July 24, 2019

Berthe Morisot @ Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Berthe Morisot (1841-1895)
Musée d'Orsay, Paris
Jusqu'au 22 septembre 2019

Berthe Morisot (1841-1895)
Affiche de l'exposition

Pour la première fois depuis son ouverture en 1986, le musée d’Orsay consacre une exposition à l’une des figures majeures de l’impressionnisme, Berthe Morisot (1841-1895). C'est aussi la première manifestation monographique consacrée à l’artiste par un musée national depuis la rétrospective de 1941 à l’Orangerie.

Née en 1841 dans ce que son ami Renoir qualifiait de « milieu le plus austèrement bourgeois », mais ouvert aux arts, Berthe Morisot affiche très tôt un goût de l’indépendance. Elle s’affranchit d’une pratique amateure, où la peinture est considérée comme un talent d’agrément, et affirme, à rebours des usages de son milieu, l’ambition de travailler en professionnelle. Ainsi, elle expose au Salon, manifestation officielle essentielle pour qui veut faire carrière, place des oeuvres sur le marché et, surtout décide de participer à la première exposition dite impressionniste de 1874. Elle est alors la seule femme à prendre part à cette manifestation et, l’une des rares avec Pissarro, qui restera fidèle à la stratégie de l’indépendance, c’est-à-dire au développement d’une carrière en marge des circuits officiels. Figure centrale du mouvement, elle participe à toutes les expositions du groupe, sauf celle de 1879, affaiblie par la naissance de sa fille Julie. Mariée à l’un des frères d’Edouard Manet, Eugène, Berthe Morisot travaille jusqu’à sa mort prématurée en 1895, laissant un ensemble d’un peu plus de 400 tableaux. Toute sa vie, elle a été au coeur des avant-garde artistiques et littéraires, engageant des échanges artistiques féconds avec Manet, Degas, Renoir, Monet ou Mallarmé pour ne citer que quelques noms.

Cette exposition veut marquer une nouvelle étape dans la diffusion et la connaissance de Berthe Morisot en proposant et suscitant de nouvelles approches, tout en déjouant les clichés d’une peinture « féminine » encore attachés à son oeuvre. Ainsi, le choix a été fait d’explorer une facette essentielle de sa création, les tableaux de figures et les portraits.

Dans l’édition de 1919 de son histoire des peintres impressionnistes, Théodore Duret distinguait les paysagistes et les peintres de figures. Berthe Morisot se range assurément dans cette dernière catégorie, aux côtés de Renoir, Degas ou Cassatt. Sur les 423 peintures répertoriées par le plus récent catalogue raisonné, 69,5 % sont donc consacrées à la figure, qu’il s’agisse de portraits, de scènes d’intérieur ou de plein air avec des personnages. C’est également la part de son oeuvre que l’artiste a choisi de montrer en priorité : de son vivant, on peut estimer qu’elle a exposé quatre-vingt-dix-huit tableaux de figures et portraits, contre trente-six paysages et trois natures mortes.

Pour Berthe Morisot, portraits et tableaux de figures sont autant de scènes de la vie moderne. Peindre d’après modèle lui permet en effet d’explorer plusieurs thématiques de la vie de son temps, telles que l’intimité de la vie bourgeoise de l’époque, le goût de la villégiature et des jardins, l’importance de la mode, le travail domestique féminin, tout en brouillant les frontières entre intérieur/extérieur, privé/public ou fini/non fini. Pour Morisot en effet, la peinture doit s’efforcer de « fixer quelque chose de ce qui passe ». Sujets modernes et rapidité d’exécution ont donc à voir avec la temporalité de la représentation, et l’artiste se confronte inlassablement à l’éphémère et au passage du temps. Ainsi, les dernières oeuvres de Berthe Morisot, aux accents symbolistes, caractérisées par une expressivité et une musicalité nouvelles, invitent à une méditation souvent mélancolique sur ces relations entre l’art et la vie. Souvent réduite à des scènes de la vie quotidienne, ces tableaux de figures et portraits se caractérisent au contraire par ce que la grande historienne de l’art américaine, récemment disparue, Linda Nochlin, appelait de « stimulantes ambiguïtés ». Ces « ambiguïtés », ce mystère, s’expriment tant du point de vue des modèles que des espaces mis en jeu et en scène et d’une technique audacieuse et énergique, qui vise à suggérer plutôt qu’à décrire. C’est à cette exploration qu’invitent l’exposition et le catalogue, à la fois en renouvelant le corpus et en croisant les approches.

Près de la moitié des tableaux réunis sont issus de collections particulières et certains n’ont pas été vus en France depuis plus de cent ans. Le parcours, chronologique et thématique, invite à s’interroger sur les sujets représentés (la mode, la toilette, le travail), qui traduisent en effet le statut de la femme au XIXe siècle, mais aussi sur la technique unique de Berthe Morisot (le plein air, l’intérieur, l’importance des espaces intermédiaires tels fenêtres, le fini). Ses tableaux sont une exploration de l’identité moderne que Berthe Morisot a délibérément voulu ambiguë, en équilibre fragile, à la fois paisible et intranquille, limpide et mystérieuse, mais toujours exigeante et profondément novatrice. L’exposition met ainsi en valeur les choix, la détermination sans faille d’une artiste qui affirmait dès l’âge de vingt-ans ne pouvoir obtenir son indépendance « qu’à force de persévérance et en manifestant très ouvertement l’intention de [s]’émanciper ».

Cette exposition est organisée par les musées d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie, Paris, le Musée des beaux-arts, Québec, la Fondation Barnes, Philadelphie, et le Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas.

Commissaires de l'exposition : Sylvie Patry, conservatrice générale, directrice de la conservation et des collections du musée d'Orsay. 
Nicole R. Myers, The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Senior Curator of European Art au Dallas Museum of Art.
Assistante pour la présentation au musée d’Orsay, Lucile Pierret, chargée d’études documentaires.

Berthe Morisot
Catalogue de l’exposition
Sous la direction de Sylvie Patry
Coédition Musées d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie / Flammarion
304 pages – 22,5 x 30 cm – 200 ill.
ISBN : 978-2-35433-288-4

Sommaire du catalogue de l'exposition

Berthe Morisot aujourd’hui : « ambiguïtés stimulantes »
Sylvie Patry, Conservatrice générale et directrice de la conservation et des collections du musée d’Orsay

La modernité vue de l’intérieur
Anne Higonnet, Ann Witney Olin Professor, Barnard, Columbia University

Peindre la vie moderne
« Mettre une figure en plein air »
Femmes à leur toilette
La « beauté de l’être en toilette »
Fini / non-fini : « Fixer quelque chose de ce qui passe »
Femmes au travail
Fenêtres et seuils
Un atelier à soi
Sylvie Patry, Conservatrice générale et directrice de la conservation et des collections du musée d’Orsay

Une artiste en devenir
Marianne Mathieu, Directrice scientifique du musée Marmottan Monet

Morisot et la femme moderne
Nicole R. Myers, The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Senior Curator of European Art, Dallas Museum of Art

Morisot sur le seuil
Cindy Kang, Conservatrice adjointe à la Fondation Barnes, Philadelphie

Peintre pour peintres
Bill Scott, Peintre et graveur abstrait

Annexes
Chronologie, Amalia Wojciechowski, Doctorante au Bryn Mawr College
Les carnets de Berthe Morisot, Samuel Rodary, Chercheur indépendant en histoire de l’art
Expositions tenues de son vivant et posthume, Liste des oeuvres exposées, Liste des images de comparaison, Bibliographie

MUSEE D'ORSAY
1 rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris
www.musee-orsay.fr

July 21, 2019

Mr. et Pharrell Williams @ Musée Guimet, Paris - A Call To Action

Carte blanche à Mr. et Pharrell Williams: A Call To Action
Musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet, Paris
Jusqu'au 23 septembre 2019

Mr.
© Mr. / Kaikai Kiki Co., Ltd. 
All Rights Reserved. Courtesy Perrotin

Le musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet accueille une exposition in situ créée par l’artiste japonais Mr., dont le commissariat est assuré par Pharrell Williams, artiste américain aux multiples talents. Pharrell Williams est à l’origine de ce projet avec Mr., l’un de ses artistes contemporains préférés. L’installation et les dispositifs qui y sont associés ont demandé plusieurs séances de travail à distance et à l’atelier durant cinq années de collaboration intense. Selon Pharrell Williams, « les enfants font tourner le monde et ce projet se veut un défi aux dirigeants, sommés d’agir immédiatement, pour un avenir meilleur, un avenir radieux ».

L’exposition présente des installations, des tableaux et des sculptures décalés qui invitent à la réflexion, dans le style qui a fait la renommée de Mr. Elle dépeint des enfants, certains affublés de façon symbolique d’armes, émergeant dans un monde devenu chaotique par la faute des adultes d’aujourd’hui ; des enfants prêts à faire face à l’avenir. Le travail de Mr. prône une approche positive face aux problèmes de notre époque : « Au milieu des tensions et des crises d’incertitude que nous connaissons aujourd’hui, nous devons avoir foi en l’espoir qui anime les enfants. Nous devons nous inspirer de leur optimisme. Les enfants ont le pouvoir. Avec l’art, nous amorçons un dialogue », explique Mr.

Prenant pour point de départ les problèmes sociaux, politiques, environnementaux et technologiques actuels, l’exposition est traversée par l’optimisme et le potentiel de la jeunesse. Point d’orgue de l’installation, une grande fresque réalisée par Mr. présente une armée de personnages, des enfants, clin d’oeil à la tradition du portrait classique européen. L’exposition invite les visiteurs à pénétrer dans le monde fantastique de Mr., un monde où le quotidien rencontre le surnaturel. Dans un environnement immersif composé de scènes qui pourraient être tirées de la vie quotidienne, ses tableaux et ses sculptures aux dimensions et textures variées sont autant de confrontations poétiques du statu quo, mais reflètent également l’énergie du possible.

Commissaires de l'exposition :
Sophie Makariou, Présidente du MNAAG
Pharrell Williams, Artiste

Musée national des arts asiatiques – Guimet (MNAAG)
6, place d’Iéna, 75116 Paris
www.guimet.fr

July 20, 2019

Her Ground: Women Photographing Landscape @ Flowers Gallery, London - Lisa Barnard, Maja Daniels, Rikke Flensberg, Scarlett Hooft Graafland, Mona Kuhn, Kristin Man, Anastasia Samoylova, Corinne Silva, Dafna Talmor

Her Ground: Women Photographing Landscape - Lisa Barnard, Maja Daniels, Rikke Flensberg, Scarlett Hooft Graafland, Mona Kuhn, Kristin Man, Anastasia Samoylova, Corinne Silva, Dafna Talmor
Flowers Gallery, London
Through 31 August, 2019

Lisa Barnard
LISA BARNARD 
Santa Filomena, Andes, Peru, 2016
Orotone made with Fairtrade Gold leaf from SOTRAMI
with Kozo Washi Gampi paper
© Lisa Barnard, courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Flowers Gallery presents a group exhibition of work by female photographers. Her Ground uses landscape as a thematic focus to consider relationships between genre and gender. The term landscape, a principle category in Western art, is used in relation to the visible features of an area of land, often depicting human relationships to place and the environment. This exhibition looks at the specificity of viewpoint, addressing the visibility of women’s narratives and perspectives in photographic images of the landscape.

Her Ground includes nine international contemporary artists, each approaching ideas of landscape in different ways. Their varied perspectives invite questions around how we define our landscape today and the connections to be found between landscape and cultural identity. Many works on view explore notions of power, agency and sexual politics, concerning the control, access and definition of land. Often the landscape is presented in fragmented or constructed forms, incorporating a revised visualisation of landscape through mythology, memory and the imagination.


British artist LISA BARNARD’s most recent project The Canary and the Hammer traces the history of gold, and its role in humanity’s ruthless pursuit of progress. Created in response to the financial crisis of 2008, Lisa Barnard uses gold as a prism through which globalism can be refracted, embarking on a personal journey across the world to reflect on how this ubiquitous material substance acts as a barometer of our changing times. Working across various thematic strands or chapters, connecting stories from the mania of the gold rush to the high tech industry, Lisa Barnard’s project incorporates images of the Peruvian mining landscape to explore the sexual politics of the supply chain. Lisa Barnard’s photographs show the practice of women known as pallaqueras, driven to the edges of Peruvian mines by pervading superstitions, to extract minerals from stones discarded by male peers. Lisa Barnard’s ambitious project is the subject of a new book published by MACK in September 2019.

Lisa Barnard
Lisa Barnard, The Canary and The Hammer
MACK, September 2019
Silkscreened hardcover 
200 pages, 20 x 29 cm 
ISBN 978-1-912339-33-4


MAJA DANIELS is a Swedish photographic artist whose work can be described as a multi-layered academic and artistic practice that includes photography, sociological methodology, sound, moving image and archive materials.Her most recent project Elf Dalia is a book and film project in Älvdalen, Sweden, a rural community in the far North of the country, which has one of the oldest surviving languages. The series explores the landscape and its mythologies through Daniels’ own photographs and an appropriated local archive of images amassed by a local inventor and photographer Tenn Lars Persson (1878 –1938) who was interested in astrology, alchemy and the occult. In her uncanny photographs of life in this isolated region surrounded by woods, mountains and lakes, Maja Daniels’ images evoke the mysticism and dark spirits of the past, shrouded by its history as the origin of the notorious witch trials in 1668. The book was published by MACK.

Maja Daniels
MAJA DANIELS 
Self-Portrait/Totem Study nr 02, 2018
Giclee print
© Maja Daniels, courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Maja Daniels
Maja Daniels, Elf Dalia
MACK, April 2019
OTA bound paperback with flaps 
136 pages, 22 x 29 cm
ISBN: 978-1-912339-37-2


Danish photographer RIKKE FLENSBERG’s latest series O presents a fluid world of bodies and landscapes, in which a playful approach to scale generates new relationships and interactions between humans and the environment. Fragmented body parts resemble topographical surfaces, while images of the landscape rupture to create biomorphic forms. The title of the series refers to the zero point, from which new readings and meanings can develop, combining both natural and cultural features. 

Rikke Flensberg
RIKKE FLENSBERG
Darkness is Empty Space, 2015,
Fine art print
© Rikke Flensberg, courtesy of Flowers Gallery


Dutch artist SCARLETT HOOFT GRAAFLAND has described using landscape as a stage for a performance or installation. Scarlett Hooft Graafland’s carefully choreographed, site-specific sculptural interventions and performances take place in some of the most remote corners of the earth and are made in collaboration with isolated communities in those regions. Over the past decade she has explored the salt desert of Bolivia, the desolate Canadian Arctic, the remote shores of Madagascar and Vanuatu, and recently the United Arab Emirates, generating playful interactions that reflect and critique the exchange between nature and culture. The exhibition coincides with a major solo exhibition Vanishing Traces at Fotografiska, Stockholm.

Scarlett Hooft Graafland
SCARLETT HOOFT GRAAFLAND 
Discovery, 2006
C-type print
© Scarlett Hooft Graafland, courtesy of Flowers Gallery


LA-based artist MONA KUHN uses landscape to portray the complexities of human nature. Her series She Disappeared into Complete Silence was photographed at a golden modernist structure on the edge of Joshua Tree National Park, where nature, architecture, light and a single figure merge to create a surrealist mirage in the Californian desert wilderness. Using mirroring and refraction of light, Kuhn’s experimental abstraction of the landscape reflects the atmospheric mysticism and hallucinatory visions of the desert environment’s endless horizons. Works from this series have recently been shown in an expanded context as part of fully immersive site-specific installations involving a hybrid layering of sound, image projections and shimmering mirrored surfaces. She Disappeared into Complete Silence is published by Steidl.

Mona Kuhn
MONA KUHN
AD6883, 2014
Chromogenic dye coupler print
© Mona Kuhn, courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Mona Khun
Mona Khun, She Disappeared into Complete Silence
Steidl, November 2018
104 pages, 53 images
Open-spine softcover with a gilded top edge
23.7 x 31 cm
ISBN 978-3-95829-180-5


KRISTIN MAN was born in Hong Kong, and now lives and works in Vancouver, Canada. Her Fragments of Grey Matter series was photographed over a period of two years, creating images that oscillate between concrete figuration and emotive abstraction. The publication of the series won an award of Excellence at the Tokyo Type Director’s Club Awards in 2014, and was presented at the National Museum of Singapore. A selection of work from the series was exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions in Singapore, Palm Springs and New York art fairs and at the J.P. Morgan building, New York.

Kristin Man
KRISTIN MAN
Bridge Under The Water, 2013
Photographic Print on Hahnemule paper 
© Kristin Man, courtesy of Flowers Gallery


ANASTASIA SAMOYLOVA is a Moscow-born, USA-based artist, moving between observational photography, studio practice and installation. Her series FloodZone extends a longstanding interest in the differences between natural and constructed landscapes, and the role of images in the making of collective memory and imagined geography. These photographs were made in the southern United States, in areas at risk from rising sea levels. Anastasia Samoylova evokes the precarious psychological condition of a way of life that teeters between paradise and catastrophe. FloodZone is published by Steidl in September 2019.

Anastasia Samoylova
ANASTASIA SAMOYLOVA
Façade in South Beach (Fountain), 2017 
Dye sublimation print on aluminium
© Anastasia Samoylova, courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Anastasia Samoylova
Anastasia Samoylova, FloodZone
Steidl, September 2019
136 pages, 86 images
Hardback / Clothbound 
23.1 x 27.4 cm
ISBN 978-3-95829-633-6


CORINNE SILVA is a London-based artist using photography, video works and collaboration to disrupt prevalent modes of representing the landscape. Corinne Silva understands landscape to be a complex interrelation of culture, geography, politics and botany, living beings and inanimate matter. While Silva’s work is informed by historic precedents in landscape photography, she seeks a visual language that privileges fragmentation and interrelationships rather than an all-encompassing overview, responding to place in an embodied and subjective manner to create new narrative possibilities. In Garden State, Corinne Silva considers how gardening, like mapping, is a way of allocating territory. Over three years Corinne Silva travelled across Israel/Palestine, making photographs of public and private gardens in twenty-two Israeli settlements, which she presents as contributing to the reshaping and renaming of these contested lands. Garden State was published by the Mosaic Rooms and Ffotogallery in 2016.

Corinne Silva
CORINNE SILVA
Untitled from the series Garden State, 2014
C-type print
© Corinne Silva , courtesy of Flowers Gallery

Corinne Silva
Corinne Silva, Garden State
Ffotogallery / The Mosaic Rooms, October 2016
156 pages, 53 images
Hardback, 21 x 22.5 cm
ISBN 978-1-87277-158-8


DAFNA TALMOR is a London-based artist whose practice encompasses photography, video, curation and collaborations. Her Constructed Landscapes transform colour negatives of landscapes initially taken as mere keepsakes through the act of slicing and splicing. The resulting photographs allude to an imaginary place, idealised spaces or virtual spaces that exist beyond their fractured surfaces. The act of physically merging landscapes from different parts of the world acts as a metaphor for the transitional nature of belonging in today’s globalised societies. The Constructed Landscapes blur notions of space, memory and time to create a space that defies specificity and reflects the transience of our contemporary world.

Dafna Talmor
DAFNA TALMOR
Untitled (NE-04040404-1) from the Constructed Landscapes series, 2015 
C-type handprint made from four collaged negatives
© Dafna Talmor, courtesy of Flowers Gallery


FLOWERS GALLERY
82 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DP
www.flowersgallery.com

July 19, 2019

Non-Vicious Circle @ Paula Cooper Gallery, NYC - Sam Durant, Liz Glynn, Walid Raad, Kelley Walker, Meg Webster

Sam Durant, Liz Glynn, Walid Raad, Kelley Walker, Meg Webster: Non-Vicious Circle
Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
Through August 16, 2019

“Non-Vicious Circle,” Paula Cooper Gallery’s summer show presents a selection of sculptures and installations by Sam Durant, Liz Glynn, Walid Raad, Kelley Walker, and Meg Webster. The exhibition takes its title from one of the works on view, a 2014 mobile by Sam Durant.

The works on view address the notion of recurrence, conceived as a catalyst to question the concepts of historical linearity, narrative or progression. Sam Durant’s sculptures use war-related paraphernalia (missile and bullet shells, in particular) to explore the relationship between Surrealism and World War I, as well as the echoing of the past in the present. Liz Glynn’s vibrant spiral, Eternal Return II, 2017, from her recent major exhibition at MASS MoCA, is made from contemporary materials and industrial detritus that translate theories of historical progression—often visualized as graphs or charts—into three-dimensional forms scaled to the human body. And with his “recycling sign” works, Kelley Walker alludes to the continual transformation and re-use of “raw” cultural matter.

In a separate room, illuminated by bold spotlights and casting long shadows, Walid Raad’s monumental work Section 88_Act XXXI: Views from outer to inner compartments, 2010, recreates existing museum architecture (in this case, doorways from the Metropolitan Museum of Art) in a flattened and spectral fashion, as if the very architecture of the institution were suddenly emptied of volume and substance. With this and other works from his ongoing project, Scratching on Things I Could Disavow, Walid Raad reflects on the current emergence of museums and other institutions for the arts in the Arab world – a development in many ways similar to the Gilded Age that saw the advent of the Met.

Comprised of five large glass orbs, Meg Webster’s Largest Blown Sphere, ostensibly the most devoid of historical content in the exhibition, seems aglow in a poetic glory of translucence and form. In a review for The New York Times, Roberta Smith wrote: “handsome spheres in clear handblown glass that crowd the floor here are attractive but inexplicable, although they suggest a sculptural fusion of the clear water of the falls and the massive stones.” Yet the work is rooted in the traditions of Land Art of the 1970s and influenced by Minimalist artists like Donald Judd, Carl Andre and Robert Morris. Meg Webster creates works that directly engage the body and its senses, and often act as containers for living matter. Drawing from the rigorous formal vocabulary of her predecessors, she proposes a new way for sculpture, one that invites life and accident back in.

PAULA COOPER GALLERY
524 W 26th Street, New York, NY 10001

July 18, 2019

Countersteer: Custom Motorcycles as Self-Portraits @ Richmond Art Center

Countersteer: Custom Motorcycles as Self-Portraits
Richmond Art Center
September 10 – November 22, 2019

Countersteer: Custom Motorcycles as Self-Portraits
© Richmond Art Center

The Richmond Art Center will present a unique exhibition on the aesthetic, functionality and individuality of the popular open road vehicle that has for generations symbolized personal freedom. From its humble beginnings in the late 1800s as a motorized bicycle, the motorcycle has inspired creative modifications matching its great versatility, it can be a street machine, a long-distance touring bike, a track racer, a mountain endurance machine, a drag racer and more. Creative individuals have endeavored to improve the performance and enhance aesthetic qualities of their vehicle of choice. The rider is exposed, an integral part of the machine, out in the open. But when it is still, it becomes an aesthetic object, with painted surfaces and hand-crafted parts that reflects the rider’s intended self-portrait of its maker.

“Motorcycles have captivated imaginations and inspired creativity for generations,” says Phillip Linhares, guest co-curator of the exhibition. “This is not a motorcycle show, but an exhibition of personal and cultural expression, combining art and engineering in the evolution of an aesthetic object.”

Countersteer is an exhibition of works by artists and engineers making motorcycles their own. The exhibition will include 12 custom and classic motorcycles ranging from a Harley-Davidson’s first V-Twin, to a contemporary costumed designed motorcycle to a ridable Part-Bin Special assembled by a team of artists, just to see if they could. A glimpse into motorcycle culture and spirit will include paintings and sculptures by artists, as well as personal paraphernalia, and stories of individuals inspired by their own riding exploits. Each machine in the collection represents the vision of an individual of out riding, out maneuvering or just out shining the field of stock motorcycles.

“The exhibition reveals a strong do-it-yourself ethos that drives people to turn two-wheel conveyances into movable sculpture” said Danny Aarons, co-curator. “It offers a view into a hugely diverse sub-culture and asks Why customize a bike? Can we recognize a motorcycle as Art”?

“Countersteering” is term used by motorcyclists to initiate a lean of the body turn toward a given direction and momentarily steering counter to the desired direction.

Countersteer: Custom Motorcycles as Self-Portraits, is guest co-curated by Phil Linares, retired Chief Curator of the Oakland Museum and Danny Aarons, motorcycle enthusiast.

RICHMOND ART CENTER
2540 Barrett Avenue, Richmond, California 94804
richmondartcenter.org

July 13, 2019

Gail Albert Halaban @ Edwynn Houk Gallery, NYC - Out My Window

Gail Albert Halaban: Out My Window
Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York
Through 9 August 2019

Edwynn Houk Gallery presents a solo exhibition of recent work by GAIL ALBERT HALABAN, from her ongoing series Out My Window. The show is composed of eleven photographs, selected primarily from her 2018 George Eastman Museum exhibition, many of which have never before been presented by the gallery. It features an array of international destinations from Paris to Istanbul, as well as several cities illustrated in Gail Albert Halaban’s newly published book, Italian Views, including Venice, Rome, and Naples.

Gail Albert Halaban
Gail Albert Halaban: Italian Views
Photographs and vignettes by Gail Albert Halaban
Essay by Francine Prose
Aperture, 2019
11 ½ x 14 in. (28.6 x 35.6 cm)
128 pages, 55 four-color images
Clothbound

Out My Window originated in 2007 after Gail Albert Halaban moved to Manhattan. Fascinated by the interpersonal dynamics of urban dwelling and the unspoken social contract between neighbors who observe each other’s domestic lives through their apartment windows yet appear to be strangers in public, she anticipated experiencing the quintessential paradox of life in a densely populated metropolis- that of feeling lonely while constantly surrounded by people.

In fact, she discovered that windows could function not only as barriers, but also as bridges connecting neighbors. She began collaborating with residents across New York City, directing them within the frames of their windows as if they were actors on a stage. Although these images evoke a sense of voyeurism and the transgression of peering into the private lives of others, it was critical to the artist that all of her subjects were willing to take part. Rather than shooting from street level, she photographed the view from the window of one participant into that of another, thus recreating the intimate but removed experience of city living in her photographs, as well as introducing two neighbors in the process.

This initial endeavor sparked what has become a twelve-year project spanning cities across the globe. Gail Albert Halaban has allowed the series to evolve organically through the relationships she develops with her subjects, and the resulting bodies of work are uniquely shaped by the particular characteristics and customs of each city and its inhabitants. Each one is a story in its own right, illustrating the nuanced relationship between that city’s inhabitants and its architecture, as well as a chapter in the artist’s continuous exploration of the universal question of what it means to be part of a community.

Over the course of creating Out My Window, Gail Albert Halaban has become increasingly conscious of the importance of community building in her practice; it has become a specific intention, rather than a byproduct of her art making. The past decade has seen rapid globalization and digitalization, amplifying questions of social isolation in modern life. Gail Albert Halaban’s latest book, Italian Views, is her first to feature text from her subjects, describing their perceptions of the neighbors they have been quietly studying from afar, often for years, and the elaborate narratives they’re woven in their minds from clues gathered from their windows. By engaging in Gail Albert Halaban’s collaborative process in which neighbors meet and work together, these imagined relationships grow into real human connectivity.

GAIL ALBERT HALABAN holds an MFA in Photography from Yale University. Three monographs of her work have been published to date: Out My Window (PowerHouse, 2012), Paris Views (Aperture, 2014) and Italian Views (Aperture, 2019). Gail Albert Halaban’s photographs are in the collections of the George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO; Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester, MA; and Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS. The artist currently lives and works in New York City.

EDWYNN HOUK GALLERY
745 Fifth Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10151
www.houkgallery.com

Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art @ Baltimore Museum of Art

Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art
Baltimore Museum of Art
September 29, 2019 - January 19, 2020

The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) presents Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art, an exhibition that captures the significant contributions that black artists have made to the development of abstraction from the 1940s to the present. Generations explores the multifaceted power of abstract art as experimental practice, personal exploration, and profound political choice for decades of black artists. The exhibition features nearly 80 paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media installations by such notable artists as Kevin Beasley, Mark Bradford, Jennie C. Jones, Norman Lewis, Lorna Simpson, Alma W. Thomas, and Sam Gilliam. Generations is curated by Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director, and Katy Siegel, BMA Senior Research & Programming Curator and Thaw Chair of Modern Art at Stony Brook University. The exhibition is co-organized by the BMA and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Drawing on the extensive collection of Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida, which is recognized for its unparalleled holdings of works by historic and contemporary black artists, Generations builds on the previously touring Solidary & Solitary exhibition, doubling the show’s scale and scope in the BMA’s expansive galleries with new works from The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, as well as select objects from the museum’s contemporary collection. The exhibition highlights unexpected resonances and important distinctions between artists, across time and geographic contexts. In addition to solo presentations of work by Norman Lewis, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and Charles Gaines, Generations provides visitors with in-depth explorations of the work of Alma W. Thomas and Jack Whitten, as well as a broader selection of “duets” that juxtapose works between such artists as Gary Simmons and Lorna Simpson, Melvin Edwards and Leonardo Drew, and Kevin Beasley and Shinique Smith. These pairings are supported by expanded thematic groupings that emphasize the origins and futures of the genre, featuring landmark work by Frank Bowling, Al Loving, Julie Mehretu, Joe Overstreet, and Virginia Jaramillo.

“We find ourselves today in an important moment of cultural reckoning—one in which it is imperative for institutions like the BMA to re-examine the histories of art and to tell a truer and more multidimensional story. In working with the visionary Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, as well as the BMA’s own growing collection, we have an extraordinary opportunity to expand perceptions of what contemporary art was and can be, and celebrate the spectrum and brilliance of artists who have redefined and given depth to abstract art into the present day,” said Siegel. “With this expanded version of the exhibition, we are excited to dive deeper into the material dialogues within and across the work of the featured artists, introducing new audiences to their visions and practices.”

The opening of Generations follows the BMA’s re-conceptualization of its contemporary galleries, in a presentation titled Every Day: Selections from the Collection. The reinstallation highlights major works (and several new acquisitions) by such visionary artists as Howardena Pindell, David Hammons, Kara Walker, Nari Ward, and Jack Whitten, locating black artistic achievement at the center of a thematic overview of modern and contemporary art. This initiative underscores the BMA’s commitment to collecting and presenting the work of artists that have typically been underrepresented in major institutions and exhibitions.

“The presentation of Generations is part of a broader vision to reshape the idea of the museum—who it belongs to and whom it represents. This effort occurs across our special exhibitions, collecting, and public programs. In this way, we can recognize historical shortcomings, and provide our audiences with a richer, more vibrant, and dynamic picture of art—one that speaks to different communities, perspectives, and realities,” said Christopher Bedford, BMA Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “We are very much looking forward to our upcoming exhibitions and to the important conversations they may spur.”

The companion publication, Four Generations: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art, is also being expanded and reprinted by Gregory R. Miller & Co. It is edited by Courtney J. Martin, Director of the Yale Center for British Art, and features new research and writing from curators at some of the world’s leading institutions.

Generations: A History of Black Abstract Art is presented by The Helis Foundation and organized by The Baltimore Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Contributing sponsorship is provided by The Lambent Foundation and The Holt Family Foundation. The presentation in Baltimore is generously sponsored by The Alvin and Fanny B. Thalheimer Exhibition Endowment Fund, Ford Foundation, Bank of America, and CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.

BALTIMORE MUSEUM OF ART
10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218
www.artbma.org

July 12, 2019

Sara VanDerBeek @ Altman Siegel, San Francisco - Roman Women

Sara VanDerBeek: Roman Women
Altman Siegel, San Francisco
Through August 30, 2019

Altman Siegel presents Roman Women, Sara VanDerBeek’s third solo exhibition with the gallery.

Beginning in 2012 with a residency at the Fondazione Memmo in Rome, Sara VanDerBeek has given particular focus to Roman statuary as her photographic subject and starting point. Over the past seven years, Sara VanDerBeek has documented objects of antiquity in museum collections across the United States and Europe, resulting in a substantial archive of images focused on the classical female form. The selection from this series presented here invites the viewer to contemplate the changing means and meaning of image circulation over time, and the shifting discourse in which those images are embedded.

Though the ubiquity of white marble as the materiality of both classical and neoclassical sculpture has produced an entrenched cultural association that tells us classical equals colorless, recent art historical research suggests that much of the Roman statuary originally unearthed during the Renaissance was once richly colored and embellished. Sara VanDerBeek references and conjures this largely lost polychromy with the vibrant coloration of her photographs. Saturated hues of fuchsia, violet, peach, lavender, lapis, sky blue, and yellow refer back to the proto-digital creation of these sculptural forms, while simultaneously referencing the present through the distinctly digital, synthetic quality of the colors. This multiplicity of meaning invites a meditation on the ways that images change both materially and culturally over time.

Yet, physical and theoretical change cannot occur without the initial and ongoing circulation of visual forms. Throughout the exhibition, doubling and repetition refer to this process. The speed and ease with which images and ideas spread in the digital age is indebted and inherent to the reproducibility of photography. However, alternative means and media were used prior to the development of the medium. For instance, Roman statues of the sort depicted in Sara VanDerBeek’s images were themselves reproductions of Greek statues made 500 years earlier. These copies were then reproduced en masse and used by the Roman state as a form of visual propaganda that was disseminated across the Roman empire, depicting and defining what we have come to understand as the ideal classical female form. In pointing to this process, Sara VanDerBeek’s work collapses the distinction between sculpture and photography, understanding each as potentially reproducible, political and diffuse.

The work also highlights the symbolism that has both encumbered and elevated the female form since its earliest iterations. Women’s bodies have never only been their own. Formed within and of a matrix of cultural meanings that defines them as an ideal, a site of ideation, and a mirror for society at large, female figures are innately fragmentary. In the history of art, they have most often been defined as muse rather than maker, a reality that Sara VanDerBeek has become increasingly interested in countering as she has photographed numerous museum collections across the globe. The photographs and sculptures in Roman Women acknowledge and push against these precedents by proposing a new visual language indebted to a lineage of female practitioners.

Working with the frontality of the original Roman objects, Sara VanDerBeek’s sculptures propose new perspectives by superimposing images onto rectilinear and round forms, merging the flat with the three-dimensional. The resultant sculptures provide only partial views of the original, as the images are fragmented and broken up by the shape underneath. The works point to the particular view provided by any given photograph, the impossibility of knowing the truth of the original object or scene depicted, and the multiple and splintered meanings that are often projected onto the female form.

Sara VanDerBeek (born 1976) lives and works in New York. VanDerBeek’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Fondazione Memmo, Rome; Metro Pictures, New York; and the Approach, London. Recent group exhibitions include the Zabludowicz Collection, London; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco; Sprüth Magers, Berlin; Gagosian Gallery, Rome; Kunsthalle Berlin; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

ALTMAN SIEGEL
1150 25th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
www.altmansiegel.com

Paris 1900 @ Portland Art Museum

Paris 1900: City of Entertainment
Portland Art Museum
Through September 8, 2019

The Portland Art Museum presents Paris 1900: City of Entertainment, a sumptuous look back at the City of Light during the prosperous years spanning the turn of the century. 

Travel back to Paris at the dawn of the 20th century and experience the splendor of the sparkling French capital as it hosted the world for the International Exposition of 1900. This was the height of the Belle Époque, a period of peace and prosperity in France when fine art, fashion, and entertainment flourished as never before. Fifty-one million visitors from around the world attended the Exposition and flooded the city, where they enjoyed its posh restaurants, opulent opera house, artistic cabarets, and well-tended parks. For the French, it was an opportunity to show off their prowess in the arts, sciences, and new technology, and to highlight what made Paris unique from rivals London and Berlin.

Inspired by an exhibition originally presented in 2014 at the Petit Palais in Paris, Paris 1900 re-creates the look and feel of the era through more than 250 paintings, decorative art objects, textiles, posters, photographs, jewelry, sculpture, and film, and will plunge visitors into the atmosphere of the Belle Époque. These objects, drawn from several City of Paris museums—including the Petit Palais, the Musée Carnavalet, the Palais Galliera, the Musée Bourdelle, and the Maison de Victor Hugo—form a portrait of a vibrant and swiftly changing city.

The splendor of Paris unfolds in six sections or vignettes. The visitor enters “Paris: The World’s Showcase,” which highlights the International Exposition of 1900 and the sweeping architectural and technological changes made to the cityscape to welcome the new century. As Paris was also the self-proclaimed “Capital of the Arts,” the second section of the exhibition examines the vast range of styles and talent present in the city in the form of sculpture, painting, and prints. Viewers will delight to work by well-known artists such as Camille Pissarro and Berthe Morisot and will discover compelling paintings and sculpture by lesser-known masters of the time.

The seductive Art Nouveau style, so popular in the decorative arts, is the focus of the next vignette, which features furniture, jewelry, pottery, posters, ironwork, and fans that exhibit the whiplash curve and natural inspiration of this international style.

French fashion and style were at the heart of Parisian pride, and the next section examines the cult and myth of la Parisienne—the ideal French woman—through textiles, paintings, prints, and decorative arts. Strolling through the city was considered one of the great Parisian pastimes and is explored in “A Walk in Paris.” New modes of transport, such as the omnibus and the newly invented bicycle, competed with horses, pedestrians, and automobiles as the 20th century unfolded. The final vignette, “Paris by Night,” features a selection of the vast amusements that made Paris the center of European entertainment, from lowly cabarets to the most refined theaters and restaurants. The exhibition concludes with a look at a great French invention of the Belle Époque: the moving picture. Clips from early film animate the exhibition and allow the viewer to rediscover the dawn of cinema. 

Visitors can learn more about the exhibition in the companion publication Paris 1900: City of Entertainment by Cécilie Champy-Vinas, Curator of Sculpture, Petit Palais Museum of Fine Arts, Paris.

Exhibition organized by the Petit Palais Museum of Fine Arts, with exceptional loans from the Musée Carnavalet – History of Paris and the Palais Galliera Museum of Fashion, Paris Musées. Curated in Portland by Mary Weaver Chapin, Ph.D., Curator of Prints and Drawings.

PORTLAND ART MUSEUM
1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR 97205
portlandartmuseum.org

July 11, 2019

Singing the Body Electric @ David Zwirner, Hong Kong - aaajiao, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Jian Yi-Hong, Wolfgang Tillmans, Wei Jia, Lisa Yuskavage

Singing the Body Electric: aaajiao, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Jian Yi-Hong, Wolfgang Tillmans, Wei Jia, Lisa Yuskavage
David Zwirner, Hong Kong
July 11 — August 10, 2019

David Zwirner presents Singing the Body Electric, a group exhibition curated by Leo Xu at the gallery’s Hong Kong location, featuring work by aaajiao, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Jian Yi-Hong, Wolfgang Tillmans, Wei Jia, and Lisa Yuskavage. The show’s title is derived from Walt Whitman’s ecstatic and politically nuanced poem “I Sing the Body Electric” from Leaves of Grass (1855). The exhibition includes work from across various media that likewise celebrates and complicates themes of the body and desire, while exploring physicality and identity in the context of the synthetic and alienating nature of a highly digitized world.

Known for his nearly two decades’ body of work portraying his generation through images of sentimentality and solitude, Wei Jia (Mainland Chinese, b. 1975) has lately embarked on a series of paintings that is based on the edenic and provocative photographs of nude male swimmers from the 1880s by the American realist artist Thomas Eakins (1844–1916). On view is a selection of new paintings, whose loose gestural canvases and lavish brushstrokes depict groups of bathing figures in bucolic landscapes that echo with Chongqing, China’s famous river town, where the artist has spent most of his career. The lush surfaces translate Eakins’s classical Greek ideals of physical beauty, vigor, and camaraderie into imagery that conveys, with heightened tension, sentiments underlying contemporary subjectivity and individual experience. 

Also set by the water but in a fantastical landscape, Pond (2007) by Lisa Yuskavage (American, b. 1962) depicts two naked female figures in an embrace amidst the foliage around a pond—the two figures elaborately intertwined to the point where they almost appear to share a single body. The work is a prime example of the artist’s psychologically charged “symbiotic portraits” begun in the mid-2000s. The simultaneously bold, eccentric, exhibitionist, and introspective characters who populate Lisa Yuskavage’s canvases assume dual roles of subject and object, complicating the position of viewership. Lisa Yuskavage’s motifs create an underlying dichotomy between high and low and, by implication, sacred and profane, harmony and dissonance.

Photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia (American, b. 1951) is known for images that are at once documentary and theatrically staged, operating in the interstices of fact and fiction. On view will be two portraits from his iconic Hustlersseries (1990–1992). Photographed almost thirty years ago in Los Angeles in the vicinity of Santa Monica Boulevard, young male prostitutes posed within motel rooms, on street corners and parking lots, and in the backseat of cars, among other places. The title of each photograph indicates the name, age, and place of birth of the subjects, as well as the fee they would charge for their sexual services. As Philip-Lorca diCorcia notes, “These were men who portrayed themselves as a product in a city that sells fantasy, violence, and sex. As if they were one more thing to be consumed … Photography is an exchange. The original title for the project was Trade, as in the street word for prostitutes, as the exchange of services for money, as the role reversal which voyeurs indulge and photography provides, as the desire to be anybody but you.” Alongside these works will be a selection of the artist’s Lucky 13 series (2003–2004). Taken in various locations, including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and New York, the series is made up of atmospheric, staged portraits of pole dancers at work. The women are referred to in the works’ titles by their stage names, and appear immortalized and monumentalized in these highly charged compositions.

The body is constantly reinvented and redefined by clothing. As Wolfgang Tillmans (German, b. 1968) has commented, clothes “are hugging our skin and in the process of that they carry an imprint of the body … they become sculptural objects.”1 Beginning in 1989, his ongoing Faltenwurf series is named for a German art-historical term that denotes classical drapery. Bridging several genres, Wolfgang Tillmans himself refers to these works as suggestive of how figuration and abstraction coexist within his oeuvre at large, as well as the tripartite relationship of photography to surface, three-dimensionality, and sculpture. As the artist notes, “In this sense the Faltenwurf pictures are at the same time abstract pictures, and about the social surface that we carry around with us in our clothes.”2

A room at the gallery features small-format ink paintings mounted on cream-colored paper and in traditional frames, providing a peek into the quotidian life of a young, gay man. Following the tradition of literati painting in the post-Song dynasties and its subversive stance, the artist Jian Yi-Hong (Taiwanese, b. 1988) has developed an idiosyncratic style of deliberately simplistic ink lines and ink wash, wittily pairing image and text. Homoerotic and humorous, his visual narratives present a millennial’s highly wired everyday life through fantasies of an ancient past, suffused with tenderness.

Also on view are works by media artist, blogger, activist, and programmer aaajiao (Mainland Chinese, b. 1984), including the single-channel video I hate people but I love you (2017), which features two cyborgs—one that takes the form of an animated female android, the other disguised as a floating Möbius strip made of moving pop-up windows. The video traces a deadpan conversation between them and projects a dystopian, sci-fi image of love in the age of social media digital technology, in which everyone assumes multiple roles as users within different accounts. Also on view is Avatar (2017), a pixelated GIF animation of a teenage girl whose hair is being blown by a gust of wind, shown on an obsolete, palm-sized digital screen. A seemingly random image reminiscent of any possible profile picture on an app or website, Avatar suggests that the multiplicity of online identities may in the end be reduced to homogeneity. 

A focused presentation of works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres (American, 1957–1996) occupies the last room of the show. One of the most significant artists to emerge in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Felix Gonzalez-Torres employed simple, everyday materials in his work, including stacks of paper, puzzles, candy, strings of lights, and beads. His evocative work purposefully references the language of Minimalism and Conceptualism while embedding the work with content that is at once specific and mutable, rigorous and generous, poetic and political. The diaphanous blue curtains that comprise “Untitled” (Loverboy) (1989) cover the expanse of the windows across the gallery’s fifth floor, casting a blue glow within the room. The fabric extends from above the window, down to the ground, pooling gently on the floor. At once melancholic and sensual, the work is poised at the threshold between inside and outside, suggesting the personal and the public, and inviting further contemplation. The room also features “Untitled” (March 5th) #2 (1991)—two unadorned lightbulbs suspended from intertwined cords, the first work by the artist to employ these materials. Twinned and paired objects—including mirrors, clocks, photographs, and lightbulbs, among others—recur as one of the significant motifs in Gonzalez-Torres’s oeuvre.

1. Wolfgang Tillmans, “Artist’s writings,” in Wolfgang Tillmans (London: Phaidon, 2014), p. 154.
2. Ibid.

DAVID ZWIRNER, HONG KONG
5-6/F, H Queen's, 80 Queen's Road Central Hong Kong
www.davidzwirner.com

Gauguin. Portraits, Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, Ottawa

Gauguin. Portraits
Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, Ottawa
Jusqu'au 8 septembre 2019

Le Musée des beaux-arts du Canada présente l’exposition Gauguin. Portraits, qui constitue une occasion unique de voir l’oeuvre de l’artiste français Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903) sous un jour nouveau et permet de mieux comprendre sa vision de l’art du portait.

Les oeuvres de Paul Gauguin ont fait l’objet de maintes expositions, mais Gauguin. Portraits est la première exposition consacrée exclusivement à ses portraits. Gauguin, qui compte parmi les artistes les plus importants et les plus fascinants du dix-neuvième siècle, a totalement renouvelé la pratique traditionnelle du portrait et a exercé une influence déterminante sur l’art du XXe et du XXIe siècle.

L’exposition met en lumière la manière dont l’artiste a utilisé le portrait et l’autoportrait pour constituer un récit de soi, pour s’exprimer, pour exposer ses idées sur l’art et pour s’affirmer comme chef de file de l’avant-garde parisienne. Gauguin a remis en cause la fonction habituelle du portrait, pour donner à celui-ci un sens nouveau. Il s’est rarement intéressé à la position sociale de ses modèles, à leur personnalité et au contexte familial qui constituaient jusque-là les principaux éléments constitutifs du portrait. Il connaissait néanmoins très bien la tradition occidentale en ce domaine et recourait à des poses, à des compositions et à des attributs qui faisaient de ses œuvres des portraits quand bien même le modèle était inconnu.

Gauguin usait de diverses techniques, dont la peinture, le dessin, la gravure, la sculpture, la poterie et l’écriture, auxquelles il a toutes eu recours pour réaliser des portraits. Ses couleurs intenses, son intérêt pour des sujets non occidentaux et son recours précoce à une multiplicité de techniques ont influencé des artistes tels qu’Henri Matisse ou Pablo Picasso.

L’exposition rassemble des œuvres datées des années 1880 jusqu’à la fin de la vie de l’artiste. Gauguin. Portraits est la première exposition majeure consacrée à Paul Gauguin organisée par le Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, qui est le seul musée d’Amérique du Nord à la présenter. Elle est organisée par le Musée des beaux-arts du Canada d’Ottawa, qui l’inaugure, et par la National Gallery de Londres, où elle sera présentée du 7 octobre 2019 au 26 janvier 2020.

L’exposition thématique explore différents aspects de l’art du portrait de Gauguin. Elle regroupe peintures, sculptures, gravures et dessins de collections publiques et privées à travers le monde dont le Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France ; le Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA ; l’Art Institute de Chicago, USA ; le Musée national de l’art occidental, Tokyo, Japon ; le Museum Folkwang, Essen, Allemagne et les Musées Royaux des Beaux-arts de Belgique. Elle présente également des oeuvres sur papier de la collection du Musée des beaux-arts du Canada qui témoignent des amitiés et des collaborations entretenues par Gauguin. Beaucoup de ces oeuvres n’ont été exposées ensemble que rarement.

Gauguin. Portraits est le fruit de cinq années de préparation. Elle a été conçue par Cornelia Homburg, commissaire invitée au Musée des beaux-arts du Canada et spécialiste de l’art de la fin du XIXe siècle. Madame Homburg a travaillé en étroite collaboration avec le co-commissaire Christopher Riopelle, conservateur Neil Westreich de la peinture postérieure à 1800 à la National Gallery de Londres.

L’idée de Gauguin. Portraits est née du buste en chêne que Paul Gauguin a réalisé de son ami le peintre néerlandais Meijer de Haan, un buste qui fait partie de la collection du Musée des beaux-arts du Canada depuis 1968. L’exposition présente également les récentes découvertes majeures de Doris Couture-Rigert, chef du laboratoire de restauration et de conservation du Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, sur la méthode employée par Gauguin pour réaliser cette sculpture polychrome. Une salle est consacrée à ces résultats de recherche.

Gauguin. Portraits
Musée des beaux-arts du Canada. Co-publié avec 5 Continents
Publié sous la direction de Cornelia Homburg et Christopher Riopelle, 
avec contributions d’Elizabeth C. Childs, Dario Gamboni, Linda Goddard, 
Claire Guitton, Jean-David Jumeau-Lafond, et Alastair Wright.

MUSEE DES BEAUX-ARTS DU CANADA
380, promenade Sussex, Ottawa (Ontario) K1N 9N4
www.beaux-arts.ca

Stephan Balkenhol @ Le Portique, Le Havre

Stephan Balkenhol
Le Portique, Centre régional d'art contemporain du Havre
Jusqu'au 29 septembre 2019

STEPHAN BALKENHOL
Frau mit rotem Kleid, 2009
Bois d’abachi peint, 170 cm
Courtesy de l’artiste

Artiste internationalement reconnu, Stephan Balkenhol a conquis tant les espaces urbains que muséaux avec ses sculptures réalistes. On lui doit, par exemple, une statue de Jean Moulin érigée dans la gare de Metz ou encore une série de trois sculptures (Torwächter), au coeur d’un centre commercial berlinois (DomAquaré), représentant des « gardiens des portes », trois figures surdimensionnées et montées sur des piliers de bois.

Son travail, rejouant la statuaire traditionnelle, est immédiatement identifiable. Stephan Balkenhol a une signature: le travail du bois, son matériau de prédilection, dont il exhibe les imperfections et nervures.

La figuration contre l’art conceptuel
L’artiste allemand a choisi, dans les années 1980, de se confronter à la matière brute et authentique, d’engager son corps dans la pratique, par opposition à l’art conceptuel. Il n’a cessé d’explorer les nombreuses circonvolutions des arbres, de tenter de dompter la nature et de maîtriser le végétal avec ses outils et compagnons habituels : le maillet et le ciseau. Ses techniques sont immuables: le sculpteur taille ses personnages directement dans les troncs d’arbres.

De la reproductibilité du monde
Ce bois, plein de fissures et de noeuds, Stephan Balkenhol l’aime, le chérit : l’imperfection de la matière demeure visible, malgré l’intervention et le geste artistiques, tout comme l’imperfection des êtres, imperfection à la fois physique et morale, demeure inhérente à la comédie humaine qui se joue ici-bas. Le bois est imparfait, toute copie et toute reproduction, malgré la recherche de fidélité, est imparfaite: ainsi, le sculpteur fusionne fond et forme. Les défauts du bois sont un écho des défauts de l’homme, de l’impossible reproductibilité de la réalité par l’art. Si la taille, les coups ne sont pas gommés, le bois s’efface derrière les couleurs qui viennent se poser sur les corps en devenir. Polychromes, les sculptures revêtent un caractère quasi sacré, injectant du mystique dans le quotidien.

La comédie humaine
Dans ses oeuvres, Stephan Balkenhol privilégie la figuration et représente des anonymes qui, soudainement, accèdent au statut de personnalités éminentes car hissés sur un socle. Chez lui, socle et sculpture interagissent et ne font qu’un : ils sont indissociables, composant ainsi une unité, rappelant le bloc de bois auquel l’artiste s’est confronté dans son entièreté et soulignant la volonté d’ériger les anonymes au rang de célébrités. Tout en étant dans le monumental, l’artiste allemand « démonumentalise » la figure statufiée, redonnant humanité et simplicité à la sculpture.

Une narration secrète
Chez Stephan Balkenhol, on croise des hommes vêtus de chemise blanche et d’un pantalon noir, des femmes dans des robes courtes et de couleur... Sortes de stéréotypes d’une mode standardisée occidentale, ses sculptures constituent une forêt humaine, où se mêlent différents visages, différents protagonistes. Reste à écrire l’histoire : tout est possible.

« Mes sculptures ne racontent pas d’histoires. Il y a quelque chose du secret. Ce n’est pas à moi de le révéler, mais au spectateur de le découvrir », commente l’artiste, qui ne dévoile pas de piste narrative. Dans sa comédie humaine, peuvent se jouer différents actes entre les multiples personnages qui constituent cette foule anonyme. S’il affectionne la figuration et représente hommes et femmes en pied ou en portrait, Stephan Balkenhol a également constitué un bestiaire, se muant en fabuliste et s’appuyant sur les animaux pour dessiner un autre univers narratif.

Art et tradition
Stephan Balkenhol a réintroduit la figuration dans l’art contemporain et questionne la statuaire traditionnelle, mais aussi le geste artistique, célébrant le contact avec la matière et cette dimension physique. Travailler le bois, c’est renouer avec l’origine, la nature et un savoir-faire ancestral, qui fait, dans un même mouvement, penser à l’art médiéval et à l’art folklorique des pays d’Europe de l’est. Une façon de s’inscrire dans l’histoire de l’art et de la commenter, en la détournant et en l’interrogeant... Le sculpteur campe des figures en devenir, de potentiels générateurs d’histoires : à chacun de tisser un lien avec la figure et de la faire parler pour que s’animent ces formes, ces corps, instaurant un improbable dialogue avec le réel réactivé.

Stephan Balkenhol est représenté par les galeries Thaddeus Ropac (Paris), Deweer (Otegem, Belgique), Jochen Hempel (Leipzig, Allemagne) et Löhrl (Mönchengladbach, Allemagne).

LE PORTIQUE CENTRE REGIONAL D'ART CONTEMPORAIN DU HAVRE
30 rue Gabriel Péri, 76600 Le Havre
www.leportique.org

July 9, 2019

Sarah Faux, Haley Josephs, RJ Messineo, Wang Chen @ Thomas Erben Gallery, NYC - Pleasure in Precariousness

Sarah Faux, Haley Josephs, RJ Messineo, Wang Chen: Pleasure in Precariousness 
Thomas Erben Gallery, New York
Through July 26, 2019

Thomas Erben presents Pleasure in Precariousness, an exhibition of works by Sarah Faux, Haley Josephs, RJ Messineo, and Wang Chen. Across painting, video, and collage, Pleasure in Precariousness surveys a slippery and open corporeality, rendering the self/body/subject as variously disembodied, fragmented, agape, multiplied, absent, or implied. A searching quality threads the works, aided by the artists’ respective (and often shared) explorations into eros, play, touch, and interiority, as does a common inclination for painting.

Apprehending “the canvas as analogous to a body,” Sarah Faux’s (b. 1986, Boston, MA) work in painting and cut-outs (collaged canvas works) conjure scenes of a shifty, somatic nature. Entering into the sensual, the flowing lines in her cropped paintings echo shivering states of desire. In Float Tank (2019), two boldly outlined hands run over a hirsute chest, green and black swirling marks suggesting tangles of hair, while a tenderly rendered face rests quietly in the bottom-left corner. How all these body parts add up or not (two, three, or more people?) remains an ongoing question left elusively unanswered.

Similarly moving through internal, emotional landscapes, Haley Josephs’ (b. 1987, Seattle, WA) paintings radiate with saturated colors and engrossed female figures. In Fallen (2018) a spotlighted figure lies stomach down on a lawn of smeary green foliage, streaks of blues and orange, and a pool of yellow. Flushed-faced, hazily unworried in the wake of the title’s implied stumble, the youthful subject’s defined eyes look vacantly up to meet the viewer. Expressionistic with a keen sense for color, Fallen manifests a psychedelic, private worldview.

Exploring sexuality, gender, and self within morphing, immersive, amusement parkesque digital worlds, Wang Chen (b. 1991, Hohhot, China) creates paradoxically personal video and installation works. Presented as a single-channel video, The Rabbit Hole (2015) descends, hovers, and veers through a series of colorful, raster graphic chambers. Mixing cuteness and violence, drawn and painterly gestures, embodied and animated rabbit figures, the video is a beguiling trip into Wang’s own Wonderland.

Conspicuously abstract amid the figurative works of the other artists in the exhibition, RJ Messineo‘s (b. 1980, Hartford, CT) paintings nevertheless chart both inner-states and outward encounters with the built world. Attaching shaped sheets of thin plywood onto often large stretched canvases — creating paintings in paintings — Messineo’s “second surfaces” make reference to windows, blankets, and the experience of looking at painting and at the city.

Whether it be the gestural washes, lines, and strokes in Wang’s video works; Josephs’ saturated, exalted portraits; Faux’s sensual, bodily entanglements; or the abstract approaches to spatiality in Messineo’s canvases, painting offers all of these artists a means for revelation, transformation, and, often, what RJ Messineo has called, “pleasure alongside precarity.” 

THOMAS ERBEN GALLERY
526 West 26th Street, floor 4, New York, NY 10001
www.thomaserben.com

Alwar Balasubramaniam @ Talwar Gallery, NYC - Becoming Nature

Alwar Balasubramaniam: Becoming Nature
Talwar Gallery, New York
Through August 23, 2019

Talwar Gallery New York presents Becoming Nature, an exhibition of recent works by ALWAR BALASUBRAMANIAM.

The works in Becoming Nature reflect the artist’s sustained and ever-deepening relationship with the natural world—not only its landscapes or physical elements, but the forces that surround us. Working across a range of media and materials, Alwar Balasubramaniam, known also as Bala, focuses these life-giving forces in ways that make them visible and tangible—bringing the geological and elemental to human-scale. Up in the air renders the invisible process of evaporation into delicate sculptural form, for example—concentric rings of pigment condensing many long, slow moments of exchange between the object and the atmosphere around it. In a similar way, unseen movements of wind and air are recorded viscerally in the stippled, textured reliefs of Wind Field while the seemingly cracked earth surface of I was like you, you will be like me speaks to the cyclical exchange among the most basic elements of our world. Perhaps most notably, a new series of paintings present elegant and vibrantly colored panels, light and fleetingly detectable as the patterns of a bird’s plumage. The result of several processes of accretion and erasure by Bala, these paintings make beauty a matter of constant movement and transformation.

Bala invites nature into these works, as participant as much as raw material—and invites us to meditate on processes that blur the lines between art and life, the natural and the aesthetic. The works that result represent neither the total control of the artist, nor his subordination to the sublime power of nature—but rather a thoughtful negotiation of the forces that extend beyond the control of any individual. Modeling a patient, playful, wonder-filled relationship to the world we dwell within, the works here exist as states momentarily excised from the ongoing flux and flow of life—the swells and tides, soft breezes and sudden inundations, that make the living world a matter of constant, unending change. .

Bala’s interest in the natural world has sustained his artistic practice for decades, but it became particularly focused after the artist’s move from urban Bangalore to a rural part of south India over five years ago. The move allowed for an intimate, close-up engagement with nature—an understanding of its processes born of daily observation and lived, corporeal familiarity. This kind of bodily knowing has been critical to Bala’s work over the course of his career—work which seeks continuously to investigate the possibilities of the senses to capture and engage with that which extends beyond them. With searching, always-curious attention, Bala probes our perception, pushing past normal habits of seeing, feeling, and relating – making visible what we otherwise overlook in the course of our daily living. Working across media—from intimate and barely perceptible to room-size installations—Bala harnesses the potentiality of each material to work in new and unexpected ways. In every case, his interest remains steady: to open our eyes and minds, quite literally, to the world around us.

BALA’s works have been featured in exhibitions worldwide, including The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan; Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi, India; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington; École des Beaux Arts, Paris, France; Essl Museum, Austria; National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Australia, 1st Singapore Biennale; and 18th Sydney Biennale. Bala has been a guest lecturer at the Art Department of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and a featured speaker at TED.

Bala was born in 1971 in Tirunelveli, India, to where he recently returned to live and work.

TALWAR GALLERY, NEW YORK
108 East 16 Street, New York, NY 10003
talwargallery.com

July 8, 2019

Modernisms @ Grey Art Gallery, NYU - Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection

Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection 
Grey Art Gallery, New York University
September 10 – December 7, 2019

Parviz Tanavoli
Parviz Tanavoli (Iranian)
Heech, 1972
Bronze on wood base, 22 1/4 x 12 x 8 in.
Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection 
Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.54
© Parviz Tanavoli
Courtesy of the Grey Art Gallery / NYU

Drawing on its remarkable collection of modern Iranian, Indian, and Turkish art, the Grey Art Gallery at New York University presents Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection. Featuring approximately thirty to forty artworks from each country, the exhibition examines the artistic practices in Iran, Turkey, and India, from the 1960s and early ’70s via selections from the Abby Weed Grey Collection of Modern Asian and Middle Eastern Art. The first major museum exhibition to bring together modern works from these nations, Modernisms sheds new light on how the featured artists created works that drew on their specific heritages while also engaging in global discourses around key issues of modernity. Assembled by Lynn Gumpert, Director of the Grey Art Gallery, this exhibition illuminates our understanding of modern art created outside of the West.

Of the nearly 4,800 works housed at the Grey Art Gallery, New York University’s fine arts museum, approximately 700 comprise the Abby Weed Grey Collection of Modern Asian and Middle Eastern Art. This collection—an unparalleled and unique art historical resource—represents some of the largest institutional holdings of Iranian and Turkish modern art, and the foremost trove of modern Indian art in an American university museum. Along with an endowment to establish the Grey Art Gallery, the collection was donated to New York University in 1975 by Abby Weed Grey, a self-described “dyed-in-the-wool Midwesterner” from St. Paul, Minnesota. In the 1960s and early ’70s, when few other American collectors were attuned to art being made in the Middle East and Asia, Mrs. Grey traveled extensively in these regions, steadily acquiring works by contemporary local artists. Intent on self-education and optimistically embracing the notion of “one world through art,” she believed firmly in the power of art to stimulate dialogues between people of different cultures. This vision arose at a moment when, due to the shifting dynamics of the Cold War, America held a broader interest in fostering intercultural dialogue that was motivated, in part, by foreign policy strategy.

“The time seems right to reexamine Mrs. Grey’s trailblazing efforts toward cultural exchange,” notes Gumpert. “These artworks represent a wide range of responses to unique, regional histories and to a rapidly changing modern world. Combining them in one exhibition allows viewers to understand how artists of various nationalities melded local traditions with international trends and, in so doing, identifies global art as a central component of modernity.”

Although works from the collection have been shown at the Grey on numerous previous occasions—in exhibitions such as Global Local 1960–2015: Six Artists from Iran (2016), Abby Grey and Indian Modernism: Selections from the NYU Art Collection (2015), Modern Iranian Art (2013), and Between Word and Image: Modern Iranian Visual Culture (2002)—selections from the Iranian, Turkish, and Indian modern art holdings have never been presented together in a cross-cultural study. Bringing together works from three different countries, Modernisms makes significant contributions to current dialogues which are actively seeking to expand narrow, Eurocentric narratives of modern art.

IRAN

Comprising nearly 200 works, the Grey Art Gallery’s holdings of modern Iranian art constitute the largest component of Abby Grey’s collection. In 1960, as part of her around-the-world tour, Mrs. Grey visited Iran, where she attended the Second Tehran Biennial. The Iran she encountered was rich with creativity and intellectual discourse. Ali Mirsepassi and Hamed Yousefi note in an essay in the exhibition’s publication that “Iranian intellectuals and artists participated in various movements and experiments as they sought to craft diverse modern, secular, and radical visions for the nation.” Captivated by what she saw, Mrs. Grey subsequently made seven additional visits to Iran, seeking art that would “express the response of a contemporary sensibility to contemporary circumstances.” She found this innovation in work by members of the Saqqakhaneh school, such as Parviz Tanavoli, Faramarz Pilaram, Charles-Hossein Zenderoudi, and their peers. These artists sought to reinterpret Iran’s rich traditions of calligraphy, architecture, and ornamentation in contemporary idioms. For instance, Tanavoli rooted much of his work in Iranian folklore, but developed a new pictorial language to recast traditional stories as modern sculptures. Pilaram drew on the awe-inspiring architectural components of the mosques of Isfahan, the city of his birth, but merged them with bodily fragments to create hybrid designs. Zenderoudi referenced Shiite iconography and Persian calligraphy in his oeuvre but transformed them into abstract, flowing forms. “The major departure from earlier modernist works,” explains scholar Fereshteh Daftari, “lay not only in the representation of indigenous subject matter but also in the expression of a vernacular culture with its own visual means and lexicon.” Despite the primacy of Saqqakhaneh works in the Grey collection, Mrs. Grey also acquired works by other Iranian artists, such as Siah Armajani, who emigrated to Minnesota in 1960, and whose works in the collection are informed by depictions of language and the pictorial relationship between word and image. Also included in the Grey collection is a floral monotype by Monir Farmanfarmaian, who spent most of her career in New York (where she learned printmaking techniques from Milton Avery), and is best known for her mirrored works that recall Iranian mosaics. Like the Saqqakhaneh school, these artists grappled with questions of how to reconcile their contemporary sensibilities with their Persian heritage.


Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu
Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu (Turkish)
Full Moon, 1961
Oil and glue on canvas, 50 7/8 x 42 in.
Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection 
Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.293
Courtesy of the Grey Art Gallery / NYU

TURKEY

Mrs. Grey made her first visit to Turkey in 1961, inaugurating a lifelong fascination with Turkish modernism. By the end of that year, she had begun collecting Turkish works with the intention of exhibiting them in the United States. Abby Grey returned to Turkey three more times—in 1964, 1965, and 1969—to visit the studios and salons of the country’s rising vanguard artists, ultimately purchasing nearly 110 works. While there, she met many Group D artists, including Abindin Eldergolu and Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, two among a veritable roster of Istanbul’s modernist visionaries who sought to cast off earlier styles and aesthetics—such as Impressionism and Western academic styles—in favor of art representing a new Turkey, one that would embody both Turkish consciousness and international awareness. In his quest to create a uniquely Turkish modernism, Eldergolu looked to the native abstract art of calligraphy, thus foregrounding conceptual connections between local Turkish artistic forms and international modernist abstract art. Eyüboğlu looked for inspiration to Turkey’s rich pastoral life, often portraying farms and peasant activities. Other Turkish artists of this time, such as Nevzat Akoral, depicted scenes of village life and labor through the lens of Turkey’s many urban migrants. In contrast, Fahrelnissa Zeid looked to another kind of Turkish heritage—the geometric and curvilinear forms of Turkish ornamentation and architecture—which she incorporated into her often recondite images. “The mythos of the rural that was so central to 20th-century Turkish art,” writes Sarah-Neel Smith, “contrasts with works in Grey’s collection that speak to processes of migration and urbanization, which began in the 1950s and reached a fever pitch in the 1960s.” The multitude of styles found in the Grey Art Gallery’s Turkish collection reflects the great diversity of expression that constitutes Turkey’s modernist scene.


Maqbool Fida Husain (Indian)
Virgin Night, 1964
Oil on canvas, 39 3/4 x 29 1/2 in.
Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection
Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.158
Courtesy of the Grey Art Gallery / NYU

INDIA

Strongly drawn to the innovations she found in India, Abby Grey traveled there four times during the 1960s. She collected some 80 artworks, comprising what scholar Ranjit Hoskote calls a “unique group of works [that] embraces the diversity of artistic explorations, cultural alignments, and ideological perspectives that animated the Indian art scene as it unfolded between the 1940s and 1960s.” In New Delhi and Mumbai (Bombay), Mrs. Grey encountered artists who, in the wake of their country’s independence from British rule, began experimenting with new approaches, forming the nation’s first modernist schools. Several works she acquired were by members of the influential Progressive Artists Group (PAG), which broke away from the traditional Indian nationalist art movement to form an avant-garde collective that looked outward to other cultures and drew inspiration from abroad. Clearly embracing cultural hybridity, Maqbool Fida Husain blended cubism and expressionism with traditional Indian iconography to create his own vocabulary of darkly expressive forms. Francis Newton Souza, founder of PAG, often combined deconstructed human forms with Hindu iconography, merging outside influences with local religious imagery. Mrs. Grey also collected works by some of the more experimental artists working in India who have been overlooked in the West until now, but who were also seeking ways to incorporate modern techniques. One such artist, Prabhakar Barwe, combined Tantric styles culled from his time spent in Varanasi, India’s holiest city, with abstract symbolism largely inspired by the work of Paul Klee. Ultimately, Mrs. Grey’s keen eye and passion resulted in a collection of Indian art that highlights and celebrates a complex but often heretofore disregarded modernism. 

Exhibition Catalogue

Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection is accompanied by a 288-page catalogue. Co-published by Hirmer Publishers and the Grey Art Gallery, New York University, the book features a roundtable discussion that considers the political and cultural landscapes of Iran, Turkey, and India during the time that Abby Grey was traveling and collecting art. Moderated by Lynn Gumpert, Director of the Grey Art Gallery at New York University, the roundtable includes Vishakha N. Desai, Senior Adviser for Global Affairs to the President of Columbia University, Vice Chair of the Committee on Global Thought, and Senior Research Scholar in Global Studies at the School of International and Public Affairs; Vasif Kortun, curator, writer, educator, and former Director of Research and Programs at SALT; and Hamed Yousefi, a filmmaker and PhD student in art history at Northwestern University. Also featured is a conversation in remembrance of Abby Weed Grey between Robert R. Littman, President of the Vergel Foundation and former Director of the Grey Art Gallery, and Michèle Wong, Associate Director and Head of Collections and Exhibitions at the Grey Art Gallery.

The book includes essays by Lynn Gumpert; Shiva Balaghi, Senior Adviser to the Provost and President of the American University in Cairo for the Arts and Cultural Programs; curator and scholar Fereshteh Daftari; Ali Mirsepassi, Albert Gallatin Research Excellence Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study and in the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Science at NYU, and Hamed Yousefi; Sarah-Neel Smith, Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the Maryland Institute College of Art; Susan Hapgood, an art historian and Executive Director of the International Studio and Curatorial Program in Brooklyn; and Ranjit Hoskote, a cultural theorist, curator, and poet. The book also includes catalogue entries by Duygu Demir, PhD candidate at MIT; Ilhan Ozan, PhD student at the University of Pittsburgh; Ally Mintz, Exhibitions and Publications Manager at the Grey Art Gallery; and Rashmi Meenakshi Viswanathan, a Postdoctoral Fellow of Global Contemporary Art at Parsons School of Design, The New School.

Tour

After debuting at the Grey Art Gallery at New York University, Modernisms will be on view at the Block Art Museum at Northwestern University from January 21 through April 5, 2020. The exhibition will travel to the New York University Abu Dhabi Art Gallery in fall 2020.

GREY ART GALLERY, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY 
100 Washington Square East, New York, NY 10003
greyartgallery.nyu.edu