. Retrieved 2015-12-19. 
  4. ^ Heiser, Jörg (2008). All of a Sudden: Things that Matter in Contemporary Art. Berlin: Sternberg Press. p. 122. ISBN 9781933128399. 
  5. ^ a b Seigel, Katy (2006). Dana Schutz Paintings 2002-2005. Waltham, MA: The Rose Art Museum Brandeis University. ISBN 0976159333. 
  6. ^ a b Smith, Roberta (June 7, 2012). "Piano in the Rain". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d Petzel Gallery (PDF). Petzel Gallery http://prod-images.exhibit-e.com/www_petzel_com/SCH_MASTER_CV.pdf. Retrieved 18 January 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "Dana Schutz: If the Face Had Wheels". Denver Art Museum. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "Dana Schutz: Piano in the Rain". Friedrich Petzel Gallery. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  10. ^ "Zach Feuer Gallery: Dana Schutz Exhibitions". Zach Feuer Gallery: Dana Schutz Exhibitions. Retrieved 25 October 2011. 

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