San Francisco

Stefan Kürten

Hosfelt Gallery

Bryan Ferry’s subdued 1973 paean to suburban ennui, “In Every Dream Home a Heartache,” applies very neatly to the well-appointed but visibly aging midcentury dwellings that are the subjects of Stefan Kürten’s richly patterned paintings. The fifteen works in Kürten’s recent show invariably depict middle- and upper-middle-class abodes that exude stoic isolation beneath visually complex exteriors. The residences are shrouded in or embellished with kudzu-strength vines and trees planted when the developments were new. Intricate exterior patterning is the sole notable feature of this otherwise unremarkable architecture.

A number of works feature backgrounds of shimmering gold paint, a surface treatment that lends a glimmer of low-rent magic. And in a few interior views, chic art direction and modern designer furniture betray the wealth and taste of the residents; yet, as in the glossy pages of

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.