Untitled (1962) by Lee Lozano (American, 1930-1999) The Jewish Museum
This Sunday September 12, 2010 Shifting the Gaze: Painting and Feminism, an exhibit that explores the impact of feminism on contemporary North American painting for past half century, will open at The Jewish Museum located at 92nd Street and Fifth Avenue. The exhibit will continue through January 30, 2011. Tuesday morning September 7th your New York Jewish Culture examiner previewed the exhibit, which traverses Abstract Impressionism, Pop, and Minimalism through to the present.
The first image in the exhibit is a representational 1930 self-portrait by a very young Lee Krasner (1908-1984). She portrays herself painting outdoors (there are trees in the background), standing in front of a canvas wearing a blue short sleeve shirt and white overalls, holding paintbrushes and a paint smeared rag or towel. This is followed by Miriam Schapiro‘s 1958 Fanfare, a stunningly strong Abstract Expressionist celebration of color that by itself is worth the price of admission (see the slideshow below even though the photographs do not do the originals justice). In the same room there are other abstract works by Eva Hesse, Joan Snyder, Lousie Nevelson, and Judy Chicago.
The title of the exhibit, Shifting the Gaze, is most apropos in the next room whose theme isPainting the Body. The first painting here is Joan Semmel‘s 1978 Sunlight, which is a riveting nude self-portrait painted from her own point of view looking down at her breasts, belly, pubic hair, and limbs. On the opposite wall is Lee Lozano‘s 1962 Untitled, in which a headless woman’s torso is wearing a breast pendant on a neckless and has two Stars of David in place of her breasts. Hanna Wilke has two works in this section, from 1982-84Venus Pareve, a set of identical nude figurines each painted a different color (this and the Nevelson work are the only three dimensional works in the exhibit), and 1990 BC Series, a minimalist watercolor self portrait.
There is next a section on Pattern and Decoration to which some women artists were drawn in an effort to reinvigorate previously denigrated women’s work. These works feature embroidery, collage and fan painting. There is a 1979 acrylic and collage fan by the sameMiriam Schapiro whose work we saw in the first room (she abandoned Abstract Expressionism in the 1960s). Joyce Kozloff‘s 1996 Naming II (or Who’s Jewish) is a street grid of New York City with the names of Jewish women artists on each street.
The paintings in the fourth room depict the victimization of women (and men, as in Leon Golub‘s 1972 Napalm Man). Two works by Nancy Spero are about the Holocaust. The fifth room features paintings that employ writing or other fugitive symbols including Dana Fankfort‘s 2007 Star of David (Orange), Joan Snyder‘s 1987-88 Study for Morning Requiem with Kaddish, as well as more abstract work such as Louise Fishman’s 1984Tashlich, and Melissa Meyer‘s 1992 Lillith.
The exhibit’s sixth and final room Painting Satire includes Deborah Kass‘ 1993 Andy Warhol inspired Double Red Yentl, Split from My Elvis, Audrey Flack‘s 1962 Matzo Meal in which she gives Manishevitz boxes the Warhol soup can treatment, Rosalyn Drexler‘s 1966 portrait of Birmingham sherif Bull Connor and his staff Is It True What they Say About Dixie. Cary Leibowitz‘s 1995 I’m A Jew how ’bout u?!! (which would fit in in the previous room), Dana Schutz‘s 2004 depiction of an eating disorder Devourer, Nicole Eisenman‘s 2010 sardonicSeder, and Amy Sillman‘s 2010 Untitled, a painting that combines abstract and figurative elements.
In conjunction with the exhibit there will be gallery talks by artists featured in Shifting the Gaze on October 4, 11, and 18. On the same floor as Shifting the Gaze is Fish Forms an exhibit of Frank Gehry‘s fish shaped lamps which will be on view through October 31, 2011.
Seniors (65 and over with ID) $10
Students (full-time with valid ID) $7.50
Children (under 12) Free
Free Saturdays* 11:00 am – 5:45 pm
For more info: David Cooper