Art021: Six Artwork Highlights
In Partnership with Art021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair
11 November 2020
Marilyn Minter, Whisper (2017). Enamel on metal. 91.4 x 121.9 cm. Courtesy Salon 94.
Marilyn Minter, Whisper (2017) at Salon 94
Marilyn Minter has always been, if unintentionally, a provocateur with her paintings and photographic works that often employ highly suggestive or explicit imagery. Society's paradoxical attitudes towards sexuality, especially when related to women, informs much of her practice, as the artist told Ocula Magazine in 2016 while discussing pornography: 'it's considered so contemptible, but it is another engine of culture'.
This enamel on metal painting belongs to her series of photorealistic paintings that depict women up close in the shower. The pair of pink lips—pressing the steamy glass close enough to start licking it—in Whisper calls to mind Green Pink Caviar, a 2009 video in which Minter offers a sickeningly sweet and voyeuristic view of a woman devouring candy and cake decoration for eight minutes.
Minter's work is currently in the group exhibition Show Me the Signs at Blum & Poe Los Angeles until 14 November, accompanied by a benefit auction from 10 to 30 November, where 100 percent of proceeds will be donated to the African American Policy Forum's #SayHerName Mothers Network.
Judy Chicago, Birth Trinity (1985) at Salon 94
For the Birth Project (1980–1985), Judy Chicago collaborated with over 150 needleworkers to create a series of embroidery and paintings dedicated to the multifaceted experiences of giving birth. Birth Trinity (1985), a print version of the original 1983 needlework on mesh canvas, takes a mystical turn on the process: three figures are entangled, merging into and emerging from another, with bands of softly pulsating colours that radiate from their forms.
Chicago is the creator of The Dinner Party (1974–1979), a monumental tribute to the pantheon of women in Western history. Fashioned like a ceremonial banquet, the installation features a triangular table with seating reserved for 39 women, ranging from goddesses and empresses to artists, writers, and activists; a further 999 names are commemorated on the tiles of the floor that accompanies the work.
More of Chicago's work can be seen across the month of November: Call and Response, a two-person show with Stanley Whitney, presented by Longlati Foundation at West Bund Art & Design closes on 15 November; Chicago In Ink: An Autobiography at Salon 94 will be on view through November 30, and can be viewed here; and on 20 November, Judy Chicago: What If Women Ruled The World opens at Jeffrey Dietch New York.
Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #33 (1979) at Metro Pictures
This untitled photograph belongs to Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills (1977–1980), a collection of 70 black-and-white photographs that garnered critical attention for its eclectic and astute portrayal of stereotypical women in films. In settings evocative of the 1950s and 60s Hollywood movies, film noir, and European arthouse cinema, Sherman stars as a distressed housewife or an ingénue, among others, raising questions about the notions of masquerade, self-portraiture, and the artist as both creator and subject of the artwork.
In Untitled Film Still #33, a bespectacled Sherman sits on the bed, her gaze fixed on the open envelope and its content before her. A sense of drama looms, accentuated by the distance between the woman and the seemingly innocuous piece of paper. The bare walls hardly offer the comfort and intimacy often accorded to bedrooms, yet the framed picture on the nightstand—suggesting a blurred portrait of a man—probes the imagination for private tales.
Wolfgang Tillmans, paper drop (green) (2019) at Maureen Paley
Wolfgang Tillmans has lived between London, Berlin, and New York for the last 30 years, and is viewed as one of the most influential artists working in the medium of photography. Tillmans won the Turner Prize in 2000 and has been the subject of solo exhibitions at both Tate Modern and Fondation Beyeler in 2017, and next year will have a major solo at MoMA in New York.
At times touchingly intimate, humorous or playful, and often deeply political, Tillmans uses his camera as a tool to navigate our ever-changing world. Alongside these figurative portraits, skyscapes, and still lifes, the German photographer and activist has also produced abstract works that challenge pre-existing hierarchies around photography. He makes cameraless photographic images via a process of exposing photosensitive paper to light sources, as well as his celebrated 'Paper Drop' series, in which he interrogates the mechanisms of his medium by photographing a curved sheet of photographic paper. The sheet of photographic paper becomes sculptural, transformed into a voluminous, almost liquid state. Tillmans does not view his abstract work as separate from his figurative output, and their power lies in the startlingly personal sensation elicited from something so abstract.
Last year, Wolfgang Tillmans presented some of his other abstractions, created through chemical reactions in the developing process, in a solo show at Maureen Paley. From 27 November, Galerie Buchholz will be presenting some of the artist's work in Berlin.
Liam Gillick, Cinched Horizon (2016) at Maureen Paley
Emerging in London during the 1990s, alongside his fellow Young British Artists, Liam Gillick went on to establish himself as one of the leading conceptual artists of his generation. Championed by curator Nicholas Bourriaud, who coined the term 'Relational Aesthetics', and nominated for the Turner Prize in 2002, Gillick has lived and worked in New York for the last 25 years. He represented Germany at the Venice Biennale in 2009 and has been the subject of museum survey shows internationally.
Gillick's multi-faceted practice—encompassing text, sculpture, wall-based work, video, sound, and installation—deliberately evades any form of categorisation; instead, these fragmented and often abstract tropes manage to coalesce through a questioning of both the legacy of modernism and the exhibition as a formal arrangement. Together with his text works, Gillick's powder-coated aluminium sculptures are perhaps his most well known works, residing in major private and public collections all around the world. Although closely tied to Bauhaus and the sculptor Donald Judd, these seductive grid-like forms often incorporate more garish colours and closely resemble architectural structures.
David Douard, EV'R 3 (2020) at Galerie Chantal Crousel
Poetry and text feed into David Douard's sculptures as vital components, shaping the meaning of his objects and their surroundings. The result is the creation of a strange fictitious world made up of organic, whimsical sculptures. Douard explains that the use of poetry in his work, which he sources from the internet, started early on in his career and represents a prolongation of the relationship he had with graffiti in his past. 'Nobody expresses anything in the street now. Everything happens on the internet', Douard has said.
His sculptures are composed of everyday objects or architectural elements from low-tech culture such as computers, electrical wires, railings, or screens, referencing the urban environment and popular culture. At Frac Île-de-France — Le Plateau, Douard has transformed the exhibition space into a 'new social space', with installations, videos, sound works, and more (O'Ti'Lulaby, 27 September–13 December 2020). —[O]