To Dream, to Collect


Joe Amrhein

1953 United States

3 Works exhibited

Represented by


  • About the Artist
  • Curriculum Vitae

Joe Amrhein, American, b. 1953 in Sacramento, CA. Lives and works in New York City. The work of Joe Amrhein is a combination of different disciplines. Physically it comes out of painting, but the context is conceptual. Using text and font icons as his primary subject, the source for much of the text in Amrhein's earlier work was appropriated from critical art writing. Amrhein sifted through these texts (primarily monthly periodicals like Artforum, Art in America, Flash Art, et cetera.) to pull out the hyperbolae; key phrases that attempt to elaborate on the where, when, and how aspect of the art they are describing. Caught in the parameters of language and writing, these phrases sometimes seem ridiculous, especially when taken out of context. Often people assume that he was making fun of the critics. Actually, but the artist finds much of the selected hyperbolae almost poetic. One of the main reasons for using this kind of text was not to isolate it or make fun of it but to bring it back into the art making process—making art from critical prose by critical pros. The notion that this language replaces the art it describes—replacing an idea or something concrete with abstract language—is very interesting to the artist, but bringing this abstract notion of language back into a visual art is even more interesting. Quoting Robert Smithson, “One must remember that writing on art replaces presence by absence by substituting the abstraction of language for the real thing.” In recent years, Amrhein has been working with translation, interpretation, and misinterpretation of language. Some of the text he composes is not intended to be read literally but becomes almost an artifact, because it is so highly fragmented. The use of sign painting influences and techniques to give this language scale and vitality comes out of my background as a sign painter. It also allows the artist to explore the issue of scale with impunity. He can develop the work to any size because of the reality of signs and their multiple use. The materials that Amrhein paints on – glass and vellum, among others – besides being traditional surfaces for signs, allow him to develop the text with a metaphorical content, including notions of density, fracturing, memory, and shadows as ephemera, among others. Joe Amrhein was born and raised in Sacramento, California and worked as an artist and sign painter in San Francisco and Los Angeles before moving to Brooklyn in 1989, where he currently works and lives. His work has been exhibited in the US and Europe in solo and group exhibitions at Yossi Milo Gallery (NY, NY), Jochen Hempel Galerie (Berlin, Germany), Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg (Wolfsburg, Germany), Leytonstone Center for Contemporary Art (Leytonstone, UK), and The Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College (Collegeville, PA). Amrhein is also founder and co-director of Pierogi Gallery.


2015 Jochen Hempel Gallerie, Berlin, Germany (March – April)

2011 Nusser & Baumgart Gallery, Munich, Germany (Two-person with Ati Maier) Another year in LA, Los Angeles, CA FireCat Projects, Chicago, Illinois. April 29-May 21

2009 Dogenhaus | Volta New York, NY. March 5–8

2008 Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Perpetual IF (information friction) Wolfsburg, Germany (September 14–November 30). Twoperson exhib. with Ati Maier)

2007 Red Dot Contemporary, West Palm Beach, FL (December 8, 2007–January 10, 2008)

2005 Another Year In LA, Abecedarian, Los Angeles, CA (September–October) Brian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, CA (February–March 19)

2003 Roebling Hall, Critical Prose, Brooklyn, NY (October–November) Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT. May 10–

2002 POST, Artifact (Quote), Los Angeles, CA Galerie Bernard Jordan, Sublime-in-Reverse, Paris, France

2001 Leytonstone Center for Contemporary Art, Leytonstone, UK Roebling Hall, Slightly Cryptic, Brooklyn, NY

1996 Earl McGrath Gallery, Strata Series, New York, NY

1989 Turske & Turske Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland

1987 Turske & Whitney Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

1986 Ivory/Kimpton Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1985 Fiona Whitney Gallery, Los Angeles, CA



2017 ART 3 gallery, A Brief Gospel For Our Times, Brooklyn, NY ( Feb 18 – March 26)

2016 ART 3 gallery, BREAK GROUND, Brooklyn, NY (Feb 17-Mar 20)

2015 The Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, “Museum Studies,” Collegeville, PA (Jan 27-Apr 3) ODETTA, “Pay to Play,” Brooklyn, New York (with Rico Gatson, William Powhida, Rita Valley) (Jan 16 – Mar 8)

2014 Red Bull Studios, “Spaced Out: Migration to the Interior,” NY, NY. Curated by Phong Bui (Oct 10–Dec 14) ODETTA, “Joe Amrhein, Rob de Oude, Enrico Gomez, Markus Linnenbrink,” Brooklyn, NY (May 30 – June 29) Barbara Walters Gallery, Sarah Lawrence College, “Kiki Bouba,” Bronxville, NY (February 4 – March 11) Lynch Tham, “CON/TEXT,” New York, NY (January 8 – February 16)

2013 Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, “One Hundred and Forty Characters,” New York, NY (June 1 – August 2)

2009 Brian Gross Fine Art, Paper / Mylar / Vellum, San Francisco, CA (July 2–August 26) Uferhallen, The Carnival Within, Berlin, Germany. Curated by Gregory Volk and Sabine Russ (March 28–May 3) Armand Bartos Fine Art, SIGN/AGE | Fight the Power, New York, NY (March 27–April 25)

2008 Jancar Gallery, Piecemeal, Los Angeles, CA. December 6–January 3, 2009 Four-person exhibition. Curated by Mery Lynn McCorkle Parker’s Box, From Brooklyn With Love, Brooklyn, NY

2007 Lautom Contemporary, Bare Words, Oslo, Norway (Oct. 20–Nov. 25) Curated by Leif Magne Tangen Centrum Kunstlicht in de Kunst, Signal, The Netherlands (September 29, 2007–January 27, 2008) Red Dot Contemporary, Between What Is Said and What Is Not Said, West Palm Beach, FL (April–May)

2006 Deborah Colton Gallery, Word, Houston, TX. Curated by Brandon Krall. (September 16–November 4) Caren Golden Gallery, Material Abuse, New York, NY (June 29–August 4) New Art. New York: Reflections on the Human Condition, Curated by Margaret Mathews-Berenson. Traveling: Trierenberg corporate Kunsthalle, Taun, Austria (Dec. 1, 2005–Feb. 28, 2006) Red Bull Kunsthalle, Hangar 7, Salzburg, Germany (March 9–April 19, 2006)

2005 Vertex List, Superlores, Brooklyn, NY. Curated by Marcin Ramaki and Bit Editions (Dec. 17–March14, 2006) The Luggage Store, Writing Letters, San Francisco, CA. 3-person exhibition with Tauba Auerbach and Steve Powers (October 15–November 26) Dogenhaus, Triple Crown, Leipzig, Germany (3-person, with Reed Anderson and Ati Maier) (September 17–October 28) Laumeier Sculpture Park, Public Notice II; Paintings In the Landscape, St. Louis, MO. Curated by Gregory Volk and Sabine Russ (October 8, 2005–January 15, 2006) Castle Gallery, The College of New Rochelle, R3, Reading ‘Ritin ‘Ritmetic, 30 Years Later. Curated by Susan M. Canning (September 11–November 13) Julie Saul Gallery, World Play, New York, NY (June 17–August 19) Vertex List, Code Residue, Brooklyn, NY (June 11–July 3) Curated by Marcin Ramocki SAFN Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland (March 5–April 17)

2004 The Brooklyn Museum, Open House, Brooklyn, NY (April–July) The Adrich Contemporary Art Museum, The Drawn Page, Ridgefield, CT

2003 BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), Next / Next Visual Arts, Brooklyn, NY (September 30–December 21) White Box, BQE Part II, curated by Christian Viveros–Fauné, New York, NY (September 23 – Oct. 11) Adam Baumgold Gallery, Word Works, New York, NY Schroeder Romero, Summer Reading, curated by Larry Wolczac, Brooklyn, NY Hallwalls, B-List, Buffalo, NY Ronald Feldman Gallery, American Dream, curated by Ronald Feldman, New York, NY Ecole des Beaux Arts, Valence, France

2002 Joseph Helman Gallery, Overt Operation, New York, NY EXIT Art, Art 2002 SOS Save Our Senate, Benefit for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, October 29 Wythe Studio, Selection One; Made in Brooklyn, curated by Phong Bui, Brooklyn, NY Im’n’il, Brooklyn, NY Michael Himovitz Gallery, ACME; 25 Years, 25 Artists, Sacramento, CA The Work Space, Proximity, curated by Robin Hill, New York, NY

Works by Joe Amrhein

Order by


101.6 x 101.6 cm



243.8 x 68.6 cm

12000,00 €


120.7 x 188 cm

13500,00 €


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