The Art of Joy: Online Viewing Room Focuses on Positive Emotions

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • April 28, 2020

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Alexander Calder. Dolmens, 1971. Gouache and ink on paper. 29 1/2 x 43 1/8 in. (74.9 x 109.5 cm). © 2020 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy of Zeit Contemporary Art, New York
Sam Francis. Untitled, 1960. Gouache on paper. 15.7 x 12 in (40 x 30.5 cm). © 2020 Sam Francis Foundation, California / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy of Zeit Contemporary Art, New York

Zeit Contemporary Art presents Joie de vivre, an online viewing room active between April 28th and May 31st that brings together work by modern, post-war and contemporary artists who, in times of crisis, have found visual means to enlighten and transform people’s lives with strength and optimism.

 Joie de vivre gathers works whose uplifting compositions capture dynamic forms and figures set in spaces of possibility. These works do not proceed by limitation or elimination to actualize themselves, but rather they repeat, combine, pile up, douse, duplicate, interlock, extend and propel lines, stripes, patterns, forms and figures. These works in conversation, at the intersection of abstraction and figuration, composed from the 1960s through the present, are bound with ardor, intimacy, sensuous modes, and a predominantly warm primary palette.

Bryson Rand. Jordan Dancing, 2020. Archival Pigment Print on Harman by Hahnemuhle Gloss Baryta paper. 28 x 20 in. (71.1 x 50.8 cm). © 2020 Bryson Rand. Courtesy of the artist and Zeit Contemporary Art, New York

The title Joie de vivre is drawn from the philosophical concept of Elan Vital (vital impulse), a term coined by French philosopher Henri Bergson to designate the creative tendency of life, which develops through intuition and generates the evolution of beings. In Creative Evolution, Bergson states that when the vital impulse is sublimated, it can spark creative progressions that are at the origin of great creations, spiritual, moral, and mystic.

Joie de vivre gathers these works together, united by the concept herein, to ask the question of how can we as a culture aspire to joy, to rise to be the best of ourselves, when we are so bereft of these qualities in the midst of this current moment. To think about joy right now is to acknowledge our current situation. In the depths of despair, considering joy is a way to find our way back to ourselves and to each other, to honor life.

Enter Viewing Room


Alexander Calder

Sam Francis

Keith Haring

Damien Hirst

Alex Katz

Roy Lichtenstein

Joan Miró

Iman Raad

Bryson Rand

Julia Rooney

About Zeit Contemporary Art

Founded in 2016, Zeit Contemporary Art is a firm specializing in modern, post-war and contemporary art, located at 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, NY 10022. Our mission is deeply committed to the understanding of art as a complex cultural object that defines the time and space where it is created. Zeit Contemporary Art organizes three carefully curated exhibitions a year both on contemporary artists and historically focused projects. Additionally, the firm represents the work of pioneering artists and provides a unique service of private sales of museum quality works.

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