April 30, 2019

Sanya Kantarovsky @ Luhring Augustine, NYC

Sanya Kantarovsky: On Them
Luhring Augustine, New York
April 27 – June 15, 2019

Luhring Augustine presents On Them, an exhibition of new paintings by Sanya Kantarovsky, marking his first solo presentation with the gallery.

On Them presents vignettes from the lives of a strange group of real and imagined subjects. An anguished killer, a hospice patient, a headless infant accordionist, and a disenfranchised snowman assemble into a painted tragicomedy, simultaneously unnerving and seducing the audience. The otherwise discrete paintings seem to suggest contingency, akin to a set of chance encounters one might have with passersby throughout the course of a particularly disconcerting day. At times, the subjects directly return the viewer’s gaze, as if begging for connection; at other times, they plead with an omniscient celestial entity, or stare vacantly off the edges of the canvas.

While Sanya Kantarovsky’s practice ranges across a diverse array of media, including drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and animation, his project revolves around his paintings, which emphasize affect in the portrayal of archetypal subjects, from the doe-eyed and self-conscious to the unsavory and criminal. His latest body of work mines the historical modes through which figurative painting elicits empathy from a viewer. Sanya Kantarovsky considers the gamut of human sensibilities through eloquent gesture and lush coloration, yet his weathered surfaces are openly marked by doubt, embarrassment, and over-identification. In his scrutiny of painterly melodramas, slippages occur as he offsets dark and abject subject matter with incongruous double-takes. Through frantically conjuring a wide array of ways in which lived experiences have been transmuted through the stuff of paint, Sanya Kantarovsky simultaneously indulges and questions the atavistic project of humanist painting. Evoking many art historical motifs, from the glistening sanpaku eyes of El Greco to the perverse Yokai woodcuts of Utagawa Kunioshi and drawings of Bruno Schulz, the paintings simultaneously titillate and repel, staging the gravity of bearing witness against the pleasure of looking. Here, seeing takes on a burden of responsibility, which Kantarovsky distributes between his subjects and the audience.

Unwilling and unable to be held accountable, we ravenously consume with our eyes. We shift the blame on them. On our neighbors, on our statesmen, on our enemies, on our parents, on our children, on our victims, on the painted and abused.

Sanya Kantarovsky was born in Moscow, Russia in 1982 and currently lives and works in New York. He studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI and received his MFA at the University of California, Los Angeles. Sanya Kantarovsky recently presented solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Basel in Switzerland (2018) and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, Italy (2017-2018). A comprehensive monograph entitled No Joke was co-published by Studio Voltaire and Koenig Books in 2016. Kantarovsky’s works belong to several prestigious museum collections, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Tate Modern, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

LUHRING AUGUSTINE
531 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011
www.luhringaugustine.com

April 26, 2019

Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall @ Brooklyn Museum

Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall
Brooklyn Museum
May 3 – December 8, 2019

Tuesday Smillie
TUESDAY SMILLIE (American, born 1981) 
S.T.A.R., 2012 
Watercolor, collage on board, 9½ x 11 in. (24.1 x 27.9 cm). 
Courtesy of the artist. © Tuesday Smillie

The Brooklyn Museum presents the exhibition Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall, which commemorates the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City by exploring the rebellion’s profound legacy and lasting impact on the queer artistic community of today. The exhibition features twenty-two LGBTQ+ artists currently or recently active in New York, whose work spans painting, sculpture, film, photography, and performance. It takes its title from the rallying words of transgender artist and activist Marsha P. Johnson, aiming to expand the collective understanding of the Stonewall Uprising’s legacy for today’s LGBTQ+ communities. The summer 1969 revolt at The Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City’s West Village, was a landmark moment in the queer liberation and gay rights movement in the United States. However, in the ensuing decades the crucial role of transgender women of color and homeless LGBTQ+ youth in the Uprising, as well as the radical politics the rebellion embodied, have been largely marginalized by the mainstream gay rights movement. The exhibition sheds light on alternative narratives, including those of individual participants, while also exploring the realities of our current political moment through the work of artists from the vanguard of contemporary art.

Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall is organized by an interdepartmental group of five curators, each of whom brings a unique perspective to the curatorial process. The exhibition will touch all corners of the Brooklyn Museum, with work on view in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, a related Resource Room for further learning, expanded public and educational programming, and new institutional initiatives. This multidimensional approach to curation emphasizes the Brooklyn Museum’s dedication to inspiring conversations through art and providing community members with a place to have those conversations.

“The Brooklyn Museum has long been committed to providing a platform for those courageous enough to confront and question history,” says Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director, Brooklyn Museum. “With Nobody Promised You Tomorrow, we’re telling a more inclusive story of the Stonewall Uprising that connects it directly to the remarkably diverse community of LGBTQ+ artists carrying on the legacy of Stonewall now and into the future.”

The exhibition features artists Mark Aguhar, Felipe Baeza, Morgan Bassichis, David Antonio Cruz, Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski, John Edmonds, Mohammed Fayaz, Camilo Godoy, Jeffrey Gibson, Hugo Gyrl, Juliana Huxtable, Rindon Johnson, Elektra KB, Linda LaBeija, Park McArthur, Elle Pérez, LJ Roberts, Tuesday Smillie, Tourmaline, Kiyan Williams, Sasha Wortzel, and Constantina Zavitsanos. Their work are displayed across four sections that explore themes of Revolt, Heritage, Desire, and Care Networks. These themes expand upon the prevailing understanding of the Stonewall Uprising and its legacy.

“In the Revolt section, drawings and films trace the lives and honor the actions of those who organized for change before and after Stonewall, while contemporary protest signs transform into artworks that uplift and riff on activist legacies. Figures like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Stormé DeLarverie, and Marlon Riggs are commemorated in the Heritage section, which also focuses on how gentrification and violence continue to affect queer communities today,” the group of five exhibition curators explains. “The artworks in Desire explore attraction and intimacy, while moving into a space of imagining and organizing toward more equitable futures and new ways of living. In Care Networks, artists visualize their networks of affinity, support, friendship, and nightlife that provide emotional sustenance as well as spaces for experimentation and liberation.”

Artists included in the exhibition have worked individually and in collaboration to grapple with the unique conditions and questions of the current political moment. The Brooklyn Museum has commissioned new works specifically for the exhibition. They include Tourmaline’s new film Salacia, which depicts Mary Jones, a Black transgender woman who lived in New York City during the early nineteenth century, as she carves out a life for herself—and a legacy for generations ther after—in the face of systemic racism and transphobia. LJ Roberts’s Stormé at Stonewall is a large-scale sculpture that pays tribute to the diverse participants in the Stonewall Uprising—particularly lesbian activist Stormé DeLarverie—whose stories are often erased by popular media. Morgan Bassichis has created an interactive installation inspired by the radical communal living practices of Lavender Hill, a commune founded outside of Ithaca, New York, in the late 1960s. Numerous performances have also been commissioned as part of the robust schedule of public programs in conjunction with the exhibition.

Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall is curated by Margo Cohen Ristorucci, Public Programs Coordinator; Lindsay C. Harris, Teen Programs Manager; Carmen Hermo, Associate Curator, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art; Allie Rickard, Curatorial Assistant, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art; and Lauren Argentina Zelaya, Acting Director, Public Programs, Brooklyn Museum. Its Resource Room is organized by Levi Narine, Teen Programs Assistant, InterseXtions and Special Projects, in collaboration with the curators.

Generous support for this exhibition is provided by The Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation. Additional support is provided by Paul R. Beirne, the Helene Zucker Seeman Memorial Exhibition Fund, and MaryRoss Taylor.

BROOKLYN MUSEUM
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238-6052
www.brooklynmuseum.org

Jews, Money, Myth @ Jewish Museum London

Jews, Money, Myth
Jewish Museum London
Through 7 July 2019

Jews, Money, Myth, a major exhibition at Jewish Museum London, explores the role of money in Jewish life and its often vexed place in relations between Jews and non-Jews, from the time of Jesus to the 21st century. It examines the origins of some of the longest running and deeply entrenched antisemitic stereotypes: the theological roots of the association of Jews with money; the myths and reality of the medieval Jewish moneylender; and the place of Jews – real and imagined – in commerce, capitalism and finance up to the present day.

This cutting-edge exhibition reflects on over 2,000 years of history, drawing together manuscripts, prints, Jewish ritual and ceremonial objects, art, film, literature and cultural ephemera, from board games and cartoons to costumes and figurines. Exhibits from the museum’s collection are complemented by loans from Europe, North America and Israel. A highlight of the exhibition is Rembrandt van Rijn’s painting, Judas Returning the Thirty Pieces of Silver, 1629, an early yet artistically mature work from a private collection that is rarely seen in the UK. Contemporary and newly commissioned artworks, including an archive-based video piece by Jeremy Deller, reflect on the exhibition themes.

The story of Judas Iscariot, betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, widely embraced in Christian iconography as a symbol of self-seeking greed, and which has propelled anti-Jewish stereotypes to this day, forms an important feature of the exhibition. Rare and early artworks spanning almost 500 years reveal the changing representations of this story and shed light on relations between Christians and Jews.

Throughout history there have been both rich and poor Jews. The exhibition shows how Jewish wealth and poverty have been created by circumstances as well as by the activity and acumen of Jews themselves – rather than ‘Jewishness’ itself. Pushed into unpopular economic roles such as usury, some Jews lent money for interest in the Medieval period; Jewish merchants and bankers were drawn to London in the mid-late Seventeenth Century; and tens of thousands came as poor economic migrants in the Eighteenth Century. They improvised a livelihood, begging and peddling cheap goods in town and country. These contrasting roles gave rise to stereotypes that took hold of the public imagination and have shown remarkable longevity: two are easily recognisable in well-known literary characters such as Shakespeare’s money lender Shylock, and Dickens’ Fagin who traded in stolen goods.

Jews, Money, Myth explores how stereotypes linking Jews with money and power evolved in different political contexts and have been exploited for different ends. Nazi propaganda took these old myths to portray Jews as a threat to the world and as ‘the enemy within’ that sought to destroy Germany. The caricature of the powerful, rich Jew continues to inform conspiracy theories and to recur in political propaganda, cartoons, artworks and on social media.

The exhibition explores the social significance and symbolism of money in Jewish life. Ancient Judean coins from the first century BCE highlight their use as an expression of Jewish identity in resisting Roman rule. Ceremonial objects highlight the importance attached to charitable giving. ‘Tzedakah’, the word commonly used for charity, literally means ‘righteousness’: it conveys a commitment to giving which is embedded in numerous Jewish rituals and religious practices.

Abigail Morris, Director of the Jewish Museum, said:
“Myths and stereotypes have origins, and this exhibition draws on objects from over 2000 years to go to the roots of Jewish practices around money. At the same time, it shows how certain dangerous, even deadly, interpretations emerged and still proliferate around the world. As a museum dedicated to the history and culture of Jews in Britain, we are more aware than ever of the importance of providing a safe space to consider and challenge such stereotypes, if we are to combat hatred and challenge ignorance.”
The exhibition has been developed by the Jewish Museum in collaboration with the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck, University of London.

Professor David Feldman, Director of the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism said:
Jews, Money, Myth explores the significance and role of money in the secular and religious life of Jews from the Biblical era to the present day. In doing so it confronts and debunks the stereotypes of Jews’ connections with money and power that give rise to some of the most deeply rooted antisemitic images in circulation. Visitors to this bold exhibition will be at once informed and challenged.”

Jews, Money, Myth - Exhibition Catalogue
© Jewish Museum London and 
Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London

An illustrated book accompanies the exhibition, with contributions from international scholars and artists exploring some of its key themes, including the literary historian and author, Stephen Greenblatt and artist, Roee Rosen.

JEWISH MUSEUM LONDON
Raymond Burton House, 129 – 131 Albert Street, London NW1 7NB
www.jewishmuseum.org.uk

April 24, 2019

Liz Johnson Artur @ Brooklyn Museum

Liz Johnson Artur: Dusha
Brooklyn Museum
May 3 - August 18, 2019

LIZ JOHNSON ARTUR (born Bulgaria 1964)
Josephine, Peckham, 1995
Chromogenic photograph, 20 x 24 in. (50.8 x 60.9 cm) 
Courtesy of the artist. © Liz Johnson Artur

The Brooklyn Museum presents Liz Johnson Artur: Dusha, the first solo museum exhibition devoted to the work of the Russian Ghanaian artist, whose three-decade career has focused on photographing individuals and communities across the African diaspora. The exhibition presents an installation of photographic works, sketchbooks, films, and audio drawn from Liz Johnson Artur’s vast Black Balloon Archive, which she began after her first visit to Brooklyn in 1986. The exhibition is curated by Drew Sawyer, the Museum’s Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator of Photography.

"This exhibition continues the Brooklyn Museum’s commitment to presenting the work of artists who reflect the communities of our borough," says Drew Sawyer. "With Dusha, we’re also excited to bring Johnson Artur back to Brooklyn, where her artistic project started."

Liz Johnson Artur was born in 1964 and spent her childhood in Bulgaria, Russia, and Germany. In 1986, she traveled to New York, where she stayed with a Russian family in a predominantly Black community in Brooklyn. It was there that she first experimented with photography and was inspired to use her camera as a way to connect with people. She moved to London in 1991 to pursue photography at the Royal College of Art, where she began working for magazines like The Face and i-D, but continued to grow her artistic practice.

Dusha (which means "soul" in Russian) features more than 75 photographic works spanning the artist’s career. The focus of the Brooklyn Museum’s presentation is her Black Balloon Archive, whose name comes from a song featured on the American soul singer Syl Johnson’s 1969 album Is It Because I’m Black, which expresses his joy at seeing a large black balloon dancing against a "snow-white" sky. Liz Johnson Artur’s Archive captures the multiplicity of everyday life in Africa, Europe, North America, and the Caribbean. The exhibition includes her early photographs in Brooklyn, some of her most iconic pictures from the past thirty years, as well as new photographs, such as portraits of people associated with the monthly East London club night PDA, which stands for Public Display of Affection. Also on view are the artist’s sketchbooks, filled with photographs, which she has used to organize and conceptualize her archive since the early 1990s.

Liz Johnson Artur’s work thoughtfully explores representation and self-representation. Central to her practice is her intimate engagement with people, meeting them and seeing each subject as having their own individual story. Two videos and a sound installation highlight how the artist foregrounds the unique voices and stories of her subjects. Real ... Times (2018) weaves together various narratives from London’s communities—from Windrush protest rallies to the Born N Bread collective. Afro Russians (2010-2019) documents the stories of other Russians of African and Caribbean descent. Finally, a selection of Liz Johnson Artur’s portraits of the legendary Ghanaian photographer James Barnor are accompanied by a sound collage of interviews with Barnor.

Liz Johnson Artur: Dusha is curated by Drew Sawyer, Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator of Photography, Brooklyn Museum.

This emerging artist is presented at the Brooklyn Museum with the support of Deutsche Bank. Generous support is provided by the Bertha and Isaac Liberman Foundation.

BROOKLYN MUSEUM
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238-6052
www.brooklynmuseum.org

April 23, 2019

Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite @ Skirball, Los Angeles - MoAD, San Francisco - Columbia Museum of Art

Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite
Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles
Through September 1, 2019
Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco
December 4, 2019 – March 1, 2020
Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, South Carolina
June 26 – September 6, 2020

The Skirball Cultural Center presents Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite, the first exhibition to focus on this key—and until now under-recognized—figure of the second Harlem Renaissance. Through more than forty iconic images, Black Is Beautiful illuminates how in the late 1950s and 1960s, Kwame Brathwaite (b. 1938) used his art to popularize “Black Is Beautiful,” now considered one of the most influential cultural movements of that era. Organized by Aperture Foundation, the exhibition makes its national debut at the Skirball.

Inspired by the writings of famed activist and black nationalist Marcus Garvey, Kwame Brathwaite harnessed the power of art, music, and fashion to effect social change. Along with his brother Elombe Brath (1936–2014), he founded two organizations that were instrumental in realizing his vision: the African Jazz-Art Society & Studios (AJASS), a collective of artists, playwrights, designers, and dancers, in 1956; and Grandassa Models, a modeling group for black women, in 1962. Kwame Brathwaite organized fashion shows showcasing clothes designed by the models themselves, created stunning portraits of jazz luminaries, and captured behind-the-scenes photographs of the black arts community, including Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, and Miles Davis.

During an era when segregation prevailed across the United States, Kwame Brathwaite’s body of work is remarkable for challenging mainstream beauty standards that excluded people of color. His photographs of African American women and men with natural hair and clothes that reclaimed and honored their African roots instilled a sense of pride throughout the community. In addition to Kwame Brathwaite’s photographs, the exhibition displays several garments worn during the fashion shows, as well as a selection of ephemeral materials.

Kwame Brathwaite’s son, Kwame S. Brathwaite—who co-curated the exhibition with Aperture Foundation’s Michael Famighetti and Skirball managing curator Bethany Montagano—remarked, “My father preserved the legacy of the ‘Black Is Beautiful’ movement, which is not merely a slogan, but a template for the way that art and activism can propel us toward equity and inclusion.”

“Black Is Beautiful demonstrates how Kwame Brathwaite’s photographs disrupted cultural norms and helped to broaden our definition of what is beautiful and who gets to decide,” added Montagano. “In keeping with the Skirball’s mission to affirm the dignity of every cultural identity, we are honored to highlight an artist whose body of work and guiding principles call upon us to work toward a more just and inclusive society.”

Born in Brooklyn in 1938 and raised in the Bronx, New York, Kwame Brathwaite spent most of his adult life in and around New York City. In the late 1950s,Kwame Brathwaite and his brother Elombe Brath became active in the African Nationalist Pioneer Movement led by Carlos Cooks. At the same time, the brothers regularly produced and promoted concerts and art shows at venues such as Club 845 in the Bronx and Small’s Paradise in Harlem, while Brathwaite photographed the events.

Throughout the 1960s, Kwame Brathwaite contributed photography to leading black publications such as the Amsterdam News, City Sun, and Daily Challenge. By the 1970s, Kwame Brathwaite was a leading concert photographer, helping to shape the images of major celebrities, including Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, James Brown, and Muhammad Ali. Kwame Brathwaite wrote about and photographed such landmark events as the Motown Revue at the Apollo in 1963, WattStax 1972, the Jackson 5’s first trip to Africa in 1974, and the Festival in Zaire in 1974.

Today Kwame Brathwaite resides in New York City and is represented by Philip Martin Gallery in Culver City, California. He is married to Sikolo Brathwaite, a former Grandassa model whom he met through their work together. She continues to advocate for the empowerment of black women today. Their son, Kwame S. Brathwaite, is currently the director of the Kwame Brathwaite Archive in Pasadena, California.

Following the Skirball presentation of Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite, the exhibition will go on national tour, traveling to Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco (December 4, 2019 – March 1, 2020) and the Columbia Museum of Art in South Carolina (June 26 – September 6, 2020), among other venues to be announced.

The exhibition at the Skirball coincides with the publication of the first-ever monograph dedicated to Kwame Brathwaite. Featuring in-depth essays by Tanisha C. Ford and Deborah Willis and more than eighty images, Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful (Aperture, May 2019) offer a long overdue exploration of Kwame Brathwaite’s life and work.

Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautifu, Aperture, 2019
Kwame Brathwaite: Black Is Beautiful, Aperture, 2019
Photographs and introduction by Kwame Brathwaite
Essays by Tanisha C. Ford and Deborah Willis
8 ½ x 10 ½ in. / 21.6 x 27 cm
144 pages, 91 black-and-white and four-color images
Hardcover with jacket / 978-1-59711-443-1 / May 2019

SKIRBALL CULTURAL CENTER
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049
www.skirball.org

April 22, 2019

Mark Manders @ Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, NYC

Mark Manders: Writting Yellow
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
Through May 24, 2019


Tanya Bonakdar Gallery presents Mark Manders: Writing Yellow, on view at the gallery’s New York location. For the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery, Mark Manders presents a variety of sculptural works that continue his “self portrait as a building”– an ongoing investigation into self-portraiture, architecture, language, and perception. The gallery exhibition coincides with Manders’ monumental Public Art Fund commission, currently on view at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza in Central Park. 

Throughout his influential practice, Mark Manders has written a continuous sculptural autobiography through objects and architecture. Over the past three decades the artist has developed a cohesive body of work that exists in its own realm, independent of a clear narrative or chronology. Language plays a defining role in Mark Manders’ practice; in a recent interview he explained, “I wanted to be a writer, but I became more fascinated with objects—how they relate to language and thinking. Instead of writing with words, I started to write with objects. I wanted to create a language out of them…” Writing Yellow sees Mark Manders continue his original ambition to be a writer and aims towards a broader premise in which his works engage in a continuous dialogue with one another. In Writing Yellow, the artist’s latest literary and sculptural undertaking is filtered through the use of a single color: yellow.

Operating under the theory that the conception and measurement of time arose with language, the artist uses words and visual codes to dislodge our spatial and temporal senses. His work constructs a timeless reality wherein contradictions co-exist: the past and the future, the temporary and the permanent, the beautiful and the grotesque, the tender and the brutal. In choosing the term yellow, Mark Manders alludes to the multitudes that language may contain; thus yellow can convey a range of associations, feelings and memories. For instance, looking at Van Gogh's sunflower paintings and the particular yellow that the artist chose - a specific shade that Mark Manders describes as warm yet almost poisonous.  And so, yellow offers itself as a chameleon-like construct to be transformed by the artist to communicate an endless variety of emotions.

Upon entering the main gallery, the viewer encounters Composition with Four Yellow Verticals, an arrangement of four monumental, craquelure busts, each set upon materials one might find in an artist's studio. The ambiguous expressions of the figures are destabilized by yellow painted wooden elements that bisect each figure’s face. In a mastery of trompe l’oeil, Mark Manders coaxes the familiar materials of his archetypal forms to invert our conception and understanding of what we see and experience. These enigmatic figures appearing to be composed of clay are, in fact, cast bronze. Each figure is positioned at a slightly different angle, offering multiple perspectives on the serial form, an experience intensified by the shifting scale between each form. At the same time, the figure-ground relationship is subverted, and logic is inverted, as the artist suggests a narrative where perhaps these complex monumental figures entire raison d’être is to act as support, an infrastructure, for an abstract composition of four vertical yellow elements. 

Works consisting of papier-mâché newspapers are presented alongside the artist’s figurative arrangements. Self-made newspapers are a recurring motif in Mark Manders’ practice. Timeless and abstract, devoid of any linear narrative, these notional newspapers contain every word in the English language—used only once and placed in random order—and are supplemented with images of the artist’s own work. Often obscured or redacted through overpainting or collage, the artist points out that such notable words as floor, object, newspaper, and yellow can be found in these papers. And that through such a small selection of words, strung together, one can construct imaginary worlds.

In the rear gallery space, a sculpture of three half-faced figures titled, Still Life with Thin Yellow Rope is presented. Scale and seriality are once again at play between the three repeated ‘unfinished’ portraits. Structures that appear to be iron scaffolding protrude from each figure, positioning the work as a crumbling architectural remnant or ruin. Atop each of the three iron poles, a yellow iron tube follows a path that resembles a sound wave or statistical chart.

At the second floor landing, the viewer comes upon an abstract, dry clay figure, laying horizontally upon the floor, another recurring motif in Mark Manders’ practice. Crowned with a gritty and matted wig, the work is titled Figure with Yellow Pencil. An iron pencil is suspended from a rod and rope over a small hole created in the muddy object’s visage, amplifying the notion that our mind, and conceptions of time and form, are structured first and foremost by language and writing. 

In the large gallery upstairs, Mark Manders presents two distinct continuations of his eponymous self-portraits. In Composition with Yellow Vertical, a vertical sliver of the stoic subject is bookended by steel, wood and canvas, fictitious newspapers, and an enlarged yellow measuring stick. For this work the artist employs epoxy, as opposed to bronze, to beguile the viewer and achieve the illusion of clay. 

Alongside this piece, Floor with Painted Wooden Object is presented. Reminiscent of early modernism, the painted object and parquet flooring are staged in a vitrine as a preserved artifact. Similar to his Van Gogh-esque use of yellow, Mark Manders adopts stylistic references from various periods as a poetic ode to the ambiguous language of art and as a vehicle to further displace chronology and narrative. 

Small Room with Three Dead Birds and Falling Dictionary transforms the upstairs project space. Mark Manders is a poet, exploring the power of simple word combinations to construct complex environments and atmospheric worlds. Entering the room, the viewer encounters a soft floor covered in canvas with a single painting of a ‘falling dictionary’ on each of the gallery’s four walls. Each painting contains layers of hand-made newspapers, created by the artist and containing every word in the dictionary. Beneath the padded canvas floor, hidden from the view of the visitors, three dead birds have been placed by the artist. Utilizing language to build a complex and poetic sense of tension and uneasiness within the space, Mark Manders likens the experience to the act of walking in the woods, gently observing "the skin of the world is actually a thin layer of death.” The canvas is tacked to a wooden frame around the perimeter of the space, a kind of painting itself, laid horizontally and stretched wall to wall across the floor. Since the first part of the installation's title is something that we are not able to physically see, we are left to conjure up the image of dead birds in our imaginations. Again, the artist invites the viewer to contemplate the hidden elements and the unyielding connection of language to image, form, object, and perception.

Born in 1968 in Volkel, The Netherlands, Mark Manders currently lives and works in Ronse, Belgium. Winner of the 2002 Philip Morris Art Prize, Mark Manders also received the prestigious Dr. A.H Heineken Prize for Art in 2010.

Significant solo exhibitions include a 2010 major retrospective at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles which later traveled to the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas through 2012. Other solo presentations include Mens erger je niet. De keuze van de erfgoedbewakers, S.M.A.K., Ghent (2016); Rainbow Caravan, Aichi Trienniale, Aichi, Japan (2016); Mark Manders: Cose in corso, Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia, Italy (2014); Mark Manders, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea in Santiago de Compostela, Spain (2014); Les études d’ombres, Carré d'Art - Musée d’art contemporain, Nîmes, France (2012); Revisions: Mark Manders, Carrillo Gil Museum of Art, Mexico City (2011); Two Interconnected Houses, La Casa Luis Barragân, Mexico City (2011); and The Absence of Mark Manders, which opened at Kunstverein Hannover, Germany (2007), and traveled to S.M.A.K., Ghent, Kunsthaus Zurich, and to Bergen Kunsthall, Norway through 2009.

In 2013 Mark Manders represented the Netherlands in the 55th Venice Biennale. He has been commissioned to create monumental outdoor projects by the Public Art Fund at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza at Central Park, New York (2019); the Walker Art Center for the museum’s Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis (2017); and Rokin Square, Amsterdam (2017). Mark Manders participated in group exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2019); Fondazione Prada, Milan (2018); Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai (2018); Palace of Versailles, Versailles (2017); WIELS, Brussels (2017); Louvre, Paris (2015); S.M.A.K., Ghent (2015); Guggenheim Museum, New York (2015); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2014); Bonnefantenmuseum,  Maastricht (2014); 21er Haus, Vienna (2014); The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford (2012); Menil Collection, Houston (2012); David Roberts Arts Foundation, London (2012); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012); Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2011); DESTE Foundation, Athens (2011); and Kunsthalle Bern (2010), amongst many others.Mark Manders’ work can be found in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Kunsthaus Zürich; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis among others.

TANYA BONAKDAR GALLERY

521 West 21 Street, New York, NY 10011
www.tanyabonakdargallery.com

Mark Sheinkman @ Lennon, Weinberg, NYC

Mark Sheinkman: New Paintings
Lennon, Weinberg, New York
Through May 18, 2019

Mark Sheinkman
MARK SHEINKMAN
Montauk, 2019 
18 x 14”, oil on linen
(c) Mark Sheinkman, Courtesy Lennon, Weinberg, New York

Mark Sheinkman’s paintings have long been characterized by sinuous linear marks, created by a subtractive technique of erasure through a layer of graphite and oil over a white ground. For quite some time, the gestures were relaxed, smoky and curvy, but the works in his first exhibition at Lennon, Weinberg in 2017 were dense with gestural activity, more layered, twisty, sometimes spiky, with more incidents of painterly, additive paint application.

His signature tonal gradation has now been upended by a return to color, an element he hasn’t used in a long time. But it is interesting in hindsight to look at certain paintings that had been in our 2017 show, and recognize that a significant evolution had already appeared on the horizon. Structures organized around tight bundles of lines, in works such as Hooper, have now been separated by color, testing the cohesiveness of the compositions. It’s good to push against the boundaries of our comfort zones and, to his credit, Mark Sheinkman has been doing exactly that.

The colors he has chosen for the new paintings are both nuanced and specific. A few of them, Forbell and Montauk for example, are largely monochromatic and therefore not so distant from the noncolored paintings that preceded them. Two other paintings, Hull and Cozine, are two-color blue and orange paintings with asymmetric compositions that entwine the complementary pairings into an unstable yet resolved dialogue. Hampton is an outlier in that color serves not only as the figure but also fills the ground, and the tiny Linwood is a lovely and spare capture of a single, continuous gesture over a pentimenti, a shadow of a painting behind.

In the other paintings in the show, including the largest, Hendrix, red, blue, yellow and orange gather in clusters over white grounds, with hazy atmospheres resulting from the layering of additive and subtractive processes. The compositions are equally considered and improvisatory, the gestural marks less sculpted and more forthrightly painted than in his previous works. Mark Sheinkman is a painter who has tended to adapt and advance within self-imposed restrictions. These paintings result from a welcome, if not inevitable, phase of an artist’s progress when it’s time to be less deliberative and just let it fly. The paintings in this show are evidence that by widening his horizon to include color, he has found a fertile direction for the future evolution of his distinctive work.

Mark Sheinkman
MARK SHEINKMAN
Hendrix, 2019
84 x 76”, oil on linen
(c) Mark Sheinkman, Courtesy Lennon, Weinberg, New York

MARK SHEINKMAN was born in New York in 1963 and received a B.A. from Princeton University. He began exhibiting his work in New York in 1989, and before long had solo shows at galleries in Houston, London and Belgium. In 1997, he began a long association with Von Lintel Gallery in Munich, later located in New York and Los Angeles where he has had three exhibitions since 2014. He also exhibits regularly at Steven Zevitas Gallery in Boston. He had solo exhibitions at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri in 2005, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan in 2008 and the Museum Gegenstandsfreier Kunst, Otterndorf, Germany in 2009.

In recent years, his work has been included in group exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Crocker Museum in Sacramento and the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

His work is included in the permanent collections of numerous museums including the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum in New York, the National Gallery in Washington, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Grand Rapids Museum of Art, the Harvard University Art Museum in Cambridge, Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, and the Weatherspoon Art Gallery in Greensboro, North Carolina.

LENNON, WEINBERG
514 West 25th Street, New York, NY 10001
www.lennonweinberg.com

Donald Sultan @ Ryan Lee Gallery, NYC - Mimosa, Paintings and Drawings

Donald Sultan: Mimosa, PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS
Ryan Lee Gallery, New York
Through May 11, 2019

RYAN LEE presents Donald Sultan: Mimosa, PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS, an exhibition of new work by the acclaimed artist. Inspired by a gift of mimosa blossoms he received from a friend in the South of France, Sultan began using the structure of the mimosa plant to continue his interrogation of the space between abstraction and representation, the organic and the industrial, as well as the history of modern art. The exhibition includes largescale drawings and monumental paintings, ranging from four to eight feet wide, respectively. This is the first exhibition of Donald Sultan’s Mimosa paintings and the show is accompanied by a catalogue.

Donald Sultan executed the paintings and drawings simultaneously, and as a result they inform each other. Working out the density of charcoal and conte in the drawings first led Sultan to the paintings in which he uses roofing tar and enamel to create a richly textured surface. He continues his use of industrial materials, such as Masonite and vinyl along with the tar and enamel, to construct his paintings, which in their scale, heft, and dimensionality, are sculptural as well as architectural. Their exposed sides and edges reveal the process of their creation. Unlike prior series in which Donald Sultan carved directly into the surface of the painting to generate his imagery, in the Mimosas he builds up the surface through a series of layering techniques applied directly to the Masonite.

In Mimosa Jan 16 2019, a cascade of black and brown leaves washes across the eight-by- eightfoot Masonite surface. The range in depth and luminosity of the dark palette is the result of washing the tar with turpentine after its application—a technique Sultan borrowed from his groundbreaking Disaster paintings of the 1980s. Combining fluid gestural brushwork with the precision of stencils and decals, Donald Sultan creates a composition that is at once explosive and contained.

Color plays an especially prominent role in these new works as exemplified by the lush green foliage in Mimosa With Orange and Green Oct 3 2018. In other paintings, passages of light blue suggest the sundrenched skies of Southern France, and Donald Sultan’s mimosa blossoms range in color from dark blue, to orange, deep green, and indigo.

The circular forms that Sultan makes use of visualize the interconnectedness across the organic and artificial realms, and link this new body of work to prior series, such as the Morning Glories, Buttons, and Dominoes of the 1990s. The flattened discs have served as the center of a flower, the holes in a button, or in the case of the Mimosas, an entire blossom. Donald Sultan has said, “the closer you work from reality the more abstract things can get.” In distilling the mimosa plant into the fundamental geometry of its leaves and blossoms, it becomes something conceptual. It functions as a vehicle for the exploration of visual ideas—the “armature,” as Sultan has called it, for a “gestural thought of leaves in general.”

DONALD SULTAN (b. 1951 Asheville, NC) is an internationally recognized artist best known for elevating the still life tradition through the deconstruction of his subjects into basic forms as well as his use of industrial materials. He studied at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and later received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute, Chicago. Donald Sultan rose to prominence in the late 1970s as part of the “New Image” movement, and his first solo exhibition was mounted in 1977 at Artists Space in New York. He has since exhibited worldwide in solo and group exhibitions, including the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Gotlands KonstMuseum, Sweden; Institute of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Memphis Brooks Museum, Memphis; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musée d’art Contemporain, Montreal; National galerie, Berlin; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. His work is included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; British Museum, London; Cincinnati Art Museum; Cleveland Art Museum; Dallas Museum of Fine Arts; Detroit Institute of Arts; Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University, Cambridge; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Ludwig Museum, Budapest; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Neuberger Museum at SUNY Purchase, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Singapore Museum of Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Gallery, London; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Sultan lives and works in New York City.

RYAN LEE GALLERY
515 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001
ryanleegallery.com

April 21, 2019

Félix Fénéon @ Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, Paris

Félix Fénéon 1861 - 1944. Les arts lointains
Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, Paris
28 mai - 29 septembre 2019

Maximilien Luce, Félix Fénéon, 1901
Huile sur toile, 45,5 x 39 cm
© musée d’Orsay, Paris

Critique d’art, éditeur, directeur de galerie, collectionneur de peintures et d’arts « lointains », Félix Fénéon – figure centrale du monde intellectuel et artistique au tournant du 20e siècle – défend une vision décloisonnée de la création. Le musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, les musées d’Orsay et de l’Orangerie, The Museum of Modern Art, New York rendent pour la première fois hommage à sa personnalité hors du commun avec une exposition conçue tel un portrait en deux chapitres.

Le premier chapitre, exposé au musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, revient sur les choix de Félix Fénéon en tant que collectionneur et sur la constitution de sa collection remarquable, comptant un nombre considérable de peintures et l’un des plus importants ensembles d’arts extra-européens de son époque.

Le second chapitre, présenté au musée de l’Orangerie, évoque les convictions anarchistes de Félix Fénéon et son action en faveur des artistes à travers ses critiques, expositions et acquisitions. Promoteur du Néo-impressionnisme, Fénéon a défendu avec passion un art nouveau à travers les oeuvres de ses amis pointillistes, Seurat et Signac en particulier. Il fut également un membre actif du cercle de La Revue blanche avant de s’engager, en 1906, aux côtés des Fauves et des Futuristes à l’époque où il était directeur artistique de la galerie Bernheim-Jeune.

De la révélation des arts non-européens à la publication des Illuminations de Rimbaud en passant par la défense des symbolistes et l’émergence d’un nouvel ordre esthétique, cette exposition en deux temps célèbre la sensibilité moderne de Félix Fénéon, à la fois passeur et découvreur. En 2020, The Museum of Modern Art, New York présentera une synthèse de ces deux expositions.

Étrier de poulie de métier à tisser
© musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac,
Photo Claude Germain

Au musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, les œuvres africaines et océaniennes montrées en regard de toiles contemporaines de certains artistes qu’il a défendus retracent l’histoire de sa collection et son rôle décisif dans l’évolution du regard porté sur les arts extra-européens. Auteur d’une enquête sur les « arts lointains », publiée en 1920 dans le Bulletin de la Vie Artistique, Félix Fénéon œuvre pour la reconnaissance des arts non-occidentaux en questionnant le statut de ces sculptures et objets. « Seront-ils admis au Louvre ? » s’interroge-t-il alors dans un article perçu aujourd’hui comme l’un des textes fondateurs du musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, près d’un siècle avant le manifeste de Jacques Kerchache (Les chefs-d’œuvre du monde entier naissent libres et égaux, 1990). Au travers d’une sélection d’œuvres majeures qu’il a aimées, défendues et collectionnées tout au long de sa vie, l’exposition révèle l’importance de la collection de Fénéon.

Le parcours qui s’ouvre sur un portrait par Maximilien Luce, présente les multiples facettes de l’homme, à la fois critique, directeur de La Revue Blanche, éditeur. La première section, « L’Afrique noire et ses amateurs », permet au visiteur de comprendre dans quel contexte historique et culturel Félix Fénéon a constitué sa collection. Le visiteur découvre autour de figures artistiques et littéraires de l’époque comme le marchand d’art Paul Guillaume, l’artiste Lucie Cousturier ou d’autres amis de Félix Fénéon, la passion croissante pour « l’Art Nègre » dans les années 1920.

La seconde section évoque plus précisément l’engagement de Félix Fénéon pour les arts extra-européens au travers de l’enquête publiée dans le Bulletin de la Vie Artistique et de sa participation, par des prêts généreux, aux grandes expositions d’art primitif dans l’entre-deux guerre.

Enfin, la troisième séquence de l’exposition offre un panorama de la collection de Fénéon, qui en son temps apparu rapidement comme incontournable.

Des statues africaines anthropomorphes et féminines au Poseuses de Seurat, la proximité des œuvres permet un dialogue entre des techniques, époques et origines différentes. L’exposition rend compte du regard visionnaire de Félix Fénéon – dépourvu de frontières. Fidèle à ce regard près d’un siècle plus tard, le musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac lui rend hommage.

Commissaires de l’exposition
Isabelle Cahn, conservateur général des peintures, musée d’Orsay
Philippe Peltier, ancien responsable de l’Unité patrimoniale Océanie – Insulinde au musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac
Au Museum of Modern Art, New York, le commissariat est assuré par Starr Figura, conservatrice, et Anna Blaha, assistante curatoriale du département des dessins et estampes du Museum of Modern Art, New York

MUSEE DU QUAI BRANLY - JACQUES CHIRAC, PARIS
Exposition Mezzanine Est
www.quaibranly.fr

April 20, 2019

Frank Stella @ Marianne Boesky Gallery, NYC

Frank Stella: Recent Work
Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
April 25 - June 22, 2019

Marianne Boesky Gallery presents an exhibition of recent sculptures by renowned artist FRANK STELLA. Ranging from the monumental to the intimately-scaled, the featured sculptures capture Frank Stella’s ongoing exploration of the spatial relationships between abstract and geometric forms and the ways in which they behave in and engage with physical space. In these newest works, Stella combines interlocking grids with more fluid and organic lines, creating a dynamic interplay between minimalist and gestural visual vocabularies. Frank Stella: Recent Work will be on view across both of the gallery’s Chelsea locations at 509 and 507 W. 24th Street.

Frank Stella’s decades-long career is synonymous with artistic innovation. From his early Black Paintings, which dramatically shifted the dialogues on abstract art, to his use of both the formal qualities of painting and sculpture to produce his Polish Village series in the 1970s, and through to his use of computer modeling and 3D printing, from the 1990s and into the present, Stella has continued to push compositional boundaries. His experimentation with and use of line, color, and form have resulted in strikingly different effects—on the canvas and in three dimensions. Stella’s boundless vision has resulted in a new body of work that freshly engages the grid as well as the star and ribbon motifs that have appeared throughout his oeuvre.

In some works, like Atalanta and Hippomenes (2017), the rigid structure of the grid is broken by the application of large, billowing white forms that seem to weave and expand across the vertical and horizontal planes. Inspired by the ethereal quality of smoke rings—which have long captivated Stella— the abstract form appears weightless despite its grand scale. This sensation is further accentuated by the way the grid is affixed to the wall, giving it a contrasting feel of solidity. In others, such as Leeuwarden II (2017), the fiberglass grid is suspended within a metal frame, with brightly-colored, almost neon, ribbons dramatically swooping in and out of it, imbuing the work with a vivid sense of motion. The juxtaposition of materials, from colored fiberglass to bare steel to PU-foam, adds further texture and depth to the sculptures and contributes to the shifting experience of the work as one changes position and perspective.

The star, which first entered Frank Stella’s visual lexicon in the early 1960s with his Dartmouth Paintings and became increasingly prominent in his work in the 2000s, continues to serve as an important source of inspiration and point of departure. In Jasper's Split Star (2017), Stella produces the form in monumental scale—the sculpture measuring approximately 18 by 20 by 18 feet. The star’s sides, which are in parts gridded, push in and outward, creating an unexpectedly sinuous form and disrupting our expectations of the rectilinear lines of the grid. In sculptures like Nessus and Dejanira (2017), the star becomes part of a larger constellation of grids and organic forms. Named for figures in Greek mythology, the work is a kind of microcosm of the conceptual inquiries and formal themes that have driven Frank Stella’s practice since the late 1950s.

Born in Malden, Massachusetts and based in New York City, FRANK STELLA (b. 1936) has produced an extraordinary body of work over the past six decades. Since his first solo gallery exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery in 1960, Frank Stella has exhibited widely throughout the U.S. and abroad. Early in his career, his work was included in a number of significant exhibitions that defined the art in the postwar era, including Sixteen Americans (Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1959), Geometric Abstraction (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1962) The Shaped Canvas (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1964-65), Systemic Painting (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1966), Documenta 4 (1968), and Structure of Color (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1971). In 2017, NSU Art Museum, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, organized Frank Stella: Experiment and Change, an exhibition that featured 300 works from across Stella’s 60-year career. His work is held in more than 50 public collections, including in the holdings of some of the most preeminent museums in the U.S. Stella’s most recent work uses digital modeling to explore how subtle changes in scale, texture, color, and material can affect our perception and experience of an object.

MARIANNE BOESKY GALLERY
509 and 507 W. 24th Street, New York, NY 10011
www.marianneboeskygallery.com

April 19, 2019

Firelei Báez @ James Cohan Gallery, New York

Firelei Báez: Je bâtis a roches mon langage
James Cohan Gallery, New York
April 20 - June 16, 2019

Firelei Báez
FIRELEI BAEZ
Je bâtis a roches mon langage, 2019
Perforated tarp, printed mesh, artificial
and real plants; two paintings
© Firelei Báez, Courtesy James Cohan, New York

James Cohan presents Je bâtis a roches mon langage, an exhibition of new work by Firelei Báez, at the gallery’s Lower East Side location. This is the artist’s debut solo exhibition at James Cohan.

Dominican-born, New York-based artist Firelei Báez reconfigures visual references drawn from the past to explore new possibilities for the future. Incorporating subject matter from a breadth of diasporic narratives, the artist’s intricate works on paper and canvas, large-scale sculptures, and installations explore the ways in which personal and collective identities are shaped by inherited histories. Firelei Báez incorporates the visual languages of regionally-specific mythology and ritual alongside those of science fiction and fantasy, to envision identities as unfixed, and inherited stories as perpetually-evolving. By rendering spectacular bodies that exist on opposite sides of intersecting boundaries, Firelei Báez carries portraiture into an in-between space where subjectivity is rooted in historical narratives as much as it can likewise become untethered by them.

Acknowledging the reciprocal nature of migration as a non-linear course of movement, Firelei Báez creates sites of connectivity, where overlapping histories and modes of understanding coexist. For Je bâtis a roches mon langage, the artist has created an immersive installation in the main gallery that spreads into the reception area. The space is cocooned in hand-perforated blue tarp—often used for temporary shelter, and thus a symbol of both disaster and refuge—casting light onto material patterned with black diasporic symbols of nurturing and resistance. Overhead is a geo-specific map of the stars as they appeared in the night sky at the onset of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804). A successful uprising led by self-liberated enslaved people against the French colonial government in Saint-Domingue, the Haitian Revolution was an early precursor to abolition movements internationally and had an indelible—if often unacknowledged—impact on the ideological and geopolitical landscape of the 19th century world. The installation’s oceanic quality suggests the broader history of black diaspora and the Middle Passage, in relationship to Glissant’s theory of the ocean as a connector and a repository of physical memory.

Facing each other within the tented installation are two imaginative portraits of empowered, black female protagonists. The viewer is positioned in the discursive space between their mutual gaze. The artist’s portrayals draw reference to the Haitian priestesses whose revolutionary contributions are absent from its heroic retellings, and tignons, head-coverings women of color were legally required to wear in 18th century New Orleans. Rendered in spectacular color, their bodies are in flux—always in the process of being made and unmade. For Firelei Báez, painting becomes a means of giving form to memory, evincing the idea that presence is not negated by passing.

With Je bâtis a roches mon langage, Firelei Báez has created a generative space in which the transmission of dominant historical narratives and ideologies can be reexamined, subaltern histories excavated, and new speculative possibilities explored. Throughout the run of the exhibition, the artist will organize readings and programs that break down and expand the white cube of the gallery, inviting others to enrich and activate the space with their own narratives and experiences.

FIRELEI BAEZ (b. 1981, Dominican Republic) received an M.F.A. from Hunter College, a B.F.A. from the Cooper Union’s School of Art, and studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work is the subject of 2019 solo exhibitions at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and the Mennello Museum of Art, Orlando, FL. The artist’s monumental outdoor sculpture, 19.604692°N 72.218596°W, is included in En Plein Air, the 2019 High Line Art exhibition. Her current commission for the Modern Window at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, is on view through November. Firelei Báez recently participated in the 2018 Berlin Biennale, and was also featured in biennials Prospect.3: Notes for Now (2014), Bronx Calling: The Second AIM Biennial (2013), and El Museo’s Bienal: The (S) Files (2011). Her major 2015 solo exhibition Bloodlines was organized by the Pérez Art Museum Miami and travelled to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Firelei Báez is the recipient of many awards: most recently, the United States Artists Fellowship (2019), the College Art Association Artist Award for Distinguished Body of Work (2018), the Future Generation Art Prize (2017), the Chiaro Award (2016), and Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors (2011). Her work belongs to the permanent collections of institutions including of the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, MO; Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL; The Cleveland Clinic Fine Art Collection, Cleveland, OH; Phillip and Tracey Riese Foundation, New York, NY; San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA; Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, Hamilton College, Clinton, NY; Sindika Dokolo Foundation Collection, Luanda, Angola; Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA; and the Salomon Foundation for Contemporary Art, Annecy, France.

JAMES COHAN GALLERY
291 Grand St., New York, NY 10002
www.jamescohan.com

Rémy Zaugg @ Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin - "I, Myself"

Rémy Zaugg: "I, Myself"
Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin 
April 27 - May 25, 2019 

For the first time since it was first exhibited 15 years ago, Rémy Zaugg’s comprehensive self-portrait “I, myself.” (2002/03, comprising 18 pale grey text-paintings in different sizes, will be on view again. Swiss artist Rémy Zaugg (1943–2005) is renowned for his works that merge the domains of image and language, engaging the viewer in a complex discussion on perception as well the relevance of modernist abstract painting. Rémy Zaugg’s paintings address not only the act of seeing but cognition as a holistic process of the entire perceptual apparatus. Starting with his work “Esquisses perceptives d’un tableau” (1963–68), his annotations to a painting by Paul Cézanne, the artist has systematically developed this relationship between artwork, viewer and context into the central topic of his multidisciplinary oeuvre.

“I, myself.” derives from a meticulous production process. Industrially fabricated, the paintings’ smooth surfaces show no trace of their making, nor those of human touch, and thus emphasise instead the relation of colour and text. Perfect and without history, they are devoid of any associations to painting. The number of words printed onto the aluminium panels in white automotive paint determines the individual size of each painting. The texts are short, fragmentary, partly poetic, but never simple. The white lettering hardly stands out against the light-grey background. Thus overstimulating our senses, the contours start to vibrate so that reading the text irritates one’s eyes. In addition, the minimally different grey hues of the various paintings complicate the act of seeing. Full of contradictions and paradoxes these paintings force us into a state of radical awareness of our own perceptual process and its limitations.

Paul Cézanne is also a reference point for “I, myself.” Rémy Zaugg draws on the long history of the self-portrait from Dürer to Lassnig, where the self-portrait became a tool for self-examination and self-confession, making apparent the artist’s grappling both with the self and the work. At the same time, these works transcend the personal and disclose the artist’s relationship to the world. Unlike Cézanne, who set up a mirror to confront his own self, Rémy Zaugg turns his paintings into mirrors and entrusts the viewer with the existential question “Who am I?”

The themes of self-reflection and the related question of the basic principles determining our gaze appear today to be more relevant than ever. “I, myself.” offers neither certainties nor easy visual pleasure. “The artist makes an effort to wipe the smile off the faces of those who are knowledgeable, are in the know, and who know what they know,” Rémy Zaugg wrote in 1986 on the responsibility of the artist. The world is different to each of us, he insists, and our perception is unique.

Introduction by curator Eva Schmidt: April, 27, 3 pm. Opening hours during Gallery Weekend Berlin: Saturday, April 27 + Sunday, April 28, 11 am - 7 pm

GALERIE NORDENHAKE
Lindenstrasse 34, 10969 Berlin
nordenhake.com

April 18, 2019

Lucian Freud @ Acquavella Galleries, NYC - Monumental

Lucian Freud: Monumental
Acquavella Galleries, New York
Through May 24, 2019

Acquavella Galleries presents Lucian Freud: Monumental, a loan exhibition focusing on the artist’s naked portraits, a subject that has long enjoyed special significance in his oeuvre. Curated by the artist’s longtime studio assistant and friend, David Dawson, Monumental includes thirteen major paintings, including depictions of his most important models from the 1990s and 2000s.  

The exhibition begins with work from 1990, when Lucian Freud began painting the performance artist Leigh Bowery, who is featured here in two works. Inspired by Bowery’s impressive physique, Freud began working on a larger scale that emphasized the physical presence of his subjects. These large-scale portraits ushered in a new sense of monumentality in the artist’s body of work. Also on view is Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, one of two paintings in the show from the mid-1990s of Sue Tilley, the other essential model from this pivotal time in Lucian Freud’s career. David Dawson himself as well as Lucian Freud’s familiar whippets also make multiple appearances in paintings in the exhibition. 

Despite the grand scale, Lucian Freud’s subjects are depicted with a sense of intimacy, penetrating honesty and psychological depth. This was due in part to the extraordinary amount of time the artist spent with his sitters. Ria, Naked Portrait required the art handler Ria Kirby, whom Lucian Freud met while installing a show at the Victoria & Albert Museum, to come to the studio nearly every day for 16 months in 2006 and 2007.  
Being naked has to do with making a more complete portrait, a naked body is somehow more permanent, more factual…. When someone is naked there is in effect nothing to be hidden. Not everyone wants to be that honest about themselves, that means I feel an obligation to be equally honest in how I represent them. It is a matter of responsibility, in a way I don’t want the painting to come from me, I want it to come from them. It can be extraordinary how much you can learn from someone by looking very carefully at them without judgement. — Lucian Freud 
The show includes important loans from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, The Lewis Collection, in addition to other private collections. 

This is the sixth solo exhibition over the course of Acquavella Galleries’ longstanding relationship with Lucian Freud and, since the artist’s death in 2011, his estate. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog featuring essays by Dawson and Michael Auping, longtime chief curator at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, who interviewed Lucian Freud between May 2009 and January 2011. 

David Dawson was Lucian Freud’s assistant from 1991 through 2011, and he is now director of the Lucian Freud Archive. He co-edited last year’s two-volume survey of the artist’s work published by Phaidon. He is currently preparing an exhibition of Freud’s self-portraits for the Royal Academy, London, in October. Dawson also continues to work as a painter in his own right.  

Lucian Freud (1922–2011) was one of the most significant painters from the postwar period through the first decade of this century. A grandson of Sigmund Freud, he was born in Berlin and moved with his family to London in 1931. He served in the British navy during World War II, and immediately after began working full time as a painter. Committed to figurative painting for the entirety of his career, Lucian Freud built a formidable reputation as a painter of portraiture. 

The work of Lucian Freud is represented in major private and public collections worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and the Art Institute of Chicago as well as the Tate and National Picture Gallery in London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid; among many others. 

ACQUAVELLA GALLERIES
18 East 79th Street, New York, NY 10075
www.acquavellagalleries.com

Chema Madoz @ Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris

Chema Madoz
Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Paris
26 avril - 29 mai 2019

Né à Madrid en 1958, Chema Madoz découvre la prise de vue et le tirage photographique en autodidacte au début des années 1980, dans l’effervescence créatrice de la Movida. Il commence à exposer ses oeuvres en 1983 tout en travaillant comme employé de banque. C’est au début des années 1990 qu’il choisit d’arrêter de photographier les personnes et les paysages pour se consacrer uniquement aux objets. Le photographe les glane dans les brocantes, les boutiques ou même les poubelles, aux hasards des rues.

Il dit « Avec la photographie, j’ai découvert la possibilité de mettre en évidence toutes les images qui me passent par la tête. Par sa brièveté et son intensité, la photographie est proche de la poésie. ». Avec la fragilité d’un nuage, d’un fil ou d’un papillon, les oeuvres de Chema Madoz nous plongent parfois dans un rêve éveillé, un instant figé grâce à la photographie. A la manière des haïkus japonais, leur simplicité n’est qu’apparente et invite à une méditation sur l’existence et l’impermanence.

Le processus de création commence par une idée, un croquis puis se concrétise en objet, presque une sculpture, avant la prise de vue et le tirage. Chema Madoz combine, assemble ou oppose les objets et c’est la photographie qui les révèle, en leur ôtant leur banalité en même temps que leur couleur. Chema Madoz travaille de manière traditionnelle, en moyen format avec un Hasselblad et en lumière naturelle. Son studio est un espace de création qui lui permet de travailler sur plusieurs oeuvres en même temps et de réunir les objets pour inventer d’autres rencontres.

La Galerie Esther Woerdehoff représente Chema Madoz en France depuis près de 15 ans. En 2018, elle a conçu une grande exposition rétrospective de son oeuvre au Château d’Hauterives - Palais idéal du Facteur Cheval. Dans la suite de cette rétrospective, elle présente un nouveau regard sur l’oeuvre de ce grand photographe accompagné d’une sélection de photographies inédites. 

Florence Pillet

GALERIE ESTHER WOERDEHOFF
36 rue Falguière, 75015 Paris
www.ewgalerie.com

April 16, 2019

Tomory Dodge @ Miles McEnery Gallery, NYC

Tomory Dodge
Miles McEnery Gallery, New York
18 April - 24 May 2019

Tomory Dodge
TOMORY DODGE
Rabbit, 2019
Oil on canvas
60 x 48 inches, 152.4 x 121.9 cm 
© Tomory Dodge, Courtesy Miles McEnery Gallery, New York

MILES MCENERY GALLERY presents an inaugural solo exhibition of new paintings by TOMORY DODGE, at 525 West 22nd Street. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication featuring an essay by Christopher Miles.

Tomory Dodge’s new paintings are dynamic, liminal, and constantly in flux. In this new body of work, Tomory Dodge continues to explore concepts of transition by continuously building, destroying, and transforming layers of thick oil paint with fluid brushstrokes. His works depict irregular shapes and clashing planes that coalesce into compositions of organized chaos, challenging viewers to reflect on the process and meaning of picture-making.

The paintings on view show the making of a painting, its transformations, discoveries, and ultimately its arrival. Emphasizing on the idea that painting has somewhere to go in the modern world, just like it did before, Tomory Dodge approaches each work with an open mind. First, he sees the paint itself, its application, texture, color, and thickness. Second, he observes the representations–abstract and figurative–that the paint naturally makes. Through a process of experimentation and transformation, the artist’s practice consists of finding the painting within a painting by creating a large composition of smaller paintings all together.

Tomory Dodge’s process contains duality that is instinctual yet focused on the physicality of paint and the process of painting. Using non- deciphering titles, he creates opportunities to experiment in numerous ways, including negative and positive space, and pattern. In one single image, the artist calls into question boundaries, fluidity of content and content’s inseparability from form. As Christopher Miles says, “For Dodge, painting is a place where all of the stars in you and me can’t be accounted for numerically or pictorially, but where the feeling and the thought that go with those words can be found, right where the artist found it. Dodge’s paintings are caught in the act, by their maker and their viewers.”

Christopher Miles also notes, “Dodge’s paintings establish agency–made by the artist launching into and working through puzzles, fine messes, and maybe even occasional quagmires to world-build within the universe of the canvas, and to propose painting that is informed, astute, imaginative, and alive.”

TOMORY DODGE (b. 1974 in Denver, CO) received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1998 from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI, and his Master of Fine Arts degree in 2004 from the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA. He also completed the Rhode Island School of Design European Honors Program in Rome, Italy in 1997.

Recent solo exhibitions include Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY; Lux Art Institute, Encinitas, CA (2018); Cherry and Martin (2018); CRG Gallery, New York, NY (2017, 2014, 2011); Inman Gallery, Houston, TX (2017); ACME., Los Angeles, CA (2015, 2013, 2012); Alison Jacques Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2014, 2010); and Monica De Cardenas Galleria, Zuoz, Switzerland (2012). Recent group exhibitions include “Yin/Yang,” O-O L A, Los Angeles, CA; “Belief in Giants,” Miles McEnery Gallery, New York, NY; “Color & Pattern,” Pivot Art + Culture, Seattle, WA; “Stranger Than Paradise,” Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, RI; “Tom Friedman (+The Birthday Show),” 1969 Gallery, New York, NY; “Passage,” ACME., Los Angeles, CA; “I’ll Not Be In Your Damn Ledger,” CRG Gallery, New York, NY; “Grafforists,” Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA; “Cult of Color,” Circuit 12, Dallas, TX; “Lost in a Sea of Red,” The Pit, Glendale, CA; “One Foot on the Ground,” James Harris Gallery, Seattle, WA; “Mona,” 68 Projects, Berlin, Germany; “Remains,” Durden and Ray, Los Angeles, CA; “An Appetite for Painting,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Roskilde, Denmark; “NOW-ISM: Abstraction Today,” Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH; “An Appetite for Painting, National Museum of Contemporary Art, ” Oslo, Norway; “Painters’ Painters, ” Saatchi Gallery, London, United Kingdom; “INCOGNI TO 10, ” Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA; “20 Years of ACME.,” ACME., Los Angeles, CA; “Odd Harmonics,” Judith Charles Gallery, New York, NY; “Tomory Dodge & Denyse Thomasos: Directions to a Dirty Place,” Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC; “Pulp2,” Beta Pictoris Gallery, Maus Contemporary, Birmingham, AL; “To Live and Paint in LA,” Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, C A; and “Chasm of the Supernova, ” Center for the Arts Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA .

His artworks are included in the permanent collections of Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, TN; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL; RISD Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; USC Fisher Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Greensboro, NC; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.

Tomory Dodge lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

MILES MCENERY GALLERY
525 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011
www.milesmcenery.com