Gallery Presentation

Women Artists' Gallery Tour Presentation Tour of the Blanton Art Museum, singling out women artists that both physically and conceptually embrace the psychology of looking.

We are looking at two well known critics from New York's 1960's and 70's downtown art scene. Both were well known writers, intellectuals, and advocates of formal innovations in art. David Bourdon on the right, looks like he's just come from his job at Life Magazine, where he was an assistant editor when this was painted. Next to him unshaven and half undressed, Gregory Battcock appears unpresentable. He faces forward with his legs splayed apart modeling brightly colored socks and breifs that draw attention to body parts that are rarely seen in public. Alice Neel wants you to know more about these two than a mere portrait can capture she hints at public and private selves. Indeed, the two were lovers as well as artistic collaborators. Neel places them so that they are close but their knees and **** never touch. Alice Neel was one of the great American painters of the twentieth century. She was also a pioneer among women artists. A painter of people, landscape and still life, Neel was never fashionable or in step with avant-garde movements. Sympathetic to the expressionist spirit of northern Europe and Scandinavia and to the darker arts of Spanish painting, she painted in a style and with an approach distinctively her own. Neel was born near Philadelphia in 1900 and trained at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. She became a painter with a strong social conscience and equally strong left-wing beliefs. In the 1930s she lived in Greenwich Village, New York and enrolled as a member of the Works Progress Administration for which she painted urban scenes. Her portraits of the 1930s embraced left wing writers, artists and trade unionists. Neel left Greenwich Village for Spanish Harlem in 1938 to get away from the rarefied atmosphere of an art colony. There she painted the Puerto Rican community, casual acquaintances, neighbours and people she encountered on the street. In the 1960s she moved to the Upper West Side and made a determined effort to reintegrate with the art world. This led to a series of dynamic portraits of artists, curators and gallery owners, among them Frank O'Hara, Andy Warhol and the young Robert Smithson. She also maintained her practice of painting political personalities, including black activists and supporters of the women's movement. In the 1970s, Neel began to paint portraits of her extended family as well as a major series of nudes. Neel's nudes played with the conventions of eroticism while asserting the female point of view. Neel exhibited widely in America throughout the 1970s and in 1974 she held a retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. She was regularly invited to lecture on her work and became a role model for supporters of the feminist movement.
This is Josefina Guilisasti's largest work with seventy two paintings of kitchen ware in oil. Most of her work plays with the idea of objectivity in representation . Still life painting, as a minor genre displaced from the major subject matters and of public places, confined to the daily nature and intimacy of a Certain place, is embraced in her work by means of a staging, as an illusionism of representation. Each oil painting's shadow is in accordance to the angle it sits on the shelf.
Regina Silveira is a Brazilian artist who plays with perspective and optical illustions in her work. She has also done works like this exaggerated shadow of Duchamp's Bicycle Wheel 1913 to pay homage to other artists. . In a visual paradox, silhouettes of the artworks take over the gallery space, referencing the recognizable Marcel Duchamp bicycle wheel
Fernández's work is characterized by an interest in perception and the psychology of looking . Originally from Miami, this artwork Stacked Waters occ**ies the entire atrium at the Blanton. The work’s title alludes to artist Donald Judd’s “stack” sculptures—series of identical boxes installed vertically along wall surfaces—as well as to his sculptural explorations of box interiors. Fernández noticed how The Blanton’s atrium functions like a box, and given its architectural nods to the arches of Roman baths and cisterns, she sought to fill its spatial volume with an illusion of water. Horizontal bands—each a swirling pattern of saturated color—subtly shift from deep blue to white in their ascent ** the wall. Standing in the middle of the atrium creates an effect akin to being at the bottom of a swimming pool; climbing the staircase, visitors rise out of the dark blue depths as if emerging from the pool.
Kusama is also a published novelist and poet, and has created notable work in film and fashion design. Major retrospectives of her work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and Tate Modern, whilst in 2008 Christies New York sold a work by her for $5.1 million, a record for a living female artist.[3] Although largely forgotten after departing the New York art scene in the early 1970s, Kusama is now acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan, and an important voice of the avant-garde. Paint, mattress stuffing, and cardboard eggcrates on canvas
A plywood wall, painted with a gaudy, abstract white-and-gold pattern, is not standing anywhere you’d expect a wall to be. It looks pretty clunky, if vaguely familiar—are there images to decipher in the pattern? But why are we looking at a freestanding wall? Surprise! Around the wall, propping it ** in fact, lurks a huge, smiling plastic Buddha statue. Rachel Harrison’s startling combinations of sculptural objects raise questions about value and meaning. Contrasting handcrafted objects with manufactured goods, she challenges both the wall-that-aspires-to-be-a-painting and the sculpture-that-is-just-a-kitsch-object by asking: Are art and religion really roads to redemption? Citing spiritual systems and aesthetic investigations that commerce has trivialized, if not bankr**ted, she dares the viewer to make some kind of sense of the seemingly random juxtapositions that bombard us daily. Can this work’s formal tension—the bold visual and physical equilibrium of these two unlikely objects—explain/resolve their absurd dialogue? In ways that are completely unexpected, each component reveals details and essences of the other by virtue of their differences. Provocative and sly, this call-and-response between artist and viewer, or object and experience, assumes no fixed answers, only the same old puzzling questions about the meaning of art and life posed from a fresh and irreverent perspective. This piece is also donated by Jeanne and Michael Klein, long time donors and also funded Stacked Waters
Mequitta Ahuja’s work explores the construction of identity, including her own. Recognizing that there is always an element of invention when it comes to depicting oneself, the artist refers to her heavily manipulated self-portraits as “automythography.” The term was inspired by a genre invented by the writer Audre Lorde, who braided personal history together with mythology in her “biomythography,” published in 1982. Ahuja’s process of self-documentation begins with photographs. Using a remote shutter control, she performs privately for the camera. Then, through a series of sketches and preparatory drawings, she introduces inventive, often fantastical elements into the resulting images. Her final works wed the real with the surreal, nonfiction with fiction. Parade captures this complicated marriage, offering in two parts the primary modes of painting: figuration and abstraction. The artist appears, poised mid-stride, on the right-hand canvas. Bright colors describe her figure and emanate from her black hair, which, as it carries over toward and onto the left-hand canvas, expands to become a dense cloud of increasingly abstract markings. The brushwork conveys Ahuja’s lively kinetic process in laying down pigment. She has referred to her interest in “the psychic proportions hair has in the lives of Black people,” which here dominates the composition, both physically and conceptually.
Mira Schendel’s delicate and understated work has earned a singular place in the history of Brazilian art. While many of her contemporaries were developing work that engaged new materials and audiences through performance or video, Schendel proposed a much quieter and more modest approach by concentrating on the smallest and most intimate form of art making: producing lines on a surface. Early in her career, Schendel became interested in systems of written language and their visual characteristics. We can clearly see this here in marks that recall scribbled sentences or mathematical equations, without ever defining actual words or numbers. The work also incorporates commercially produced Letraset punctuation marks (commas and periods) that further underline the linguistic references. Although this work seems to have been drawn directly on the paper, it is in fact a monoprint, a unique impression taken from a glass plate. The thin rice paper barely holds the ink, giving an unusual and mysterious quality to the lines and distancing them from the more straightforward nature of a doodle or sketch.
Credits: All media
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