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Ludlow / Leipzig
Benjamin Butler / Bastian Muhr

In 2019 Leipzig-based Bastian Muhr and Vienna-based Benjamin Butler began a conversation rooted in an affinity for each other’s work. After several discussions surrounding a mutual interest in the aesthetics of a reduction that still preserves the presence of the hand, their dialogue led to Ludlow/Leipzig: two concurrent shows at Galerie Jochen Hempel in Leipzig and at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery in New York.

Muhr uses a palette of grays and blacks, embedding the journey of brush and paint throughout a generative variety of forms. Butler continues his project of pushing landscape into abstraction, here reducing depictions of “forests” to dapples of brushstrokes in green fields of paint on four adjacent canvas grounds. Taken together, the two artists present an idiosyncratic series that threads together minimalist ideas and keeps the painterly process in plain view.


Benjamin Butler’s studio

Shortly after his first solo show at Klaus von Nichtssagend in 2012, Benjamin Butler relocated from New York to Vienna, Austria to make work for a European solo show. While the move was to be short term, Butler has remained in Vienna ever since with a young family.

Butler’s studio for the past 6 years is located in an apartment building in Meidling, a district near the Schönbrunn Palace and its impressive gardens. Historically, many of the workers from the palace and surrounding gardens lived in this area including in the building that houses Butler’s studio. The studio is a former apartment with high doors and ceilings, natural light and a small terrace. Elements of the apartment’s past are visible in areas of red and green wallpaper that the artist kept during the initial renovation, and the tall cushioned doors leading into what was once the bedroom.

For nearly a decade, Mr. Butler has reduced his art to schematic renderings of forests and individual trees, mostly by using some tone of bright, fairly monochromatic green […] The results […] express reverence toward nature and revisit the important role of landscape painting in the pursuit of early abstraction but also feel bracingly contemporary, which is to say nonchalant, stripped-down, skill-resistant and even a little impertinent.

– Roberta Smith, reviewing Butler's 2014 'Green Forest' for the New York Times

A Residency in the Woods

Bastian Muhr created the work for Ludlow/Leipzig while at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation Residency from December 2019 through February 2020. Nestled in the woods of Southern Connecticut, the Foundation provided a freestanding home and studio with picture windows into the forest. Muhr used his time to develop this body of oil paintings on paper using his bold language of marks and form.

The gallery was able to visit Muhr in the studio in late February to plan the exhibition.

Visit the Albers Foundation website

Benjamin Butler and Bastian Muhr
In Conversation – July, 2020

Butler and Muhr documented their email correspondence discussing the planning and ideas behind their Ludlow/Leipzig exhibitions. An edited version of that conversation is available for download here.
Click here to download the PDF



Installation views, information about the works in the show, and the full press release are available in our online viewing room.

The gallery is currently open to the public Wednesday through Saturday 11AM to 6PM. Face masks are required and we ask that visitors remain six feet apart at all times. In addition, appointments can be made to promote safety and social distancing by clicking here.

Part II of Ludlow/Leipzig will open on August 1st at Galerie Jochen Hempel in Leipzig, Germany.

Benjamin Butler, Green Forest, 2020
Gouache and color pencil on paper
15 ¾ × 12 ¾ inches (40.01 × 32.39 cm)

Benjamin Butler, Green Forest, 2020
Gouache and color pencil on paper
15 ¾ × 12 ¾ inches (40.01 × 32.39 cm)

Benjamin Butler, Green Forest, 2020
Gouache and color pencil on paper
15 × 11 ⅜ inches (38.10 × 28.89 cm)

Bastian Muhr, Untitled (ohne Titel), 2020
oil on paper
24 × 19 inches (61 × 48.3 cm )

Bastian Muhr, Untitled (ohne Titel), 2020
oil on paper
24 × 19 inches (61 × 48.3 cm)

Bastian Muhr, Untitled (ohne Titel), 2020
oil on paper
24 × 19 inches (61 × 48.3 cm)

TaunusTurm Installation in Frankfurt

In June of 2020, Bastian Muhr created the installation of a new large scale drawing on the windows of the TaunusTurm in Frankfurt, Germany. This video follows the installation process of the public artwork commissioned by Tishman Speyer.

Benjamin Butler:
Selected Paintings 2001-2012

A monograph of the artist’s early paintings with an essay by Barry Schwabsky is available through the gallery.

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