Opening this Thursday at the Deitch Projects 76 Grand St. Gallery will be new works by painter Kurt Kauper. The exhibition, entitled “Everyone Knew That Canadians Were the Best Hockey Players,” will feature four larger than life size figurative paintings, along with two other smaller paintings all of which reference vintage hockey stars. Within each portrait, the artist has removed the clothing from the subject, rendering the masculine sportsmen with a strong sense of vulnerability and defenselessness. The shows title was appropriated from a sportscaster who was noting the superior ability of Canadian professional players over Soviet Olympians. Despite popular thought, the Soviets nearly defeated the Canadians, and lost only after the Soviet’s lead player was intentionally injured by a Canadian player. Kauper has stated, “images of hockey players are intended to teach boys how to behave like men,” and his intention is to break the illusion of conventional expectations and offer the viewer something new entirely. This will be his first exhibition in NYC since 2005, partly because it takes him upwards of a year to complete a single work.
Kauper had work included in the 2000 Whitney Biennial and in an exhibition titled “Dear Painter” at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Kunsthalle Wien and Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt. Kauper has taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Yale University School of Art in New Haven, and is currently a Professor at Queens College in NY.