P∙P∙O∙W is pleased to exhibit historical and contemporary works by Brian Dettmer, Dinh Q. Lê, Betty Tompkins, David Wojnarowicz, Martin Wong and Xiaoze Xie.
Brian Dettmer (b. 1974) is best known for altering preexisting media to create new, transformed works of visual fine art. P∙P∙O∙W is delighted to present The Wonderland of Knowledge, a new sculpture composed of two twelve-book sets of mid-century children’s encyclopedias by the same title. A matrix of images and text, this work’s rich surface contains fragmented clusters of concepts of the past century, offering a structure for reinterpreting the past, while pronounced gaps in the sculpture’s surface reflect the forgotten memories of our own cultural past. We will also be debuting works from two recently completed series of sculptures that exemplify Dettmer’s expertise in the medium of carved books. In the Comic Heroes series (2017), the formulaic trappings of superheroes and the mythmaking they embody are deconstructed to expose parallels between historical events and fantastic narratives. The Time Capsule series (2017) consists of five works, each one focused on a decade of the later-half of the 20th Century and comprised of just ten encyclopedias—one from each year of said decade. These encyclopedias, stacked from top to bottom, are carved and sanded into a solid shape resembling a vase or an urn. The peaceful symmetry and minimalism of these sculptures offers an elegy or closure to the past, and a comfort from the complexities of history. Dettmer’s work has been exhibited internationally in several galleries and institutions including the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, The Chicago Cultural Center, The High Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCAGA) and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (VA MOCA). His work can be found in the permanent collection of several notable institutions including: the Smithsonian American Art Museum, DC; The Art Institute of Chicago Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, IL; The High Museum, GA; The Museum of Contemporary Art, GA; and the Yale University Art Gallery, CT.
Dinh Q. Lê (b. 1968) is best known for his sculptural, photographic, and video works which insists on deeper engagement with the way global crises are recorded and perceived. P∙P∙O∙W will be presenting a new sculpture from a series he began in 2009 that focuses on kinetic public life in Vietnam and the entrepreneurial spirit of a culture motivated by the pursuit of on economic parity with the rest of the globalized world. Gardens on the Move 2018, a bicycle retrofitted with a cargo rack and saddle bags filled with living plants, epitomizes the rolling retail displays of everyday consumer goods that have informally driven the country’s economic revitalization following the civil war with Laos and Cambodia. We will also present large-scale photo-weavings from his 2006 series Tapestries. Using flowers as the main motif, these works interweave symbols of mourning and celebration to represent Vietnam’s renewing energy after years of loss. As with all his woven photographs, these works evoke the idea that there is no true historic ‘moment,’ but rather that history is a complicated series of multifaceted narratives. Dinh Q. Lê holds an MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York. He participated in the 2013 Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art, PA, dOCUMENTA 13 in 2012; the 2009 Biennale Cuveê in Linz, Austria; the 2008 Singapore Biennale; and the 2006 Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, in Brisbane, Australia. His work has been exhibited at major institutions and international exhibitions including the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Carnegie Museum, PA; MoMA PS1, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Art, IL; The Museum of Fine Arts, TX; Tufts University Art Gallery, MA; and the Asia Society, NY, among many others. A major survey exhibition, Dinh Q. Lê: Memory for Tomorrow, was presented at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo in 2015. True Journey Is Return, a traveling retrospective, accompanied by a full-color catalog, will open at the San Jose Museum of Art in September, 2018. Lê lives and works in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where he co-founded Sàn Art.
Betty Tompkins (b.1945) For the last forty years, Tompkins has created paintings, drawings and collages that appropriate images of graphic sexuality to explore the tension between representation and experience. P∙P∙O∙W will be debuting a series of Women Words, a project the artist initiated in 2010, wherein language mined from an international network of email contacts obscures female figures in art historical images. Spanning the Renaissance to the mid-20th Century, this series of mixed-media works on paper subverts Western art historical narratives that, until recently, have lionized only men’s contributions. While much of Tompkins’ early work was under-appreciated by contemporary art critics, her provocative and complex paintings and works on paper have recently had a resurgence in recognition, and offer a timely feminist response to current issues in business, entertainment, and politics. Recent solo exhibitions include Virgins, P∙P∙O∙W , New York (2017); Women Words, Phrases, and Stories, Flag Art Foundation, New York (2016); Sex Works/ Women Words, Phrases and Stories, Gavlak Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Real Ersatz, FUG, The Bruce High Quality Foundation, New York (2015); Paintings & Works on Paper 1972-2013, Gavlak Gallery, Palm Beach, FL (2014); Fuck Paintings, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium (2012); and New Work, Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York (2009). Tompkins’s work has also been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including Black Sheep Feminism: The Art of Sexual Politics, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, Texas (2016); The Shell (LANDSCAPES, PORTRAITS & SHAPES), Almine Rech Gallery, Paris, France (2014); A Drawing Show, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York (2014); A Chromatic Loss, Bortolami Gallery, New York (2014); Sunset and Pussy, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York (2013); and Elles, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011).
David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) channeled a vast accumulation of raw images, memories, and lived experiences into a powerful visual language that was an undeniable presence in the New York City art scene of the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s. Through his several volumes of fiction, poetry, memoirs, painting, photography, installation, sculpture, film and performance, Wojnarowicz’s legacy affirms art’s vivifying power in a culture he viewed as alienating and corrosive. P∙P∙O∙W will present a selection of images from Arthur Rimbaud in New York, 1978-79/2004. In 1978, a 24 year old David Wojnarowicz took a series of photographs of a man wearing a paper mask bearing the face of Arthur Rimbaud, the French poet. The series has come to represent a brief period of innocence and indecency in downtown New York City – after Stonewall but before AIDS – rife with sex, drugs, art and material poverty. Complete portfolio of the 44 images which comprise this series are in the collection of the Reina Sofia Museum, New York Public Library, Dallas Museum of Art and Museum Ludwig. Wojnarowicz’s work has been included in solo and group exhibitions around the world, at institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The American Center, Paris, France; The Busan Museum of Modern Art, Korea; Centro Galego de Art Contemporanea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; The Barbican Art Gallery, London; and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne. His works are in permanent collections of major museums nationally and internationally and his life and work have been the subject of significant scholarly studies. Wojnarowicz has had retrospectives at the galleries of the Illinois State University in 1990, curated by Barry Blinderman and at the New Museum in 1999 curated by Dan Cameron. A third retrospective, David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night, co-curated by David Kiehl and David Breslin, will open at the Whitney Museum of American Art in July 2018.
Martin Wong (1946-1999) was active in the San Francisco Bay Area art scene during the 1970s and was involved with the performance art groups The Cockettes and Angels of Light. In 1978 he moved to Manhattan, eventually settling in the Lower East Side, where his attention turned exclusively to painting. Wong set forth to depict urban life on the Lower East Side where he then lived. Through his visual diary he built a landscape of stacked bricks, crumbling tenements, constellations, closed storefronts and hand signals. In Wong’s last major body of work he turned his attention to his own heritage and painted scenes from New York and San Francisco’s Chinatowns. Our presentation at Art Basel Hong Kong will feature paintings from this series, with particular focus on his depictions of women. Wong died in San Francisco from an AIDS related illness in 1999. His work can be found in museum collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Bronx Museum of The Arts, and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Wong had a one person show Sweet Oblivion at the New Museum (1998). City as Canvas: New York City Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection opened at the Museum of the City of New York in 2013 and traveled to the Amsterdam Museum in 2016. Wong's retrospective, Human Instamatic, opened at the Bronx Museum of The Arts in November 2015, the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio in May of 2016 and traveled to the UC Berkeley Art Museum in San Francisco, California in the fall of 2017.
Xiaoze Xie (b. 1966) is a realist painter, best known for his still lifes of rare and banned books from historic libraries around the world. For his recent series of Nocturne paintings, Xie focuses on observations of daily life, in particular, night scenes. On the Sidewalk (Guangzhou) 2016 presents an informal, urban economy – the sale of Nike and Adidas tennis shoes – in theatrical light, stage-like spaces, and enigmatic atmosphere. From carefully composed compositions captured with a sophisticated camera to simple snapshots taken with his iPhone, Xie’s paintings poetically document social conditions in transitional spaces. P∙P∙O∙W will also present a work from the series Forbidden Memories: Tracing Banned Books in China which explores the history of censorship, social memory and political discourse in China. Xie scoured libraries in China to photograph books and manuscripts historically banned due to their sexual content, or politically inflammatory material. Xie was born in 1966 in Guangdong, China and emigrated from the People’s Republic of China in 1992. His work has been widely exhibited in the U.S., Europe, and China and is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Oakland Museum of California. Xie is a recipient of the Academic Award in Painting, The 3rd Nanjing International Art Festival, Nanjing, P. R. China (2016), the Painters and Sculptors Grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2013), and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2003). Xie is the Paul L. & Phyllis Wattis Professor of Art at Stanford University. His work is currently the subject of an exhibition Eyes On: Xiaoze Xie at the Denver Art Museum on view through July 8, 2018.