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Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible Ocula Report Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible 17 Apr 2019 : Federica Bueti for Ocula

I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...

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Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui Ocula Conversation Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui

The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...

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The National 2019: New Australian Art Ocula Report The National 2019: New Australian Art 13 Apr 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...

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Lisa Yuskavage

b. 1962, USA

New York-based Lisa Yuskavage (b. 1962, Philadelphia) is a figurative painter minutely versed in the history of the medium, channelling artists from Francisco de Goya to Édouard Vuillard and Philip Guston in her ostensibly kitschy canvases. With references also ranging from old master paintings to 1970s soft porn, her paintings are immediately recognisable for their absurdly proportioned naked and semi-clad women, but also for acid-bright landscapes, uncanny interiors and hippie figures that seem to have been cross-pollinated with religious icons. She sensitively deploys colour to convey the emotional states of her figures who appear alone, in pairs or in tableaux, and who in more recent times, have begun to include men. In addition to the figures' delight in their own fleshiness, there is also an overpowering sense of otherworldliness at play in her use of colour and form.

Yuskavage earned her BFA at Tyler School of Art, Temple University in 1984 and her MFA at Yale University School of Art in 1986. Her breakthrough came in the early 90s, with The Ones That Shouldn't: The Gifts (1991) and the ‘The Ones That Don't Want To’ series (1991–2), the latter of which the artist also refers to as her ‘Bad Babies’. The earlier work shows a large-breasted young woman emerging from a rich green background with a sprig of flowers stuffed in her mouth and her arms pulled behind her back. ‘The Ones That Don’t Want To’ paintings, meanwhile, are shockingly vibrant portraits of girls naked from the waist down, who appear to be merging with their pulsating backgrounds and stare (with the exception of one slightly more dreamy figure) disconcertingly at the viewer. Rising to prominence around the same time as other figurative painters such as Elizabeth Peyton and John Currin, in the 1990s Yuskavage commanded solo shows at galleries in New York, Santa Monica, Milan and London. In 2000, she held an important solo in her hometown of Philadelphia, at the Institute of Contemporary Art. ‘I confirmed for myself that she paints wonderfully, and that wonderful painting is what concerns her,’ wrote Peter Schjeldahl in the New Yorker at the time. Notable other solo exhibitions have taken place at Centre d'Art Contemporain, Geneva (2001); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2002); Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2006); and The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (2011). A major survey spanning 25 years of of Yuskavage’s work titled The Brood opened at the Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University in 2015 (12 September–13 December 2015), and later traveled to Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (15 January–3 April 2016). An in-depth book was published by Skira Rizzoli in association with the Rose Art Museum.

Yuskavage’s work is held in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Long Museum, Shanghai; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Laura Allsop

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Featured Artworks

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Forces by Lisa Yuskavage contemporary artwork Lisa YuskavageForces, 2007 Four colour lithograph on BFK Rives paper
37 7/8 x 30 1/8 inches
David Zwirner
Kingdom by Lisa Yuskavage contemporary artwork Lisa YuskavageKingdom, 2006 Two colour lithograph on Gampi Torinoko paper
30 1/4 x 20 1/2 inches
David Zwirner
Ukrainian Shirt by Lisa Yuskavage contemporary artwork Lisa YuskavageUkrainian Shirt, 2001 Single colour lithograph on Gampi Torinoko paper
30 x 22 inches
David Zwirner
Art Students by Lisa Yuskavage contemporary artwork Lisa YuskavageArt Students, 2018 Intaglio with chine-collé on Ivory Revere Suede paper
16 1/8 x 13 7/8 inches
David Zwirner
Merlot by Lisa Yuskavage contemporary artwork Lisa YuskavageMerlot, 2017 Intaglio with chine-collé on Ivory Revere Suede paper
16 1/8 x 13 7/8 inches
David Zwirner
Bonfire by Lisa Yuskavage contemporary artwork Lisa YuskavageBonfire, 2018 Intaglio with chine-collé on Ivory Revere Suede paper
15 1/8 x 12 5/8 inches
David Zwirner
The Wee Wilderness IV by Lisa Yuskavage contemporary artwork Lisa YuskavageThe Wee Wilderness IV, 2013 Drypoint with monoprint on paper
11 7/8 x 9 7/8 inches
David Zwirner
Hippies in Tit Heaven by Lisa Yuskavage contemporary artwork Lisa YuskavageHippies in Tit Heaven, 2015 Lithograph in twelve colours on paper
39 5/8 x 34 3/4 inches
David Zwirner

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Lisa Yuskavage, Babie Brood: Small Paintings, 1985–2018 at David Zwirner, New York
Closed
8 November–15 December 2018 Lisa Yuskavage Babie Brood: Small Paintings, 1985–2018 David Zwirner, 19th Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Lisa Yuskavage, New Paintings at David Zwirner, New York
Closed
8 November–15 December 2018 Lisa Yuskavage New Paintings David Zwirner, 69th Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Endless Enigma: Eight Centuries of Fantastic Art at David Zwirner, New York
Closed
12 September–27 October 2018 Group Exhibition Endless Enigma: Eight Centuries of Fantastic Art David Zwirner, 20th Street, New York

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Lisa Yuskavage Ocula Conversation Lisa Yuskavage Artist, New York

With a career spanning over 30 years, New York-based Lisa Yuskavage (b. 1962, Philadelphia) is a figurative painter minutely versed in the history of the medium, channelling artists from Francisco de Goya to Édouard Vuillard and Philip Guston in her ostensibly kitschy canvases. Her paintings are immediately recognisable by their absurdly...

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In Related Press

"No Man's Land" review – Miami's Art Basel week kicks off with all-female show Related Press "No Man's Land" review – Miami's Art Basel week kicks off with all-female show The Guardian : 3 December 2015

No Man’s Land is not a museum exhibition; it’s a private collection showcase. But the Rubells are shrewd and unorthodox collectors, and the presentation raises some big points – above all, the enduring question of how women artists building on a male-dominated history of art should depict their own sex. Yet most of...

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Good World to Be In: An Interview with Lisa Yuskavage Related Press Good World to Be In: An Interview with Lisa Yuskavage Paris Review Daily : 6 May 2015

Since her arrival on the art scene some twenty-five years ago, Lisa Yuskavage has made a name for herself with paintings that use classical techniques to depict unabashedly taboo subjects. Her creations—awash in radiant, hallucinatory colors and featuring hedonistic heroines unlike anything else in art today—are instantly identifiable....

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