Lot 49
  • 49

DANA SCHUTZ | Civil Planning

300,000 - 400,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Dana Schutz
  • Civil Planning
  • oil on canvas
  • 114 by 168 in. 289.6 by 426.7 cm.
  • Executed in 2004.


LFL Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by David Teiger in December 2004


New York, LFL Gallery, Panic, November 11 - December 11, 2004
Waltham, Massachusetts, The Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University, Dana Schutz: Paintings 2002 - 2005, January - April 2006, pp. 60-61, illustrated in color, pp. 89-90 (text)
Purchase, New York, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York; Miami, Miami Art Museum; and Denver, Denver Art Museum, Dana Schutz: If the Face Had Wheels, September 2011 - January 2012, pp. 40-41, illustrated in color


Roberta Smith, "Dismemberment as Motif in a Study of Mayhem," The New York Times, December 6, 2004 (text) 
Jan Avgikos, "Monster Mash," Parkett, 2005, pp. 42-43, illustrated in color, p. 41 (text) 
Matt Wolf, "Dana Schutz at LFL Gallery," Flash Art, January/February 2005, p. 116 (text)
Eleanor Heartney, "Dana Schutz at Zach Feuer (LFL)," Art in America, June/July 2005, p. 178, illustrated in color and p. 177 (text)
Eleanor Heartney, Helaine Posner, Nancy Princenthal, and Sue Scott, After the Revolution: Women Who Transformed Contemporary Art, New York, 2007, pp. 280-281, illustrated in color, p. 282 (text)
Steven Stern, "Image Search," Frieze, April 2007, pp. 138-139, illustrated in color, p. 140 (text)
Jonathan Safran Foer and Barry Schwabsky, Dana Schutz, New York, 2010, pp. 72-73, illustrated in color
David Salle, "Dana Schutz, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York," Artforum International, December 2011, pp. 247 (text)
Jonna Semeiks, "The Art of Dana Schutz," Confrontation 111, Spring 2012, pp. 110-125
Carlos Suarez de Jesus, "Dana Schutz's MAM Show: Politics Turned Upside Down," Miami New Times, January 26, 2012, illustrated
Exh. Cat., Hannover, kestnergesellschaft, Dana Schutz: Demo, 2014, pp. 16 and 20 (text)

Catalogue Note

Breathtaking in scale and ambitious in execution, Dana Schutz’s Civil Planning is a painterly tour-de-force, wrapping the viewer in a bizarre and enthralling realm in which broad strokes of sumptuous paint and saturated, Fauvist hues playfully mask the darker absurdities that play out in this dystopian panorama. Executed in 2006, Civil Planning is undeniably a masterwork by the New York based artist Dana Schutz. Within the densely layered compositional narrative, two young women sit under a grouping of trees, peacefully building what appears to be a rock tower and blissfully unaware of the inexplicably bizarre and grotesque oddities that surround and enclose them. Indeed, a closer look reveals that far from the bucolic haven that one might imagine, the forest is littered with dismembered body parts and other debris, and populated by orange and purple monsters that hover nearby, partially concealed by the dense foliage. Speaking to Civil Planning, Schutz explains: “In the woods you feel like it’s a space of play where things can be rebuilt or made…[The woods] are a space where you can have a kind of continuum of abstraction and representation.” (David Salle, "Dana Schutz," Artforum 50, December 2011, p. 247) Within this ravaged pictorial space, cascades of fractured shapes and planes interrupt the familiarity of figuration and objectivity, creating an abstract architectonic expanse. Caught between pleasure and catastrophe, themes of dismemberment, self-mutilation, and cannibalism subvert the idyllic tranquility of the landscape, culminating in a complicated, multilayered composition that is at once beautiful and deeply unsettling. Interweaving themes of construction and destruction, Schutz offers a psychologically complex and enigmatic realm with unmistakable political undertones. Civil Planning was notably a highlight of Schutz’s first 10-year survey Dana Schutz: If the Face Had Wheels, which travelled to the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York; the Denver Art Museum; and the Miami Art Museum between September 2011 and January 2012. Schutz’s paintings are held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas; and Tel Aviv Museum; Israel, among many others. Interweaving the opposing forces and themes of construction and destruction, possibility and impossibility, abstraction and figuration, Schutz mines both the history of art and her visionary imagination to create a modern-day fresco that collapses time, sound, and space within the two-dimensional picture plane. Commenting on the importance of Civil Planning within Schutz’s oeuvre and the astonishing grandeur of the present work, artist and critic David Salle writes: “[Civil Planning] balances the grandiosity of its conception (dystopian future? Femdom utopia?) with a lot of cleanly depicted local detail, like the garden spade painted at the bottom edge of the canvas. The composition of this very large picture has the complexity and control of classic abstraction – looking at it, I found myself thinking about Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles: Number 11, 1952 – and the alternation of top-to-bottom, full-arm gestural forms with tiny notational marks that pull the eye back into deep illusionistic space feels unforced, something done for sheer pleasure, the sense of wonder that paint can embody.” (David Salle, "Dana Schutz," Artforum 50, December 2011, p. 247)