Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth presents Donald Sultan: The Disaster Paintings
The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth presents the first exhibition focusing on Donald Sultan's seminal Disaster Paintings series, including 11 signature paintings from 1984 to 1990. Donald Sultan: The Disaster Paintings is organized by the Modern's assistant curator, Alison Hearst.
Sultan's career began with his first solo exhibition in 1977 in New York City, when he was just 26 years old, and he rose to prominence in the 1980s. A painter, sculptor, and printmaker, Sultan is regarded for his ongoing large-scale painted still lifes featuring structural renderings of fruit, flowers, and other everyday objects, often abstracted and set against a rich, black background; but he is also noted for his significant industrial landscape series that began in the early 1980s entitled the Disaster Paintings, on which the artist worked for nearly a decade. While Sultan's still lifes depict and strengthen fragile and ephemeral objects, the Disaster Paintings often illustrate robust, man-made structures, such as factories and train cars, that exhibit a level of fragility in their propensity to be unhinged by catastrophic events. Distinguished for combining such subject matter with industrial materials, such as tar and Masonite tiles, the Disaster Paintings exemplify in both media and concept the vulnerability of the most progressive manufactured elements of modern culture.
The show is accompanied by a richly illustrated book published by Prestel and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, which features the series in its entirety for the first time. The hardcover publication includes an interview between Sultan and Hearst, and essays by the poet Max Blagg and Charles Wylie, Curator of Photography and New Media, Santa Barbara Museum of Art.