Ryan McGinness

Galerie Amsterdam


"McGinness has mastered and integrated a seemingly infinite variety of visual languages, producing works that inhabit the ever-blurred border between high art and popular illustration." - Art Forum
"In the past decade, McGinness has become an art star, thanks to his Warholian mix of pop iconography and silk-screening." - New York Times 

"☆☆☆☆" - NRC Handelsblad

In April Ryan McGinness is taking over Amsterdam. With two shows in two different galleries, a book launch and interventions in the public space it will be hard to miss out on the colorful work of this New York based artist. With a background in graphic design McGinness is mostly known for the symbols he creates that result in paintings, monoprints and installations.

Our gallery hosts from April 5th untill May 10th the welcoming exhibition Everything Is Everywhere and simultaneously gallery VOUS ETES ICI hosts from April 4th untill May 10th a farewell exhibition Art History Is Not Linear (Boijmans).

Ryan McGinness (USA, 1972) has always been interested in logos and symbols on objects and products. From an early age on he noticed what these symbols could do and how the system of branding functioned, which ultimately led him to studying graphic design. The basis of McGinness’ work is hand drawing derived from everyday (consumer) society. These hand drawings ultimately result in homogeneous symbols and icons that are digitalized and have therefore the possibility to be reproduced and replicated infinitely onto the panel, wall or any other medium. In this way McGinness creates a world that consists of its own vocabulary of symbols, all juxtaposed next to each other. These symbols together do not have a clear narrative, giving the viewer the possibility of multiple subjective interpretations. Coming from a generation of artists who were influenced by typography, graffiti, pop and commercialism, McGinness’ work consistently surprises the viewer with their colorful arabesques and baroque beauty, oozing with their own personal language.

The exhibition Everything Is Everywhere is self-reflexive and will show the many different artistic disciplines McGinness uses to create his universe of symbols and signs. Next to paintings, silkscreens, and monoprints, the exhibition will show fluorescent installations with (wall) paintings, vinyl and black light. The result is a diverse and exciting exhibition that not only shows the end result, but will also reveal the unique process of how these works are created.


Press opening: Friday April 4th 13:00 – 15:00
OPENING: Saturday April 5th 16:00 – 19:00 
Sunday April 6th the gallery is open between 12:00-18:00




ABOUT Ryan McGinness

“I’m trying to communicate complex and poetic concepts with a cold, graphic, and authoritative visual vocabulary. I concentrate on shape, line, color, and composition to communicate within simplified picture planes. As such, the work resides somewhere between abstraction and representation.

At the essence of our being is the need to know and the need to understand. I am interested in our need to read into and interpret—to make sense of chaos and give meaning to seemingly abstract forms. This interpretation involves an egocentric faith in the fact that there must be a meaning for us to understand. We surrender our logic to the belief that answers do indeed exist, and so, by default, we invent them. With my work, interpretations are not absolute, but guided, to allow for multiple reads. This allows the viewer to bring to the work his own history, memories, and knowledge to find a personalized meaning.”
— Ryan McGinness, 2005

Ryan McGinness’s work consists of an amalgam of icons and symbols. Drawing from his background in the design industry, Ryan McGinness’s work resolves the clinical graphic aesthetics of media as vast, contemplative fields of intimate meditation. It incorporates strong social commentary on iconography, language, and historical and contemporary symbolism. His graphic drawings and personal iconography are replicated, recontextualized, and materialized infinitely throughout his densely layered paintings.

Born and raised in the surf and skate culture of Virginia Beach, Virginia, McGinness moved on to study at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania as an Andrew Carnegie Scholar. During college, he worked at the Andy Warhol Museum as a curatorial assistant, which inevitably influenced his proclivity toward pop and graphic aestheticism. Known for his original extensive vocabulary of graphic drawings that use the visual language of public signage, corporate logos, and contemporary iconography, McGinness creates paintings, sculptures, and environments and fabricate the iconography of contemporary experience as spiritual and timeless.

McGinness’s work can be found in such art institutions as The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Cincinnati Art Museum, and private and corporation collections including the Neuberger Berman Collection, the Schwab Family Collection, and the Charles Saatchi Collection.