Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys: Fine Arts

Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys: Fine Arts
Published by CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco; MoMA PS1, New York; Raven Row, London, 2016
Designed by Boy Vereecken & Harald Thys
Paperback, 100 pages, 94 color images
$25

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This book is published in conjunction with an exhibition in three parts by Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys in 2015: at CCA Wattis Institute (where the exhibition was titled Tram 3), MoMA PS1 (where the exhibition was retitled Fine Arts; and Raven Row (under the title Fine Arts).

Building on the artists' continual playful and dystopic depiction of the human condition, this book brings together over ninety watercolors the artists made in 2015, inspired by images found on the Internet. Placed in custom-made frames with hand-written lettering labeling each one, the paintings flirt with nostalgia and sentimentality, but ultimately remain too banal and deadpan. Some memorialize significant places or tragic events, while others simply depict animals or everyday objects. They are watercolors trying to be history paintings, but that don't manage to be much more than postcards from provincial places