The new year is in full swing, and we are already working on some fun new stuff. The next big release of our app with some fantastic new features is on the horizon, and we’ll be launching Exhibitionary in new cities pretty soon. In the meantime, we, of course, continue with our newsletter coverage. We hope the following "5 Shows" for January will inspire you as much as the shows mentioned inspired us!
1. Kathe Burkhart at Mary Boone Gallery, New York
Kathe Burkhart has been painting Elizabeth Taylor, one of Hollywood’s most scintillating stars, for over 30 years. Few might disagree with the fact Taylor was a versatile and talented actress – she was able to convince equally as Southern belle or alcoholic professor’s wife. She mostly played women trapped within either their emotional state, social position, or both, and often trying to free themselves from the situations they found themselves in; to a certain extent, Burkhart’s canvases attempt to give Taylor the final push to escape these oppressing premises. The artist overlays her paintings of the diva with words, often rather coarse, and integrates personal objects – letters, wallpaper, and even fake fur – into them, creating not only a bond to contemporary discourses around sexual freedom (or lack thereof) but also to the painter’s private history. Elizabeth-Taylor-movies-watching must have been a substantial part of it, given her compelling capacity to saturate her central character with complex and raw emotions. The show is carefully curated by Piper Marshall, adding sharpness to a risky yet fascinating concept.
Mary Boone Gallery, 745 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10151
2. Carmen Herrera at Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf
Over the past few years, the rediscovery of older female artists as valuable protagonists of contemporary art took galleries and museums by storm. Carmen Herrera, born 1915 in Havana, is one of them. In Düsseldorf, the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen dedicates a show spanning incredible seven decades of the Cuban-American artist’s practice, who still produces terrific work. The abstraction Herrera started to explore as of the early 1950s must have raised quite some eyebrows back then: while the mannerist sentimentality of Abstract Expressionism (a style Herrera had experimented with previously) was omnipresent in New York City, she worked with strict lines and only a minimal palette. Since then, the artist has pretty much followed these rigorous formal rules. Commercial success, a goal so many artists strive for, didn’t seem a particularly important one for her; in fact, she famously sold her first painting at the age of 89. As a result, Herrera created a body of work as strict as it is organic. This already much-lauded exhibition, first shown at the Whitney Museum in 2016, is now on view in Europe, showcasing the lush yet minimalistic practice of an exceptional artist.
|Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen K20, Grabbeplatz 5, 40213 Düsseldorf|
3. Leonor Antunes at Whitechapel Gallery, London
Seductive and immersive, Leonor Antunes’ sculptures currently grace Whitechapel Gallery’s space. The Portuguese artist has been much sought-after recently, a fact for which her remarked presence at last year’s Venice Biennale must at least be partially responsible for. Antunes’ practice seems free of the limitations different creative arts keep imposing upon themselves; her work draws from jewelry, interior design, textile, and architecture, among others. Ultimately, her research tends toward finding contemporary definitions of craft/craftsmanship, a terminology almost automatically associated with either amateurish or overly practical forms of creation (“crafty” must count among the top ten depreciating words in the art world). For this commission, Antunes looked closely at two 20th-century, London-based artists: Mary Martin (1907–1969) and Lucia Nogueira (1950–1998). When comparing the three women’s works, it becomes clear that their respective aesthetic concerns converge. In “the frisson of the togetherness,” as the show is titled, Leonor Antunes manages to quote both Nogueira and Martin without appropriating their practice; instead, she creates a synthesis of reserved craftiness - in a good way, that is.
|Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX|
4. Group show at Eva Presenhuber, Zurich
This exciting group show, loosely based on notions of excavation and (re)discovery within different fields of research, brings together some of today’s most propitious up-and-coming artists. Among them are Martha Atienza, whose oneiric presentation with Silverlens Gallery at last year’s Art Basel captivated the crowds; Jean-Marie Appriou, who keeps producing uber-desirable sculptures, looking like the aluminium casts of beings having just escaped a fairytale; Iman Issa, who bravely ventures into the arduous question of what defines an artwork as such by presenting oddly familiar, minimalistic objects; Dora Budor, who plays with the idea of fiction-as-reality and reality-as-fiction through pieces often referencing scenes and props from famous movies; and Yves Scherer, whose work addresses the romanticism and perversion behind the almost limitless exploitation of celebrities, as much in very public as in very private spheres. Shara Hughes’ luxuriant paintings and Magali Reus’ post-readymade sculptures are also on view, as well as an intriguing, antiquity-inspired piece by Justin Matherly and a series of introspective canvases by Tobias Pils.
Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zahnradstrasse 21, 8005 Zürich
5. Fahrelnissa Zeid at Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Berlin
Turkish artist Fahrelnissa Zeid is mainly known for her large abstract canvases, bursting with shapes and colors and bearing such dramatic titles as My Hell. The show at Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, realized in cooperation with Tate Modern, sheds light on a fascinatingly diverse artistic practice. Zeid experimented with Modernism, Abstract Expressionism, portraiture, sculpture, and Fauvism, among others; she melded the influences from her Stambouliote heritage, extensive travels around the world and Parisian education into a kaleidoscopic oeuvre. What transpires from her work altogether is a rare capacity to summon the brisk sort of energy common to hope and despair; given her life story, one might understand how she came to be acquainted with it so closely. Indeed, her biography reads like one long, fascinating melodrama: an assassinated father, marriage, divorce, becoming an Iraqi princess, exile, constant traveling, depression, collaborations with postwar Europe’s most famed artists, widowhood: Fahrelnissa Zeid saw it all, to say the least. No doubt that with such a destiny, and such talent, a biopic is long overdue.
Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Unter den Linden 13–15, 10117 Berlin
– Karim Crippa