CAA News Today

Each month, CAA’s Committee on Women in the Arts selects the best in feminist art and scholarship. The following exhibitions and events should not be missed. Check the archive of CWA Picks at the bottom of the page, as several museum and gallery shows listed in previous months may still be on view or touring.

December 2012–January 2013

Mickalene Thomas: How to Organize a Room around a Striking Piece of Art
Lehman Maupin Gallery
540 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001; and 201 Chrystie Street, New York, NY 10002
November 14, 2012–January 5, 2013

The two-part Mickalene Thomas: How to Organize a Room around a Striking Piece of Art is a the artist’s third solo exhibition at Lehmann Maupin Gallery. The Lower East Side space will present new large-scale paintings depicting landscapes and interior scenes and a series of short films created during her recent travels in Europe. In Chelsea, Thomas’s first documentary film, Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman, will be shown alongside photographs of her mother and long-time muse, Sandra Bush. The film is an emotionally raw and loving portrait of Bush as she reflects on her life experiences, including her personal struggles and battle with chronic illness. Thomas will also re-create one of her tableau environments in the gallery, allowing viewers to fully immerse themselves in the artist’s world while watching the film.

Deborah Kass

Deborah Kass, Before and Happily Ever After, 1991, oil and acrylic on canvas, 72 x 60 in. (artwork © Deborah Kass)

Deborah Kass: Before and Happily Ever After
Andy Warhol Museum
117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212
October 27, 2012–January 6, 2012

Before and Happily Ever After is the first midcareer retrospective of Deborah Kass at the temple of the artist who unleashed her potent turn to pop culture in order to explore first her “absence” and then her “presence” in it as a lesbian Jewish woman, as she has recently said. Consisting of seventy-five works, the exhibition unites the abstraction of her early and most recent work, unravels the development of Kass’s audiovisual mining of art history and pop culture through breakthrough painting series (such as The Warhol Project, The Jewish Jackie, and her latest, feel good paintings for feel bad times), and offers an incredible opportunity to be marveled by the variety of politics—and pleasures—that underpin her affective yet multilayered dialogue with pop culture and the exploration of (her) identity through it. As Kass sheds her own light on Andy Warhol through her work, and as her work continues to defend the potent ways in which women artists have engaged pop culture, the show promises to pave the way for other dialogues between women (neo-Pop or Pop) artists with (American) Pop or Warhol at his museum.

Ann Hamilton: the event of a thread
Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10065
December 5, 2012–January 6, 2013

Ann Hamilton’s enchanting installation, the event of a thread, conducts a powerful, affective weaving of sounds, words, textures, and motions that shrouds the visitors with the intimacy of touch—the hand of cloth as the artist puts it—while translating the bodily intimacy of the “lap” and the daydream-like state of mind of “being read” into architectural scale and public experience. A multisensorial site-specific piece that is titled after a line from a definition of weaving by Anni Albers, the event of a thread is reminiscent of the artist’s childhood memories of daydreaming while being read in her grandma’s lap. Comprised of a field of swings, the installation is divided by an enormous silk glacial curtain whose motion is determined by the move of the swings and bracketed by a textile metaphorically being woven by the sonic threads of reading, writing, and live and recorded song. At the front of the installation two actors, covered with textured capes, read to caged birds, improvising combinations of Aristotelian excerpts that further elaborate on the role of touch in our self-awareness, weaving a tapestry of whispers that reach the visitors through separate speakers packaged in paper bags throughout the installation space. At the other end, rotating authors respond to the world outside and behind, weaving words into letters addressed to Far, to Near, to Time, to Sadness, and so on. In effect, the event of a thread reinstills belief in the viability and power of “relational” art as art literalizing its political claim to restoring the social bond by creating proximities through a strikingly intimate and poetic manner.

Caroline Burton: Prey
Accola Griefen Gallery
547 West 27th Street, No. 634, New York, NY 10001
December 7, 2012–January 12, 2013

In her first solo exhibition at Accola Griefen Gallery, Caroline Burton is exhibiting sculpture, painting, and drawing inspired by objects left behind or discarded. Her sculptural pillows in neutral tones allude to rest but render that impossible by the Hydrocal, wire, and canvas forms. Two rabbit’s feet cast in bronze hang on one wall and refer to the exhibition title. The exhibition also includes oil paintings on canvas, which depict discarded papers and rags.

Doing What You Want: Marie-Louise Ekman Accompanied by Sister Corita Kent, Mladen Stilinovic, and Martha Wilson
Tensta Konsthall
Taxingegränd 10, Box 4001, 163 04 Spånga, Stockholm, Sweden
October 18, 2012–January 13, 2013

Maria Lind, director of Tensta Konsthall, has interestingly used the work of a variety of artists, including Corita Kent and Martha Wilson, to flesh out the rebellious politics and feminist strategies of the work of Marie Louise Ekman, a fascinating and at times controversial figure of the Swedish art scene since the 1960s. Though a prominent artist who has worked in various media, celebrated in her home country mostly for her films, Ekman has not yet received the attention she deserves for her multifarious work that bridges Pop art and feminism from an idiosyncratic and often absurdist “girlie” point of view, radically exploring feminine identity and attacking bourgeois conventions. The exhibition focuses on her work from the 1960s to the 1980s, bringing together her transgressive objects that range from environments of Disney dolls and doll-occupied canvases, sewn silk, and pink fur objects to paintings on silk that straddle a variety of themes with her characteristic childish cartoony style.

Brooke Moyse

Brooke Moyse, Mount, 2011, oil on canvas, 72 x 80 in. (artwork © Brooke Moyse; photograph by Jason Mandella)

To Be a Lady: Forty-Five Women in the Arts
1285 Avenue of the Americas Art Gallery
1285 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019
September 24, 2012–January 18, 2013

Curated by Jason Andrew and organized by Norte Maar, this cross-disciplinary, cross-generational exhibition includes work by forty-five artists born over the last century “who happen to be women.” Those included are: Alma Thomas, Charmion von Wiegand, Louise Nevelson, Alice Neel, Barbara Morgan, Irene Rice Pereira, Janice Biala, May Wilson, Lenore Tawney, Louise Bourgeois, Edith Schloss, Grace Hartigan, Ruth Asawa, Betye Saar, Pat Passlof, Jay DeFeo, Susan Weil, Lee Bontecou, Viola Frey, Judy Dolnick, Kathleen Fraser, Hermine Ford, Mimi Gross, Nancy Grossman, Elizabeth Murray, Judy Pfaff, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Mira Schor, Mary Judge, Nancy Bowen, Lindsay Walt, Michelle Jaffé, Elisabeth Condon, Tamara Gonzales, Jessica Stockholder, Brece Honeycutt, Ellie Murphy, Julia K. Gleich, Austin Thomas, Ellen Letcher, Rachel Beach, Vanessa German, Kirsten Jensen, Brooke Moyse, and Nathlie Provosty.

Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos
New Museum of Contemporary Art
235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
October 24, 2012–January 20, 2013

Curated by Lynne Cooke, A Cosmos is a truly remarkable exhibition, both as a survey of Rosemarie Trockel’s work and as a combination of different curatorial and museum-display models that pertinently structure, interweave, and contextualize the artist’s signature themes and media, illuminating her multifarious work in a productive and enchanting way.

Kate Davis: Not Just the Perfect Moments
Drawing Room
Tannery Arts, 12 Rich Estate, Crimscott Street, London SE1 5TE, United Kingdom
December 4, 2012–February 2, 2013

Kate Davis, a New Zealand–born artist based in Glasgow, has produced a new body of commissioned work for her solo exhibition at Drawing Room. Questioning how to bear witness to the complexities of the past, her artwork is an attempt to reconsider, reclaim, and reinvent what certain histories could look, sound, and feel like. This has often involved responding to the aesthetic and political ambiguities of historical artworks and their reception. Working across a range of media, Davis has kept drawing at the critical core of her visual vocabulary, and this exhibition is the first time she addresses her relationship to the medium, its activity, and its history so directly. Focusing on ideologies perpetuated through certain approaches to the teaching of drawing, Not Just the Perfect Moments will attempt to stand alongside the late artist, Jo Spence, to reexamine and unpick some of the ways in which a representational practice, such as drawing, has constructed perceptions of the individual. Spence’s groundbreaking photographic works often asked who owns images—especially images of the body. In this exhibition, as with much of Davis’s practice, photography and drawing are brought into close relation and questioned as techniques for challenging, and caring for, a past and future.

The Female Gaze: Women Artists Making Their World
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum
118–128 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
November 17, 2012–April 7, 2013

With great treasures and many surprises, The Female Gaze: Women Artists Making Their World consists of works from the museum’s recently acquired Linda Lee Adler Collection of Art by Women, which boasts close to five hundred works of art (including paintings, photographs, drawings, watercolors, pastels, collage, prints, fabric pieces, ceramics, bronze, wood, and sculpture in other media) by over 150 artists. The gift includes works by artists not previously represented in the museum, such as Louise Bourgeois, Joan Brown, Viola Frey, Ana Mendieta, Christina Ramberg, Kiki Smith, and Beatrice Wood, as well as complementary works by artists already in the collection, including Gertrude Abercrombie, Edna Andrade, Diane Burko, Sue Coe, Janet Fish, Sarah McEneaney, Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson, Gladys Nilsson, Elizabeth Osborne, Betye Saar, and Nancy Spero. A fully illustrated catalogue, with contributions from Glenn Adamson, Anna C. Chave, Robert Cozzolino, Joanna Gardner-Huggett, Melanie Herzog, Janine Mileaf, Mey-Yen Moriuchi, Jodi Throckmorton, and Michele Wallace, is something to covet.

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