martedì 20 settembre 2016

Deborah Kass: Art Histories | Paul Anthony Smith: Blurred Lines

Deborah Kass: Art Histories

Deborah Kass
Opening September 22, 2016 from 7-9 pm

Brand New Gallery is pleased to present Deborah Kass: Art Histories, the artist’s first solo show in Italy. The exhibition will feature a group works from the most interesting series the artist realized during her long career.

In 1992 Kass began The Warhol Project. Using Andy Warhol’s technical and stylistic language to represent figures in many cases no less iconic, Kass nevertheless turned Warhol’s ambivalent relationship to popular culture on its head by choosing subjects that had an explicitly personal and political relationship to her own cultural interests. Kass painted artists and art historians that were her “heroes” in the vein of Warhol’s celebrities. Her My Elvis series speaks to gender and ethic identity by replacing Warhol’s Elvis with Barbra Streisand from "Yentl": a 1983 film in which Streisand plays a Jewish woman who dresses and lives as a man in order to receive an education in the Talmudic Law. In My Elvis, Kass states her concerns about gender relations, promotes feminist advocacy in society, and directly challenges patriarchy.

Kass’s Self Portraits as Warhol nod to the act of drag performed in her all appropriation of Warhol’s work (Blue Deb, 2000).

In The Jewish Jackie Series (1992–93), Kass borrowed Warhol’s checkerboard-like compositions and inserted in the rectangles repeated Barbra Streisand (a photograph of whose head in profile with the nose held high) in place of his Jackies, Marilyns, or Judys.

In 2002, Kass began a new body of work, Feel Good Paintings for Feel Bad Times, inspired, in part, by her reaction to the Bush administration. These works combine stylistic devices from a wide variety of post-war painting, including Ellsworth Kelly, Frank Stella, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, and Ed Ruscha, along with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Laura Nyro, and Sylvester, among others, pulling from popular music, Broadway show tunes, the Great American Songbook, Yiddish, and film. The paintings view American art and culture of the last century through the lens of that time period’s outpouring of creativity that was the result of post-war optimism, a burgeoning middle class, and democratic values. Responding to the uncertain political and ecological climate of the new century in which they have been made, Kass’s work looks back on the 20th century critically and simultaneously with great nostalgia, throwing the present into high relief. Drawing from the divergent realms of art history, popular culture, political realities, and her own political and philosophical reflection, the artist continues into the present the explorations that have characterized her paintings since the 1980s in these new hybrid textual and visual works.

Deborah Kass has recently declared her support for Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton with a bold, Andy Warhol-style artwork. Under the face of Donald Trump, Kass has scrawled the words “Vote Hillary.” The work mimics Warhol’s iconic screenprint Vote McGovern (1972), where the title words, urging viewers to support Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern, appear under the face of Republican incumbent Richard Nixon. Vote Hillary was produced to raise funds for the Clinton campaign, along with another edition by her fellow renowned artist and Hillary supporter, Chuck Close.

Deborah Kass
(b. 1952, San Antonio, TX) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Kass’s work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Jewish Museum and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The New Orleans Museum of Art, and the National Portrait Gallery, among others.
Recent solo exhibitions include Smile!, Shin Gallery (New York, NY, 2016); No Kidding, Paul Kasmin Gallery (New York, NY, 2015); OY/YO, Brooklyn, Bridge Park (Brooklyn, NY, 2015); Deborah Kass: Feel Good Paintings for Feel Bad Times, Arthur Roger Gallery (New Orleans, LA , 2014); My Elvis +, Paul Kasmin Gallery (New York, NY, 2013); Deborah Kass: Before and Happily Ever After, a Mid-Career Retrospective, Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh, PA, 2012). Recent group shows include: A Deeper Dive, Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (New York, NY, 2016); Art Aids America, Bronx Museum, Bronx (NY, 2016); No Man’s Land, Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection, The Rubell Family Collection (Miami, FL, 2015); Eye Pop: The Celebrity Gaze, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute (Washington, DC, 2015); Art Aids America, Tacoma Museum (Tacoma, WA, 2015); Kanibalizm? Cannibalism? On Appopriation in Art, Zacheta-National Gallery of Art (Warsaw, PL, 2015); Global Positioning Systems, Pérez Art Museum (Miami, FL, 2014); I, You, We, The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY, 2013); Beg, Borrow, and Steal, Palm Springs Art Museum (Palm Springs, CA, 2013); Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY, 2012); We The People, The Rauschenberg Foundation (New York, NY, 2012); Larger Than Life: A Century of Hollywood, Jewish Museum (Wien, AT, 2012).

In 2014, Kass was inducted into the New York Foundation for the Arts’ Hall of Fame. She is a member of the Board of the Andy Warhol Foundation and is Senior Critic of the Yale University MFA Painting Program.

Blurred Lines
Paul Anthony Smith
Opening September 22, 2016 from 7-9 pm

Brand New Gallery presents Blurred Lines, Paul Anthony Smith’s first European solo show. The exhibition will feature a group of large-scale paintings from Smith’s most recent body of work.

In Blurred Lines, Smith employs the use of drawing, layering cinderblocks to create walls of blurred lines. Smith continues the exploration of image manipulation, camouflaging ideas of nostalgia: how images are broken down into pixelated color blocks as a disguise to form walls.

His process started with 6 large photographs, which have been used in previous works. He painted cinder blocks on the photographs themselves —drawing with oil sticks, choosing colors corresponding to the photographs (in effect, turning a digital pixel into a handmade, expressive gesture). Then, using these prints as reference sketches, he recreated the cinder block pattern in the same colors drawing on canvases with a painted underlayer of white, blue, or bright yellow. This yellow color is of special significance to Jamaican cultures, notably the mango, commonly found on trees throughout the island. If someone has a mango tree, they will put any extra fruit out on their fence, often cinder block walls, for any passersby to take — making it a symbol of community in Jamaica, as opposed to its status as an expensive luxury item in the developed world.

Many of the bricks are black — however, they are all different shades of black (mixed with reds, greens, etc.), and this subtlety is hard to perceive on first glance.

Smith is very aware of the political overtones. The title “Blurred Lines” refers to both his mark-making as well as the blurred distinctions in contemporary culture and politics — including gun laws, tragedies across America, and ongoing immigration laws concerning the US-Mexico border.

Paul Anthony Smith
(b. 1988, St. Ann’s Bay, JM) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Paul Anthony Smith received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute.
His work will be featured in two group shows this fall: at the Next Wave: New Photography show at BAM of Brooklyn, New York; and at the PM/AM Gallery of London, UK. Recent solo exhibitions: On the Wall: Paul Anthony Smith, Providence College (Providence, RI, 2016); Yellow Tail Never Kick Rocks, Zieher Smith & Horton (New York, NY, 2015); Real Art Ways (Hartford, CT, 2014). Recent group exhibitions: Jamaican Pulse: Art and Politics from Jamaica and the Diaspora, Royal West Academy (Bristol, UK, 2016); Disguise: Masks and Global African Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art (Brooklyn, NY, 2016); Every Semester, Belger Arts Center (Kansas City, MO, 2016); Reality of my surroundings: The Contemporary Collection, Nasher Museum of Art (Durham, NC, 2015); Disguise: Masks and Global African Art, Seattle Museum of Art (Seattle, WA, 2015); Concealed, The Studio Museum Harlem, (New York, NY, 2015).

Notable collections include the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (Durham, NC), the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (Overland Park, KS), the Pilara Foundation Collection - Pier 24 Photography (San Francisco, CA), and the 21c Museum (Louisville, KY).


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