Scott Covert

Composition #2 Nikita Khrushchev meets the Rosenbergs, 1996–2010

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A unique painting by Scott Covert


205 x 197 cm


Oil Wax Pastel and Acrylic on Muslin

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About The Artwork

For nearly forty years, Covert’s practice has largely evolved around his long-standing Monument and Lifetime Drawing series. These works on canvas and paper are composed of carefully rendered rubbings of gravestones in chalk, oil stick or charcoal, with the artist often undertaking cross-country, sometimes decades-long road trips to seek out specific subjects. In 1985, Covert made the first of these works, The Dead Supreme, as a homage to Florence Ballard (1943–76), a founding member of the Motown act The Supremes. He has since created thousands of rubbings, cumulatively forming an idiosyncratic pantheon of public figures, Old Hollywood stars, tycoons, politicians, mystics, musicians, artists, sirens, queer icons and underground performers. This work is typical of Covert’s large-scale canvas and trace journeys to multiple graves where he layers of names build towards gestural colour fields that knowingly engage with the history of 20th Century American abstraction alongside Pop Art sensibilities. Most distinctly, Covert’s works measure distance and duration, recording bicoastal trips from California to upstate New York, Mississippi and Michigan, as well as time in South America, Europe and Russia. This work includes the graves of Nikita Khrushchev, the former premier of the Soviet Union and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were accused of spying for the Soviet Union and subsequently executed in 1953. The work includes several luminaries, including Donna Summer, Ava Gardner, Edgar Allan Poe, John Cassavetes, Ella Fitzgerald, Mies Van Der Rohe, Louise Nevelson and James Dean.

About Scott Covert