Critics’ Picks

Marcel Storr, Untitled, n.d., graphite and colored pencil, 29 1/2 x 21 3/4".

Marcel Storr, Untitled, n.d., graphite and colored pencil, 29 1/2 x 21 3/4".

New York

Marcel Storr

Andrew Edlin Gallery
212 Bowery
September 13–October 25, 2014

Over the course of several decades and some of the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century in Paris—including both world wars and the revolts of 1968—the street-sweeper and artist Marcel Storr prolifically and privately produced a trove of drawings that imaginatively re-imagined the architecture of his native city. In Storr’s utopian view of the French capital, stylistic references to its past serve as a means to dramatically redefine its future. The present exhibition centers on works from the 1960s and ’70s, when Storr’s drawings grew larger in scale, abstract in style, and psychologically dense in context. It was during this time that the reclusive artist began to gain public attention for his work, but also when he began to suffer from the paranoid belief that Paris was headed for certain nuclear destruction, at which point his drawings would act not only as art objects but as technical guides for the city’s reconstruction.

In one drawing (Untitled, n.d.), for example, the Eiffel Tower dominates the Parisian skyline. Here, however, the iconic structure is rendered in psychedelic hues and vibrating lines, and is surrounded by uniform ziggurats. The scene’s abundance of detail virtually obscures its total lack of human presence, suggesting that Storr’s future city is defined by its symbolically historic architecture; in contrast to the subjective experience contemporarily espoused by the Situationists, buildings serve as a means of defining urban space. This sense of historicism is further emphasized by the exhibition’s installation: Drawings are presented under direct, focused light that lends their vivid coloration and outlines the appearance of stained glass, stressing the space that Storr envisioned between archaism and utopia.