Scott Covert: I Had a Wonderful Life

On view November 20, 2022 through April 23, 2023

Scott Covert, She Always Asked Why, 1996-2021, Wax oil crayon on acrylic on muslin, Collection of Raymond J. Learsy.
I Had a Wonderful Life is the first solo museum exhibition dedicated to artist Scott Covert (b.1954, Edison, NJ.). This presentation of Covert’s 40-year-long practice will center on his Monument Paintings, which the artist began making in 1985. Covert, a legendary figure within the eighties East Village art scene, forms his abstract compositions through the Victorian tradition of grave rubbing, in which an impression is lifted from the honorary reliefs on tombstones. With the cemeteries of the world serving as his itinerant studio, Covert has dedicated his life to visiting the resting places of what he calls “people of character.”
SC1127OP Scott Covert Philip Guston The Colorful One 2021

While some of these grave rubbings are singular, Covert’s art is distinguished by his work in which a collage of names come together to form a legendary dinner party of the dead. With a different wash of color dedicated to each luminary, the artist’s cadre builds into a seance of dazzling proportions, through an associative path of logic that is singular to the artist. Across a single canvas, the viewer may trace Covert’s journeys to the graves of Nikita Kruschev, Serge Gainsbourg, Gram Parsons, Eva Peron, Louis B. Mayer and Mies van der Rohe. Each name represents a moment in time, in which the artist has journeyed from Russia to Argentina, Montparnasse to Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Kansas City to Biloxi and back again, through interminable crossings and stretches of time: sometimes weeks, sometimes years.

Scott Covert In This Thing Together Blue Columbarium 1999 2021

This exhibition, curated by the Museum’s Bryant-Taylor curator, Ariella Wolens, will mark a burgeoning curiosity that has recently formed around Covert’s practice, with his work being shown in distinguished institutions and galleries such as Massimo de Carlo, FIERMAN, Karma Gallery, Off Paradise, Situations and White Columns, and featured in magazines including Artforum, The New Yorker and The Paris Review. This exhibition will coincide with the publication of the artist’s first monograph, published by American Art Catalogs.