John Currin At Gagosian Geneva

John Currin, Crystal’s Friend, 2011, oil on canvas, 24 × 18 inches (61 × 45.7 cm) / John Currin, Crystal’s Friend, 2011, huile sur toile, 61 × 45.7 cm
John Currin, Crystal’s Friend, 2011, oil on canvas, 24 × 18 inches (61 × 45.7 cm) / John Currin, Crystal’s Friend, 2011, huile sur toile, 61 × 45.7 cm

There’s a kind of a distortion that happens with adoration. — John Currin

Throughout his career, Currin has searched for the point at which the beautiful and the ugly are held in perfect balance. With his mastery of graphic and painterly techniques, combined with a predilection for the extreme, the humorous, and the ribald, his subjects challenge social and sexual taboos while subverting the historical linearity of artistic genres. References to Old Master portraits, pinups, pornography, and B-movies are channeled into ideational yet perverse images of women, from lusty nymphs to dour matrons.

Several paintings in this exhibition from different junctures in Currin’s trajectory reveal evolutions in technique and subject matter. Miss Fenwick (1996) depicts a mature blond woman in a simple blue dress, her smoothly painted body contrasting with the thick brushstrokes used for her face, which imparts a sense of desiccation and decay. With this simple contrast in texture, Currin suggests the dark undercurrents of social conventions, interrupting the contours of femininity with the charged idea of age. In Young Woman on a Lounger (2014), the woman’s long red hair frames her porcelain-skinned face as she gazes softly out at the viewer. And yet, despite the model’s sensual pose and careless affect, Currin’s slight distortions tip the painting toward the grotesque.

In 2011–12 Currin’s paintings were exhibited at the Frans Hals Museum in the Netherlands alongside masterpieces by the Dutch Golden Age painter Cornelis van Haarlem, revealing the clear historical links between the two artists’ treatment of flesh, surface texture, light, and shadow. These themes were explored afresh in 2017 with Gagosian’s special presentation of Currin’s drawings at Frieze New York. The career-spanning selection of graphic works exposed the complex networks of historical and pop cultural references (as well as the simple jokes) that come together seamlessly in Currin’s paintings. Chosen from over a hundred sketchbooks and notepads, the drawings—studies for prints and paintings, as well as still lifes, portraits, and loose watercolors, gouache, charcoal, ink, and pencil—show the evolution of Currin’s conceptual approach to the depiction of the human figure, concurrent with the development of his singular artistic process.

John Currin was born in 1962 in Boulder, Colorado, and lives and works in New York.

Exhibition Dates: January 30 – April 12, 2019
Les Dates: 30 janvier – 12 avril 2019
Opening Reception: Tuesday, January 29, 6–8pm
Vernissage: mardi 29 janvier, 18:00 – 20:00

Gagosian Geneva / Genève
19 place de Longemalle
Geneva / Genève

Walter De Maria At Gagosian London

Artwork © Estate of Walter De Maria
Artwork © Estate of Walter De Maria

If the Large Earth Sculpture is an expression of myself only . . . then it is a failure. It must express the feelings of most of the people, not only in Germany, but in the world. It must have universal interest and meaning. — Walter De Maria, on the Olympic Mountain Project, 1971

Idea to Action to Object is an exhibition of over forty works on paper and several related sculptures by the late Walter De Maria. The drawings, sourced from the Estate of Walter De Maria, are on view for the first time, revealing various unrealized projects and philosophical explorations, and suggesting a tender humanity behind De Maria’s geometric precision.

In De Maria’s wide-ranging oeuvre, objects emerge from a transitional zone between idea and action. Like sounds coming from an instrument, shapes appear, overlap, and repeat in infinite permutations—drawing attention to the limits of gallery spaces, prioritizing bodily awareness, and examining the relationship between the relative and the absolute.

The title of this exhibition comes from a sketchbook page, Abstract Concept (c. 1960–61), in which De Maria mapped out a cyclical relationship between a work’s conception, actualization, and perceived meaning—a cycle that he believed to be rooted in the real (as opposed to illusory) world. Themes of causality and performance run throughout the drawings, providing more intimate backstories for his minimalist sculptures and installations. The early editioned sculpture Ball Drop (1961–64) comprises a tall plywood box with two square holes cut into its face. A wooden sphere sits in a compartment framed by the lower hole. When it was originally shown at the 9 Great Jones Street gallery in 1965, the viewer was invited to take the ball and drop it through the top hole, causing a sharp bang. Here, however, the ball remains static, charged with potential energy, like the solid stainless-steel ball in 14-Sided Open Polygon (1984).

In De Maria’s later works, it could be argued that the ball is replaced by the viewer, who must consider herself in relation to both abstract ideas and physical space. This is powerfully illustrated in the preparatory drawings for his unrealized Olympic Mountain Project (1970–71). For the 1972 Olympic games in Munich, De Maria proposed to drill a 400-foot shaft through a mountain of rubble from World War II, covering the top of the hole with a bronze disk. To think about the dark void beneath the metal disk imbues his other disk-shaped sculptures with a sense of precariousness. Standing over The Equal Area Series: Pair Number 24 (1990)—steel outlines of a square and a circle occupying the same surface area of the gallery floor—the viewer may imagine falling through the square hole in Ball Drop or through the circular one in the Olympic Mountain Project.

Some drawings attest to De Maria’s lighthearted, improvisational spirit. In Stand Up Commedian (c. 1961–63), a bowling pin­–like man occupies the center of the page with “talks for two hours about cigaretts [sic] and smokes” written above his head and “diskothek” appearing beneath him; and in the Flying Saucer (1974) drawings, loosely rendered ellipses float across the page. This suggests that De Maria’s geometries are not entirely unfanciful, but rather combine the serialization of Minimalism with the sublime scale of land and sky, and the electrifying tremors of the unknown.

Walter De Maria was born in 1935 in Albany, California, and died in 2013 in Los Angeles.

WALTER DE MARIA: Idea to Action to Object
Exhibition Dates: January 24–March 9, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 24, 6–8pm

20 Grosvenor Hill

Can’t Lock Me Up At Turner Carroll Gallery

Judy Chicago, Nine Fragments from the Delta of Venus, nine color etching and aquatint print portfolio, 17.75 x 17.75 x 1.5 in., 2004
Judy Chicago, Nine Fragments from the Delta of Venus, nine color etching and aquatint print portfolio, 17.75 x 17.75 x 1.5 in., 2004

A massive, global problem exists in our shared human history. Since the beginning of humanity, women’s biology has been used against them as a means of enslaving their bodies, minds, and their sense of possibility. It’s time to admit this problem exists, examine how society perpetuates it, and do everything in our power as individuals to solve it.

The problem is the weaponization of the female body through language, images, and the threat of sexual violence. The problem is also how women have been historically subjugated through sexual violence. These crimes hurt women psychologically, emotionally, and physically and leave them feeling broken and in constant fear for their safety.

Perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, we’ve created a society that disregards women’s rights and safety. Women are conditioned to stay silent; and when they do choose to speak out, they are quickly discredited. The rise of the #metoo movement is beginning to shift this dynamic, but the road to undoing centuries of ingrained misogyny is long. Society perpetuates this silencing of women by allowing men to retain power over them through the threat of sexual violence and degradation.

Can’t Lock Me Up: Women Resist Silence showcases work by artists who refuse to remain silent about the ways women, globally, have been enslaved mentally, metaphorically, and physically. Turner Carroll Gallery is proud to exhibit women artists from throughout the world who speak the truth for themselves and for their sisters who might have a hard time finding their voice. This exhibition includes Iranian artist Fatemeh Baigmoradi, whose photographs with controversial members burned out of them help us remember a tragic history. Chinese-born artist Hung Liu has dedicated her life to painting disenfranchised women as quasi-imperial, transforming their pain into beauty by telling their stories with a grace they did not experience in their lifetimes. Lien Truong is a Vietnamese artist who uses traditionally feminine media such as painted silk, 24-karat gold thread, and embroidery to tackle international issues of domination and resistance in her paintings. Judy Chicago and Jenny Holzer both had to be loud and brash with their words and images when they started expressing these sentiments even before feminist art was defined. Ambreen Butt’s works repeat the names of drone victims incessantly. Sheri Crider creates art that expresses personal transformation of incarcerated women, and Monica Lundy’s paintings tell the stories of women forced into mental institutions for being “disobedient,” “promiscuous,” or “defiant.”

Can’t Lock Me Up: Women Resist SilenceAn exhibition showcasing work by women artists throughout the world who refuse to remain silent about the ways women have been enslaved mentally, : metaphorically, and physically.
Exhibition Dates: March 29 – April 22, 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, March 29, 2019, From 5–7 pm
Talk by Dr. Dora Wang: Those Men Were Hysterical! Saturday March 30, 2019, from 4pm – 5pm

Turner Carroll Gallery
725 Canyon Road
Santa Fe, NM 87501

Kate Glasheen At Paradigm Gallery

Kate Glasheen, Dead King 14 [5th Century Mandé King], 2018, ink on archival paper, 20" x 16”
Kate Glasheen, Dead King 14 [5th Century Mandé King], 2018, ink on archival paper, 20″ x 16”

Documenting history through line, Glasheen’s latest expertly-wrought ink on paper drawings express historical realities and their all-too-relevant association to our present-day political climate.

Delicately rendered in exquisite detail, Glasheen’s new series represents a departure from the artist’s previous more conceptually abstracted works. Employing an historically literate approach, Glasheen critically depicts the opulence and excesses of the past. For Glasheen, there is a narrative through line connecting the rulers of the past with the contemporary leaders of today.

Drawing with virtuoso skill, her finely hatched, original portrayals of the kings and monarchs of past civilizations serve as stark reminders of the potential dangers of a dictatorial state. Historical tyrants with absolute power often exercised it in a cruel or oppressive way. Through the centuries, autocratic powers have proven to be unsustainable over time. Centralized, dictatorial systems of government requiring complete subservience to the state eventually fall.

From Glasheen’s vantage, the cycle of repression continues today, as one despot is deposed by another. Her historical figures are represented as human skeletons, elaborately dressed, ostentatious characters decorated in showy, complex patterns. For all of their extravagance, Glasheen’s kings have been reduced to mere bone and cartilage, the remaining parts of something after its life or usefulness is gone. Once-revered, all-powerful sovereigns–their features humorously exaggerated–are effectively satirized, lampooned to caricatures.

Proffering a vision of a world run by venality–one we can identify with today–Glasheen’s skillfully composed, intricate line drawings remind viewers of the connective tissue between historical civilizations and our modern political times, the rulers of the past and the ‘kings’ of today.

Kate Glasheen: Dead Kings
Exhibition Dates: January 25 – March 16, 2019
Opening Reception: January 25, 2019 • 5:30 – 10:00pm

Paradigm Gallery
746 S 4th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Meridel Rubenstein At Brian Gross Fine Art

Meridel Rubenstein, Amethyst Room, Southern Iraq Marshes, 2011-2016  UV cured acrylic ink on linen, 77 x 58 inches
Meridel Rubenstein, Amethyst Room, Southern Iraq Marshes, 2011-2016
UV cured acrylic ink on linen, 77 x 58 inches

In Eden In Iraq, Rubenstein explores themes of destruction and renewal through the social, political, and environmental history of Southern Iraq, the area believed to be the location of the Biblical Eden on Earth.

Rubenstein’s series Eden Turned on its Side investigates ecological processes across time that either reinforce or destroy the notion of Eden. These photoworks focus on the poetic intersection of nature and culture in relation to ecological and social imbalance. Rubenstein’s previous exhibitions at the gallery focused on Photosynthesis and The Volcano Cycle, the first two parts of the cycle. In the final segment, Eden In Iraq, she has documented the land, culture, and people of war torn Southern Iraq, and co-designed a wastewater garden/memorial that aims to transform relics of war into art.

In Eden In Iraq, Meridel Rubenstein explores environmental devastation and renewal in the marshes of Southern Iraq, the area believed to be the site of Biblical Eden on Earth. Rubenstein captures the cycle of environmental, military, and cultural devastation through compositions of layered imagery, including ancient Sumerian ziggurats, marshland plants and animals, contemporary Iraqi domestic interiors, destroyed Islamic shrines, the marshland peoples, and an icon of the Sumerian goddess Inanna. Realized through dye sublimation images on aluminum, works printed on linen, and woven jacquard tapestries, the photoworks in the exhibition reveal the complex interconnections between the cultural histories, political forces, and their impact on this area of the world.

Meridel Rubenstein was born in Detroit, MI and received an MA (1974) and MFA (1977) from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

Meridel Rubenstein: Eden In Iraq
Exhibition Dates: February 23 – April 6, 2019
Reception for the artist: Saturday, February 23, 2019 from 4pm – 6pm with an Artist talk and book signing: 4:30pm

Brian Gross Fine Art
248 Utah Street
San Francisco, CA 94103