"Wagner can be very heavy," says artist Dana Schutz, "so I wanted to approach this project in a way that could seem lighter." The endeavor she refers to is Götterdämmerung—not Robert Lepage’s new production of the final installment of the Ring (which opened in January 2012), but Schutz’s own solo Gallery Met exhibition of the same name, inspired by the opera. Mirroring the unfolding of the stage production, Schutz’s show is the fourth part of a two-year series of visual-arts presentations, organized by Dodie Kazanjian. "I chose to make watercolor monoprints with crayon and pencil," Schutz says of the new works. "There’s a lightness and crispness that is different from traditional watercolor technique and very different from oil painting." Although Schutz had to make a number of stylistic decisions as to how she would tackle this assignment, the inspiration was all there from the start, in particular for the heroine, Brünnhilde. "She is a fascinating character," the artist says. "Very powerful but conflicted. She takes the whole world down, as well as herself." Of course, Brünnhilde is just one element of the story that lends itself to a painterly treatment. "The Ring is incredibly visual," Schutz says. "There’s so much in it: Rhinemaidens, a dragon, incest—even the world in flames!" —Matt Dobkin
Götterdämmerung was seen from January through May 2012 in the Arnold and Marie Schwartz Gallery Met.
Watercolor monotype with colored pencil and crayon, 60 × 45.75"
Courtesy the artist and Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York
Published by Two Palms, New York