For his first show with David Zwirner, artist Nate Lowman will confront one of the most devastating scenes in recent history: when a gunman opened fire at a music festival in Las Vegas two years ago, killing 58 people in what remains the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
Gunman Stephen Paddock, holed up on the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel targeted concertgoers from his window before turning the weapon on himself. Lowman, who was born in Las Vegas, has titled the exhibition after that fateful day and the show will open in London the day after the two-year anniversary of the crime on October 1.
The artist, perhaps best-known for his bullet hole paintings, has grappled with gun violence in the past, creating sculptures of bank teller windows shattered by gunshots. Here, Lowman was inspired by photographs of the Las Vegas crime scene released by police, and “began translating the images, one by one, into paintings, in part as an attempt to grapple with the unanswerable questions posed by the shooting,” according to the gallery’s press release.
Unlike the harrowingly chaotic photographs taken by photojournalists on the ground during and immediately following the shooting, which highlight the terror and violence of the event, the crime scene images are almost clinically detached.
A generic door handle, shot by Paddock to keep police from accessing his room, is shown in Lowman’s Picture 1 (2019), while Picture 4 (2018) captures a room service cart in the hallway leading up to his hotel room. The more abstract Picture 26 (2018) is based on a photo of bullet residue on fuel tanks at nearby McCarran International Airport.
Previously represented by Maccarone gallery, Lowman signed with Zwirner in May. At the time, the dealer praised the artist in a statement, saying, “his critical engagement with contemporary culture as much as with art history is evident in his strikingly relevant works.”
The artist had solo exhibitions in 2018 at Gagosian Gallery in New York, the Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo, and Massimo de Carlo gallery in Milan. In 2012 he was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Brant Foundation Art Study Center in Greenwich, Connecticut.
See more works from the upcoming show below.
“Nate Lowman: October 1, 2017” will be on view at David Zwirner, 24 Grafton Street, London, October 3–November 9, 2019.