Thomas Schütte (b. 1954, Oldenburg, Germany) works across mediums––sculpture, printmaking, drawing, architecture, installation and watercolor––to explore cultural memory and the human desire for shelter. His first works were in scenography and architectural proposals, influenced by minimalism, theater and music. Over the decades he has developed this focus on the built environment, including several free-standing pavilions, to embrace the potential of public scale and canonical figurative sculpture. His human and human-like figures range from tender portraits to fantastical beasts, towering abstractions of humanoid form to substantial busts of individuals that register variously as renown, forgotten, and anonymous. Using a range of classical sculpture materials, bronze, ceramic, and Murano glass among them, his figures take on archetypal qualities, capturing a fragile line between individual likeness and commonality. In this, Schütte’s oeuvre offers a substantial speculation on the fraught and unsettling power of all monuments and memorials.
Schütte lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany. In fall 2024, the artist will have a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Among his numerous solo exhibitions are the De Pont Museum, Tilburg, Netherlands (2023); Georg Kolbe Museum, Berlin (2022–2021); Krefeld Pavilion, Germany (2020); Hetjens – Deutsches Keramikmuseum, Düsseldorf (2020); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Germany (2019); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2016); Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2013); and Dia Center for the Arts (1999). His work has been included in group exhibitions including at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, Germany (2022); Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2018); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2011); New Museum, New York (2011) Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain (2010); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2007); and Documenta X (1997). Schütte’s work is in numerous collections around the world, including at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Tate, London; Dallas Museum of Art; Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.