P·P·O·W is pleased to present historical and contemporary works by Martin Wong, David Wojnarowicz, Carolee Schneemann, Hilary Harkness, Judith Linhares, Gerald Lovell, Erin M. Riley, Allison Schulnik, George Boorujy and Portia Munson. We are also delighted to present Portia Munson’s immersive installation The Garden, 1996, in the inaugural edition of Meridians.
Martin Wong (1946-1999) is best known for deploying a unique visual lexicon of stacked bricks, crumbling tenements, constellations and hand signals to passionately render urban life. With Picture Show at Semaphore Gallery in 1986, Wong confronted the gentrification of New York City’s Lower East Side in a series of life-size paintings that depict gated facades. In his artist statement, Wong wrote, “I wanted to focus in close on some of the endless layers of conflict and confinement that have us all bound together in this life without possibility of parole.” P·P·O·W will present one work from the series, Poetry Storefront, 1986, which documents the Nuyorican Poets’ Café on East 6th Street, founded by Miguel Algarían and Mickey Piñero. This seminal work will be exhibited alongside an untitled, undated work that exemplifies Wong’s use of stacked bricks and sign language as both metaphor and motif. Rigorously painted on a heart-shaped canvas, this brick wall bears a blue ASL plaque that reads “For Sale”. Wong was active in the performance art groups, The Cockettes and Angels of Light before moving to New York in 1978. He exhibited for two decades at notable downtown galleries including EXIT ART, Semaphore and P·P·O·W, among others. Wong died in San Francisco from an AIDS related illness. His work is represented in the collections of 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, among others. In 1998, Wong had a one person at the New Museum, New York. Human Instamatic, a comprehensive retrospective, opened at the Bronx Museum of The Arts, New York, in 2015; Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio in 2016; and UC Berkeley Art Museum in 2017.
David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) was among the most incisive and prolific American artists of the 1980s and 90s. Channeling a vast accumulation of raw images, sounds, memories and lived experiences, Wojnarowicz became well known for his spray-painted iconographies, blunt semiotics and graphic illustrations that deftly conveyed his cultural critiques. Wojnarowicz’s work has been exhibited at 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 work is 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, curated by Barry Blinderman (1990) and at the New Museum, curated by Dan Cameron (1999). A third retrospective, David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night, co-curated by David Kiehl and David Breslin, opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art in July 2018. The widely acclaimed exhibition has been reviewed in Artforum, The Guardian, The New York Times and The New Yorker, among others. The retrospective, which traveled to the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid in May 2019, is currently on view at the Musee d/Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg City through February 2020.
Carolee Schneemann (1939- 2019) activated the female nude with a multidisciplinary practice that spanned sixty years and included painting, assemblage, performance, and film. Her paintings form the 1950s and 60s initially harnessed the lineage of Modernism and Abstract Expressionism, but quickly transitioned into painting-constructions, kinetic sculptures, films and performances. In 1993, Schneemann declared, “I’m a painter. I’m still a painter and I will die a painter. Everything that I have developed has to do with extending visual principles off the canvas.” Personae: JT and Three Kitch's, 1957, uses confident brushstrokes and rich polychrome to depict the nude male form of her then-partner and frequent collaborator James Tenney. This work is suspected to be the cause of her expulsion from Bard for ‘moral turpitude’. Schneemann’s ensuing career was plagued with censorship, which both stymied and stimulated her explorations of patriarchal conventions and desire to evidence a deep history of female iconography. Schneemann has exhibited worldwide, at institutions including the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Modern, London; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and The Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid. The comprehensive retrospective Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Paintings recently traveled from Museum der Moderne, Salzburg (2015), to the Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2017) and MoMA PS1, New York (2018). On Saturday, December 7, Art Basel Conversations will hold a panel discussion entitled “Double Knowledge: The Legacy of Carolee Schneemann.”
Hilary Harkness (b. 1971) meticulously renders reimagined histories that comment on sociocultural forces with a distinctly contemporary sensibility. For the Kabinett program, P·P·O·W will present an erotic fantasy centered on the making of mid-19th century American mythology inspired by Winslow Homer’s Prisoners from the Front, 1866. Harkness’s interpretation of this iconic work takes place over in a trio of narrative scenes, including an interracial romance between Union General Francis Channing Barlow and Arabella Freeman, a Virginia landowner. Contextualized by an ongoing series of intimate landscape paintings that Harkness has steadily executed since 2016, these paintings provide different accounts of the legacy of slavery and the Great Migration, enriching the complex morality of both American history and the history of American Art. Harkness holds a BA from University of California, Berkeley and an MFA from Yale University. She has exhibited worldwide, including Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain; American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Deste Foundation, Athens, Greece. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. From 2003 to 2019, she was represented by Mary Boone Gallery. In 2014, she co-curated Roy Lichtenstein: Nudes and Interiors at FLAG Art Foundation. In 2017, she received the Henry Clews Award and attended the inaugural Master Residency Program at the Château de La Napoule in France.
Rooted in the California Bay Area counterculture of the 60s and 70s, Judith Linhares (b. 1940) combines modes of abstract expressionism with Bay Area figuration to create uniquely irradiant paintings. Approaching figuration through abstracted forms, Linhares utilizes broad brushstrokes and fields of color to gradually develop her subjects. Celebrating the female body, collectivity, and communal experience, her band of sirens climb trees, ride on horseback, or delight in drunken revelry. Such subject matter is inspired by her upbringing and imagination, and the resulting works are surreal or fantastical depictions of everyday activities and objects. Linhares earned her BFA and MFA degrees from California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA. She was included in the influential Bad Painting exhibition at the New Museum, organized by legendary curator Marcia Tucker. In the early 1990s, a traveling survey, Dangerous Pleasures: The Art of Judith Linhares, toured museums and galleries on both coasts. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions nationally and internationally and is included in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts’ Contemporary Art: Five Propositions through May 4, 2020. Linhares is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and has received multiple grants from the National Endowments for the Arts. Her work is held in many permanent collections, including the de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY.
Born in Chicago to Puerto Rican and African American parents, Gerald Lovell (b. 1992) began his artistic practice after dropping out of the graphic design program at the University of West Georgia. Now based in Atlanta, the self-taught painter uses a unique combination of interspersed impasto and flat planes of color to create mesmerizing and strikingly life-like portraits, which describe the lived experiences of his family and peers. Attuned to the inherent struggles of his chosen medium, Lovell uses his paintings as a means of self-discovery and self-articulation while careful not to impose narratives on his subjects. Through painting Lovell captures the present moment in order to preserve and honor it. His work has been featured in exhibitions at The Gallery | Wish, Atlanta, GA; the Hammonds House Museum, Atlanta, GA; Mason Fine Art, Atlanta, GA; and Swim Gallery, Los Angeles, CA.
Erin M. Riley (b. 1985) is a fiber artist who renders erotic, personal and psychologically raw imagery in hand-dyed wool tapestries. Her work explores the innate difficulty of womanhood, objectification of the female body, and traumas both large and small that weigh on the search for self-identity. Often autobiographical, Riley’s tapestries explore aspects of personal or family history, as well as local news story and popular media narratives – images that are essential to processing her own experiences and to destigmatizing trauma. Riley received her BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions throughout the U.S., the United Kingdom, and Australia. Riley has lectured extensively throughout the country and has had residencies at The MacDowell Colony, NH and the Museum of Art and Design, NY. Used Tape, Riley’s debut exhibition at P·P·O·W took place in May 2018. In her review for the New York Times, Jillian Steinhauer writes, “Ms. Riley successfully intertwines two strands of second-wave feminist art: the reclamation of so-called craft mediums and women’s use of their bodies. Into this she braids the distanced gaze of the still life. If the show has a thesis statement, it might be that for women, pain and pleasure remain perilously intertwined — a lesson that bears repeating in the time of #MeToo.”
Seamlessly transitioning between painting, sculpture, and animation, Allison Schulnik (b. 1978) paints with a dense impasto and chooses subjects that meld theatricality with emotional vulnerability. Sourcing images from domestic life, nature, dreams, and childhood memories both real and imagined, Schulnik explores the murky and sometimes farcical terrain of nostalgia and the macabre. P·P·O·W will present recent paintings that express her life as seen through the red haze of Palm Desert, where she and her husband currently live, work, and raise their newborn baby, Tupelo. Schulnik also works in animation, a medium she has employs as an extension of background in dance. Schulnik lives and works in Sky Valley, CA. She has exhibited internationally at festivals and museums including the Hammer Museum, LACMA, Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Animafest Zagreb. Solo exhibitions of Schulnik’s work have been presented at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, CA; Oklahoma City Museum of Art, OK; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS; Mark Moore Gallery, Los Angeles; ZieherSmith, New York, NY; and Galeria Javier Lopez & Fer Frances, Madrid. Schulnik's work can be found in numerous museum collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Santa Barbara Art Museum; Museé de Beaux Arts (Montreal); Laguna Art Museum; The Crocker Art Museum; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; and The Albright-Knox Gallery. P·P·O·W will present a solo exhibition of new works in Spring 2020.
Drawing on American naturalist and realist traditions, George Boorujy (b. 1973) creates immaculately rendered large scale portraits of animals both alive and extinct. Based on his extensive research into Florida’s ecosystem, Boorujy has recently turned his focus to Floridian animals that are extinct due to the growing global environmental crisis. Maintaining scientific and anatomical exactness, Boorujy’s creatures are now flooded, swept away, and in the process of being transformed by the invisible yet powerful force of their changing environments. An environmental activist, Boorujy has imbued his most recent work with a newfound urgency and mourning of our vanishing natural world. Boorujy attended the University of Miami intending to study marine biology and fine art. After traveling North America, he obtained his MFA from the School of Visual Arts, NY in 2002. His conceptual project ‘The New York Pelagic Project’ has circulated his drawings across the Atlantic and has garnered considerable critical attention. Boorujy has exhibited in the U.S. and abroad, including a solo exhibition at the Central Park Arsenal in New York City. Boorujy lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
For over two decades, Portia Munson (b. 1961) has created maximal installations, paintings and sculptures that harness a vast array of synthetic products. Alongside a selection of oil paintings, P·P·O·W will present Her Coffin, 2016, a glass box filled with thousands of discarded pink plastic products manufactured for and marketed towards women and girls. Munson has long been interested in colors that are used to signify and commodify gender and the way the colors have been strategically modulated for different generations. Her Coffin acts as a time capsule, depicting what Munson describes as “this carcinogenic plastic moment in time.” As part of the inaugural edition of Meridians, Munson will present The Garden, 1996, an immersive installation which takes the form of a woman’s bedroom densely layered with floral dresses, stuffed animals, furniture, and fake flowers. Seductive and repulsive, this installation amplifies capitalism’s vision of bourgeois femininity, where the act of acquiring to meet societal standards fuels the momentum of hyper-consumption and climate crisis. Munson holds a BFA from Cooper Union and a MFA from Rutgers University, and has studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been exhibited at The New Museum, New York, NY; Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, Denmark; Portsmouth Museum of Fine Art, Portsmouth, NH; MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; Wave Hill, Bronx, NY; The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki, Finland, among others. She is represented in numerous private and public collections, including 21C Museum (Louisville, KY), Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Lyndhurst, OH, The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA and the U.S. Department of State. In 2019, Munson was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant.