Realist master exhibit to open at Butler

Staff report


“Legends,” an exhibition of life-size paintings by super-realist artist Peter Maier, will open Sunday at the Butler Institute of American Art, 524 Wick Ave., and run through Nov. 18.

Maier will attend an opening reception from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the museum and the reception is free.

Louis A. Zona, director and chief curator of the museum, describes “Legends” as “a powerful exhibit in both subject and execution, that makes us realize that Maier is a modern-day Leonardo who blends skill with technical innovation. The art that he has produced, as seen in this remarkable exhibition portraying rock stars and icons, will long be honored and enjoyed.”

Maier has reinvented the genre of American Realist art with his skill and innovation in using modern and industrialo pigments.

The new exhibition of his recent work includes super-real depictions of legends of American culture, including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Andy Warhol, among others.

Also included in the exhibition is an impressive triptych of Oscar Schindler, Steven Spielberg and Elie Wiesel.

A full-color catalog will accompany the exhibition and will be available through the museum store.

Two monumental works by Maier were acquired by the Butler in 2014 and have become eye-catching pieces of the museum’s galleries.

“Horse-Power (Ben),” a 9-foot by 111/2 foot masterwork, is a portrait of a Budweiser Clydesdale, painted with automotive paint on a fabricated black aluminum panel. It was completed in 2011 and first exhibited at the Butler in September of 2013.

“Madison Avenue at Speed” is on view in the Butler’s Donnell Sports Gallery and depicts NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon’s racing car in its actual size.

Maier was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1945, and is a graduate of Pratt Institute. He was hired as an automotive designer by General Motors before he graduated.

Upon his return from his 1967-69 stint in the Vietnam war, Maier began a career as an automobile designer and rose to senior designer for the Cadillac, Pontiac and Chevrolet divisions.

He left GM in 1980 to pursue art, and quietly revolutionized American Realism with his ground breaking technique.

The Butler is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

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