Tomma Abts

Tomma Abts creates small, severe paintings that provide an intriguing antidote to the florid figuration that has dominated the contemporary painting discourse in the last decade. The exhibition, organized for the New Museum in New York by Laura Hoptman, Kraus Family Senior Curator, includes fourteen paintings, all of them the same size (19.8 x 15 inches), made over the past ten years. The exhibition at the Hammer Museum will also include a selection of pencil and color pencil drawings.

Abts won the Turner Prize in 2006 and this exhibition is the first individual presentation of the artist's work in a United States museum. Abts's commitment to abstraction is absolute. Her paintings are non-representational and free from all reference to nature or to the world at large. In the present contemporary art climate, these paintings may seem strange, aberrant, and even shocking. In their stab at profundity, the paintings are also intensely moving and relevant to our uncertain times. The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalog which will include more than fifty reproductions of the artist's paintings and drawings as well as feature essays by critics Jan Verwoert and Bruce Hainley, and curator Laura Hoptman.


Born in Kiel, Germany in 1967, Abts lives and works in London. She has had solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (with Vincent Fecteau), and she’s been included in major international exhibitions including the 54th Carnegie International, the 4th berlin biennale and the 2006 Shanghai Biennale.

The exhibition is made possible by a grant from the Lily Auchincloss Foundation and gifts from James-Keith (JK) Brown and Eric G. Diefenbach, and Hilary and Peter Hatch.

Additional support is provided by the Toby Devan Lewis Emerging Artists Exhibitions Fund.

Support for the accompanying publication has been provided by the J. McSweeney and G. Mills Publications Fund at the New Museum.