P·P·O·W is pleased to present new works by Elizabeth Glaessner, Hilary Harkness, Sanam Khatibi, Judith Linhares, Gerald Lovell, Erin M. Riley, and Robin F. Williams alongside historic works by Jimmy DeSana, Carolee Schneemann, and Martin Wong.
Jimmy DeSana (1949-1990), a key figure in the New York downtown scene of the 1970s and 80s, created a body of photography that evinces a singular style typified by concealed figures, saturated colors, and surreal mise-en-scène, with subject matter that index the artist’s fascination with American suburbia and queer fetish subculture in equal measure. Begun in 1979, his iconic series Suburban makes an explicit visual connection between BDSM, experiences of suburbia, and consumer culture. DeSana photographed anonymous nude figures lit with tungsten lights and candy-colored gels but, rather than wearing leather masks, these collaborators’ backs often face the camera, or their heads are sunk in “products” or fetish objects such as purses, sinks, and toilets. This strategy protected the identity of his nude models and also contrasted with his better-known portrait work during this period. DeSana was born in Atlanta, GA, and received his BA from the Georgia State University in 1972 before relocating to New York’s East Village in the early 1970s. DeSana’s work can be found in numerous public collections including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NN; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. Submission, a retrospective curated by Drew Sawyer and accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, was presented at the Brooklyn Museum in 2023.
Carolee Schneemann (1939-2019) activated the female nude with a multidisciplinary practice that spanned sixty years and included painting, assemblage, performance, and film. Originally a painter in the Abstract Expressionist tradition, Schneemann was uninterested in the masculine heroism of New York painters of the time and turned to performance-based work, primarily characterized by research into visual traditions, taboos, and the body of the individual in relation to social bodies. This confrontation with power structures found further form in Schneemann’s War Mop, 1983, which focuses on the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the attack on the Palestinian Liberation Organization. In War Mop, Schneemann interrogates the “male paranoid imagination” through the rhythmic motion of the mop hitting televised images of wartime destruction. By contextualizing this kinetic sculpture alongside two dimensional works, our booth surveys points of thematic and strategic continuity throughout Schneemann’s influential six-decade career. Schneemann received a BA from Bard College and an MFA from the University of Illinois. Schneemann exhibited worldwide at institutions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; and the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, Spain. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Tate, London, UK; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; The Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; and Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, among others. Carolee Schneemann: Body Politics, curated by Lotte Johnson, was the first major exhibition since her death in 2019. Accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog, it opened at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK, in the fall of 2022.
A “documenter of the constellation of social life,” Martin Wong (1946-1999) developed innovative approaches to technique and form, creating rich surfaces and intricate details from astrology, architectural space, and various modes of language. Utilizing the manual alphabet of the deaf to convey public safety directives, Wong’s 1990 series Traffic Signs for Hearing Impaired was conceived during a six-month residency at the New York City Department of Transportation’s sign shop. As a hearing individual, Wong’s instant attraction to ASL is in keeping with his interest in calligraphy, poetry, and graffiti writing. Additionally, it reveals an affinity with society’s marginalized groups, a consistent touchstone throughout his oeuvre. Wong was born in Portland, Oregon and raised in the Chinatown district of San Francisco, California. He exhibited at notable New York galleries including EXIT ART, Semaphore, and P·P·O·W, among others, before his passing in San Francisco from an AIDS related illness. His work is represented in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Bronx Museum of The Arts, New York, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, among others. Martin Wong: Malicious Mischief will open at Camden Art Centre, London, on June 10, 2023. Curated by Krist Gruijthuijsen and Agustín Pérez-Rubio, this exhibition originated at the Museo Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo in Madrid. It travelled to the KW Institute of Contemporary Art, Berlin and will culminate at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in November 2023.
Working from a pool of art historical, mythological, and cultural references, Elizabeth Glaessner (b. 1984) embraces amorphousness in her subjects, who are formed in tandem with their environments through a technical process of poured pigments and pouncing brushwork. Her paintings act as portals into worlds unmoored by virtue or vice, where all manner of myths coexist unburdened by morality. In Girl with Arms, 2023, Glaessner invokes a double-entendre, conjuring a vulnerable yet confrontational allegory of painting. This female-presenting body is armed with a rudimentary weapon and is protected by the disembodied green limb of an unarticulated influence. Suffusing the subject’s face, this encroaching verdancy contrasts with the rosier, more fleshy tones of the body, suggesting a plurality of rational and irrational motivations. Glaessner was born in Palo Alto, California and grew up in Houston, Texas. After receiving her BA from Trinity University in 2006, she moved to New York and completed her MFA at the New York Academy of Art in 2013. She was awarded a postgraduate fellowship at the New York Academy of Art in 2013, a residency at GlogauAIR, Berlin in 2013, and a residency at the Leipzig International Art Programme in 2012. In February 2022, P·P·O·W presented Phantom Tail, Glaessner’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. Four Legs in a Garden, the first institutional solo presentation of Glaessner’s work, was on view at Le Consortium, Dijon, France, February 4 through May 2022. In November 2023, she will present a solo exhibition at Pond Society, Shanghai.
In her meticulously rendered paintings, Hilary Harkness (b. 1971) reimagines histories, commenting on sociocultural forces with a distinctly contemporary sensibility. In her ongoing 19th century episodic series, The Arabella Freeman Series, Harkness masterfully transforms Winslow Homer’s iconic Civil War-era paintings, offering a fictious narrative centered on an enduring relationship between Barlow, a gender fluid Union General, and a free Virginia landowning family. In Sharpshooter, 2023, Harkness paints a lush and bloody shootout between the Freeman family and Confederate soldiers. Transforming Homer’s Sharpshooter, 1863, she replaces the Virginian wilderness with an exact replica of a 19th century Russian landscape by Ivan Shishkin and Homer’s Union sniper with two Confederates who erotically straddle tall oak branches. One soldier puffs on his pipe in disbelief; the other has just fatally shot Justine, a medic disguised as a man and a close family friend of the Freemans. On her back she carries General Barlow’s newborn child, rescuing them from the General’s murderous desire to keep his sex secret. Harkness earned her BA from UC Berkeley and her MFA from Yale University. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY; Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain; American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY; Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, OR; and The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT; among others. Her work is in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY and has been featured in the New York Times, The New Yorker, and Interview magazine, among others. Harkness’s first solo exhibition at P·P·O·W will open in the fall 2023.
Channeling magical naturalism in her paintings, tapestries, and sculptures, Sanam Khatibi (b. 1979) explores peace and brutality, attraction and disgust, and ultimately, life and death, as synchronous forces of innate animality. At Low Tide, 2023 harness the erotic subtext of the “Death and the Maiden” motif, a recurring theme throughout the German Renaissance. Khatibi’s figures have recently grown to mythical proportions, claiming ever more space within her Edenic, otherworldly landscapes. Her subjects are found on a remote island shared with stag beetles and translucent moths, symbols of vitality and disease. The figures’ gigantism is reinforced by these insects, as well as a still life of arcane vessels, a consistent feature throughout Khatibi’s oeuvre. Rendered in miniature, these offerings are suggestive of an unspecified ritual that is not associated with prescribed beliefs. Khatibi lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. She has presented solo exhibitions at the Groeninge Museum, Bruges, Belgium; Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium; Kunsthal Gent, Gent, Belgium; and P·P·O·W, New York, NY, among others. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions at UTA Artist Space, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, Belgium; Centre Régional d’Art Contemporain Occitane, Sète, France; Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY; Musée d’Art Contemporain, Marseille, France; and Museum of Deinze, Deinze, Belgium, among others. She will present her second solo exhibition at P·P·O·W in May 2024.
Rooted in the California Bay Area counterculture of the 1960s and 70s, Judith Linhares (b. 1940) composes folkloric, figurative paintings from confident, abstract brushwork, utilizing broad strokes and brilliant fields of color to gradually develop her subjects. Known for her lush scenes of uninhibited women communing with nature, as well as intimate still lives and portraits of animals, Linhares draws from childhood memories, poetry, and dreams to create her unique and irradiant worlds. In Emily's Roses, 2023 Linhares expands upon the definition of the still life, imbuing the genre with the same weight and allegorical meaning as her larger figurative scenes. In this work, everyday domestic objects and their relational drama take center stage. A kaleidoscopic scene exuding color, light and emotion, Emily's Roses, 2023 is inspired by the life and poetry of Emily Dickenson, whose isolated but rich inner life was driven by a close observation of nature. Less concerned with accurate representation than with the act of painting itself and the metaphors it can convey, Linhares’ elevation of often overlooked objects and natural surroundings reveals the still life’s ability to hold feeling, critique, humor, and metaphor. Linhares earned her BA and MFA degrees from California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; the de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia, PA, among others. Linhares’ second solo exhibition at P·P·O·W, Banshee Sunrise, opened in April 2022. Honey in the Rock, Linhares’ first solo exhibition at Massimo de Carlo, London, opened in April 2023 and her first solo exhibition with Parker Gallery, Los Angeles, will open this November.
For Gerald Lovell (b. 1992) painting is an act of biography. Combining flat and impressionistic painting with thick daubs of impasto, Lovell’s monumental portraits depict loving scenes, refuting the notion that representations of Black figures are inherently political. Rather, his subjects are imbued with social agency and self-determinative power, while also revealing details that express their individual humanity. Referencing the history of male group portraiture, specifically that of the Northern Baroque, Untitled (Christian's Birthday), 2023 depicts a celebratory moment of Black male love in the face of bigotry, violence, and expectations of masculinity. Based on a candid photograph taken at a birthday party, the painting depicts a group of Black male friends laying together casually and joyously. A knot of limbs, expressions, and attire, the group expresses collective defiance, as well as their disregard for cultural norms and the viewer’s perception. Lovell includes himself on the periphery of the scene, affirming his belief in the resiliency of intimate Black male friendship. Gerald Lovell (b. 1992, Chicago, IL) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His work can be found in prominent public and private collections including the High Museum, Atlanta, GA. He has exhibited at P·P·O·W, New York; Jeffrey Deitch, Moore Building, Miami, FL; Peter Kilchmann, Zurich, Switzerland; Anthony Gallery, Chicago, IL; Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Charlotte, NC; and the Houston Museum of African American Culture, TX, among others. Lovell’s work was recently on view in What is left unspoken, Love at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA. His second solo exhibition with P·P·O·W will open in January 2024.
Erin M. Riley (b. 1985) weaves meticulously crafted, large-scale tapestries that depict intimate, erotic, and psychologically raw imagery. Collaging personal photographs, images sourced from the internet, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera to create her compositions, she exposes the range of women’s lived experiences and how trauma weighs on the search for self-identity. Riley notes, “To see any textile is to experience the journey of the maker.” In her ongoing series of nude self-portraits, which she has been expanding upon for almost a decade, Riley elevates the culturally pervasive selfie to a distinctly contemporary form of self-portraiture. From her earliest works, she has conspicuously voided her subjects faces, a practice she continues in Do you see me?, 2023. However, in this latest work, she expands her use of pictorial space by shaping the tapestry in the form of a full-length mirror, a construction that ambiguously implicates the viewer. Riley describes this complex yet unspecified take on portraiture as an effort to engage with many women’s stories. She has said, “I want to talk about how relationships start and evolve, along with the traumatic experiences that exist all at once.” Riley received her BA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art. Her work has been included in solo and group exhibitions at P·P·O·W, New York; Galerie Julien Cadet, Paris; Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles; Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden; The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs; Gana Art Gallery, Seoul; among others. Her work was recently featured in 52 Artists: A Feminist Milestone at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, manifesto of fragility, the 16th Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art, and Kingdom of the Ill at Museion, Bolzano, Italy. In 2024, she will present solo exhibitions at kaufmann repetto, Milan, Italy, and MassArt Art Museum, Boston, MA.
Known for her large-scale paintings of stylized, sentient figures, Robin F. Williams (b. 1984) employs a variety of techniques to create highly textured and complexly constructed paintings. Williams’ newest works feature protagonists from B-horror movies, a genre that consistently perpetuates fundamentalist dichotomies surrounding women’s bodies. She then augments these citations with visual effects such as VHS distortions and analog static found in filmic references. In Light in a Dark Room, 2023, Williams draws inspiration from multiple films, combining various elements to create what she refers to as a “fan fiction” painting. Echoing the composition of Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith and Her Maidservant, 1623, Williams integrates references to the slasher film The Slumber Party Massacre, 1982, the erotic vampire film Daughters of Darkness, 1971, and the psychological thriller Peeping Tom, 1960. Ebbing between abstraction and figuration, Williams subverts the conventional figure-ground relationship, transforming restrictive female tropes into expanded matrices that transcend individual bodies. Williams received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and has presented solo exhibitions at P·P·O·W, New York, NY; Various Small Fires, Los Angeles, CA; Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Great Barrington, MA; and Jack the Pelican Presents, Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions worldwide including In New York, Thinking of You (Part I), Flag Art Foundation, New York, NY; I’m Not Your Mother, P·P·O·W, New York, NY; Fire Figure Fantasy, ICA Miami, Miami, FL; Present Generations, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Bitter Nest, Galerie Perrotin, Tokyo, Japan; XENIA: Crossroads in Portrait Painting, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY; Nicolas Party: Pastel, Flag Art Foundation, New York, NY; SEED, curated by Yvonne Force, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY; and more. Her work is currently in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; Collection Majudia, Montreal, Canada; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL; X Museum, Beijing, China; among others. This fall, Williams will present a solo exhibition with Morán Morán in Mexico City, Mexico.