New York

Alex Katz, Ada in a Pillbox Hat, 1961, oil on linen, 14 x 19". © Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

Alex Katz, Ada in a Pillbox Hat, 1961, oil on linen, 14 x 19". © Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

New York

“Alex Katz Paints Ada”

The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue
October 27, 2006–March 18, 2007

Curated by Ruth Beesch

“Ada says she’s getting tired, a little, of being ‘the girl in the painting,’ whose pictures look more like her than she does,” poet and critic James Schuyler remarked in 1962. Unfortunately for her, Ada—still favored as a subject by her husband, Alex Katz—remains framed by this paradox. Katz has been depicting his better half since the late ’50s, when his tightly worked flat forms, often painted on Abstract Expressionist–size canvases, anticipated the commercial look of Pop. This exhibition’s thirty-nine portraits show Katz’s wife through eyes that watched her change from the enigmatic bohemian of Ada in Black Sweater, 1957, to today’s cool and collected art-world doyenne. Embodying the ever-changing styles and poses of her times, Ada Katz proved the perfect muse for a painter of contemporary life.