First Jacob Kassay Show at 303 Gallery Opens As a Winner

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First Jacob Kassay Show at 303 Gallery Opens As a Winner

Jacob Cassay is amazing

Jacob Cassay show finally opens at 303 Gallery in Chelsea. The title is nbd, but more importantly an allusion to referential self: instead of “I, Jacob Kassay,” the title is abbreviated (and as such can also mean “I’m just kidding,” which is more than a little hilarious). On a more serious note, the artwork is rooted in accumulated artistries, intended to question concrete understanding of painting techniques and materials.

Kassay has been an art world wunderkind since 2010, when his silver paintings turned him into an overnight sensation. Only 25 at the time, the value of his work went from $8,000 to $86,500 during an auction at Phillips de Pury that year. By spring 2010, his work was selling for upwards of $290,000. After being featured at Andrea Rosen Gallery and in a solo show at MoMA PS1, Kassay is now represented by 303 Gallery. Following initial discussions this past February, the November show is his first with 303 at the 24th Street space.

Retaining his trademark monochrome, the all-white works use atomized acrylic paint over reappropriated textiles from long-forgotten paintings. These paintings are uniquely shaped, retaining the lines of the materials as they combined. While the title of the exhibition is autobiographical, most of the works are left untitled, reiterating the found and ultimately mysterious origins of the sourced painting materials. Words do line the edges of the white canvases, however — a groundbreaking motif for Kassay.

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The found materials and white paintings bring to mind Merrill Wagner and Robert Ryman. Ryman is renowned for his ‘white paintings,’ created throughout the 1960s. His wife, Merrill Wagner, works with scrap metals that she carefully pieces together for a minimalist and abstract shape. The combined inspiration of appropriation and monochromatic minimalism is present in Kassay’s work.

Beyond painting, Kassay also experiments with prisms and glass. For his untitled wedges of glass, the artist drew inspiration from Yale’s Beinecke Library’s translucent marble façade. Kassay’s wedges fit inside books to illuminate and magnify the internal text, not unlike the way the Yale library’s structure is revealed by the clear external features. In fact, while the gallery displays the wedges inside specific titles, they are sold irrespective of the books. The collector is intended to go to any bookstore and find one that fits, allowing for a sense of discovery and ownership separate from the artist’s.

Kassay is currently based in Los Angeles and is exceptionally private for a young star. Prior to his agreement with 303 Gallery, he was based in Brooklyn and represented by Eleven Rivington. In related news, his current shorn haircut makes him virtually unrecognizable compared to his more boyish days featured in Forbes.

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303 Gallery has been in flux since April 2013, when they moved from their 21st Street space to 507 West 24th Street. By 2015, 303 plans to open a newly renovated 21st Street gallery, but may keep the 24th Street location as they continue to expand.

[ Photo courtesy of 303 Gallery ]

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