Wally Reinhardt, Theseus Slays the Minotaur, 2003, Watercolor, gouache, Prismacolor colored pencil, graphite, and tape on prepared Arches paper, 18 x 22 in.
Wally Reinhardt: Pages from Ovid’s Metamorphoses is the first solo museum exhibition of this New York-based octogenarian artist. Since the 1980s, Reinhardt has exclusively illustrated scenes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, with vivid, whimsical watercolor and gouache paintings that recount the Roman poet’s time-honored myths. From a deformed figure staring at her reflection in Medusa Regarding the Head She is About to Lose to one shedding the multicolored feathers of his disintegrating wings in Icarus Flew Too Close to the Sun, Reinhardt illustrates these classic tales with wickedly satirical wit and cheeky captions. While his elaborate, decorative borders reference ancient Roman frescoes and mosaics, he also imbues his works with a modern-day spin.
Organized by the Grey Art Gallery, Pages from Ovid’s Metamorphoses features some 50 scenes from this series comprising more than 200 works, and will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue. The exhibition will also coincide with the conference “Ovid and Art,” organized by NYU’s Center for Ancient Studies.
(New York University Art Collection. Gift of the artist, 2018.2.30.)