P·P·O·W is pleased to present new works by Kyle Dunn, Elizabeth Glaessner, Hilary Harkness, Sanam Khatibi, Dinh Q. Lê, Hew Locke, Guadalupe Maravilla, Robin F. Williams, and Martha Wilson alongside historic works by Carolee Schneemann, Martin Wong, and David Wojnarowicz.
Carolee Schneemann (1939-2019) activated the female nude with a multidisciplinary practice that spanned sixty years and includes 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. Between 1973 and 1976, Schneemann performed Up to and Including Her Limits nine times, suspending herself from the ceiling in a tree surgeon’s harness, continually raising and lowering herself with trance-like movements as she produced a tangled web of marks on sheets of paper covering the walls and floor. Schneemann conceived of this work as a direct response to the masculine legacy of Abstract Expressionism, specifically Jackson Pollock’s “action painting,” as well as a rejection of the conventions of performance, such as a fixed audience, technical cues, and even conscious intention. Schneemann received a B.A. in Poetry and Philosophy from Bard College and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois. Schneemann has 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. The comprehensive retrospective, Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Painting, organized by the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Austria (2015) traveled to the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany (2017) and MoMA PS1, New York, NY (2018). Carolee Schneemann: Body Politics, the first survey of Schneemann in the UK and the first major exhibition since her death in 2019, will open 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 formed from architectural space, graphic text, astrology, and American Sign Language. An incredible accumulation of the artist’s iconic imagery, Lacer, 1990-91, deftly combines Wong’s fascination with universal symbolism, evidenced in the beautifully rendered brickwork atop a series of identifiable constellations, with his proud display of queer representation. Through these gestures, Lacer is a distillation of Wong’s artistic ethos: the particulars of the artist’s everyday are transposed into the general, elevating the commonplace of building exteriors and stars in the sky to the level of religious icon. Wong was born in Portland, Oregon and raised in the Chinatown district of San Francisco, California. He studied ceramics at Humboldt State University, graduating in 1968. He 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 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. Human Instamatic, a comprehensive retrospective, opened at the Bronx Museum of The Arts in November 2015 before traveling to the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH in 2016 and the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA in 2017. Malicious Mischief, a forthcoming comprehensive retrospective, will be on view at Centro Dos de Mayo, Madrid, from November 10, 2022 – January 29, 2023, and will travel to KW, Berlin, Germany; Camden Arts Centre, London, UK; and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) channeled a vast accumulation of raw images, sounds, memories and lived experiences into a powerful voice that was an undeniable presence in the New York City art scene of the 1970s, 80s and early 90s. In Fear of Evolution, 1988-89, the artist turned to his typical subject matter, namely depictions of animals and regimented forms of exchange. For Wojnarowicz, animals were an often-used symbol that he employed to question menacing collusions between government and industry, as well as our ethical relationships to other species. At once a formally deft composition, Wojnarowicz combines everyday images in fascinating juxtaposition to critique, in the artist’s words, “the pre-invented world” and our acceptance of given systems. Wojnarowicz has been included in solo and group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; American Center, Paris, France; Busan Museum of Modern Art, Busan, South Korea; Centro Galego de Art Contemporanea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK; and Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany. 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, 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 traveled to the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid in May 2019, and the Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg City in November 2019. A concurrent exhibition of Wojnarowicz’s films and photographs opened at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin in 2019. Wojnarowicz: Fuck You Faggot Fucker, a comprehensive feature-length documentary directed by Chris McKim, premiered in November 2020 and was named one of 2021’s best documentaries by Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Esquire, and IndieWire, among others.
Kyle Dunn (b. 1990) paints luminous, physiologically complex scenes that depict the broad range of masculine emotional landscapes not often represented in visual culture. Intertwining autobiographical and fictional narratives within ambiguous and spatially deceptive environments drenched in eroticism and cinematic drama, Dunn captures the simultaneous anxiety and nascent hope of our present moment. Theatrically lit, Match II, 2022, finds its protagonist laying on the floor with a gaze of contemplative ambivalence. An intimate portrait about a brief affair, this work is saturated with a hot, red light that recedes across the subject’s face into somber sepia tones. Resting nearby on succulent orange slices, a single spent match represents a spark of romance gone up in smoke all too quickly. Reflecting on his practice, Dunn notes, “There is a kind of humor and silliness to big emotions, at least when you are looking back and processing. Making paintings is a way for me to distill messy situations in my life down to something understandable.” Dunn lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and received his BFA in Interdisciplinary Sculpture from the Maryland Institute College of Art. His work has been included in exhibitions at P·P·O·W, New York, NY; Marlborough Gallery, London, UK; GRIMM, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Maria Bernheim, Zurich, Switzerland; Thierry Goldberg Gallery, New York, NY; and Little Berlin, Philadelphia, PA, among others. His work is in the collections of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL and the Sunpride Foundation, Hong Kong. Dunn presented a solo exhibition at Galerie Maria Bernheim, Zurich in June 2021. P·P·O·W presented Into Open Air, Dunn’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, in 2020. His second solo exhibition with the gallery will open in March 2023. His work is currently on view at the ICA, Miami, FL in Fire Figure Fantasy: Selections from ICA Miami’s Collection, through October 30, 2022.
Siphoning inspiration from an evolving pool of art historical, mythological, and cultural references, and inspired by symbolist painters such as Edvard Munch, Elizabeth Glaessner (b. 1984) conjures a surreal universe of hypnotic landscapes populated by androgynous doppelgängers, sphinxes, fiends, mirages, and more. Inviting amorphousness in her subjects and environments, Glaessner’s paintings act as portals, shepherding us into a world unmoored by virtue or vice where all manner of myths coexist without predetermined moral resolution. Reveling in transformation and multiplicity, Sweat, 2022 depicts a nebulous figure whose enigmatic limbs sprout faces and converge with the surrounding environment. Through both process and composition, Glaessner seeks to better understand the emotional world by making it visual, the figures ultimately serving as conduits for ineffable emotion. 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 22, 2022. This fall, Glaessner will present a solo exhibition at Perrotin, Paris, France.
In her meticulously rendered paintings, Hilary Harkness (b. 1971) reimagines histories that comment on sociocultural forces with a distinctly contemporary sensibility. Harkness’ work explores interpersonal dynamics through a lens that allows power struggles inherent in sex, race, and class systems to play out on an uncensored stage. In her ongoing, 19th century episodic series, The Arabella Freeman Series, Harkness masterfully transforms the making of Winslow Homer’s iconic Civil War era painting Prisoners from the Front, 1866, to present an alternative narrative centered around an enduring relationship between Homer’s protagonist, Union General Barlow, and a fictitious, free Virginia landowning family, the Freemans. Challenging our visual understanding of American mythology, Harkness reimagines General Barlow as a trans man, which he keeps hidden from his regiment. However, all is revealed despite his efforts in Birth in Battle, 2022, after Barlow is wounded during the Battle of Antietam and is induced into labor. Forced to give birth, Barlow is held by the beautiful Charles Freeman, the father of the child and fellow soldier, and the unit’s doctor, whose physique recalls that of one of Tom of Finland’s studs. A wounded soldier nearby sits stunned as he bears witness to the miraculous event of his male superior giving birth in front of him. Justine, family friend of the Freemans and who is also disguised as a man, is visible in the background. She will be fatally wounded in the battle but survives long enough to deliver Barlow’s baby to Arabella Freeman with the final words, "it's the General's baby.” Intrigue abounds as Arabella believes the baby is her lover General Barlow’s, but she will soon discover it is in fact her brother Charles’ bastard. Harkness earned her BA from UC Berkeley and her MFA from Yale University. She has exhibited at The Flag Art Foundation, New York, NY; the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain; and the Deste Foundation, Nea Ionia, Greece, 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 the gallery will open in the fall 2023.
Channeling magical naturalism through paintings, tapestries, and sculptures, Sanam Khatibi (b. 1979) both exalts and cautions against the fine line between triumph and failure, peace and brutality, and ultimately, civilization and destruction with her atemporal and allegorical works. In her first depiction of an interior scene, Traditional Morning Worship, 2022, Khatibi combines her signature dark humor with the history of Shunga, a classical Japanese erotic artform which was enjoyed by both men and women and faced censorship from its ancient inception through the 19th century. Instead of her distinctive nude nymphs, Khatibi depicts two geisha-esque women adorned in elegant, sumptuously patterned traditional Japanese garb in the midst of an erotic pissing match, a pearl-like ping pong being held in the air by both their efforts. While the term “pissing match” is typically associated with adolescent boys or the futility of the male driven ego, Khatibi’s female version is characteristically ambiguous. Surrounding the dueling figures are multiple miniature still lives or vanitas which are once alive and fossilized. An ornate vase of cut branches, shells, bones, snuff bottles, a carved human skull, and other trinkets, underscore the scene’s ambivalent relationship to power, control, violence, ritual, sexuality, domination, and submission. 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. She has also been included in Paradise, the Kortrijk Triennial, Belgium in 2021 and The Seventh Continent, the 16th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey, curated by Nicholas Bourriaud in 2019. 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. Khatibi’s solo exhibition, In my dreams, I kill him every night, opens June 4 at Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo, Brazil.
Working in photography, film, and installation, Dinh Q. Lê (b. 1968) challenges Western narratives of war and migration to present the complex and nuanced perspective of Vietnam and the global Vietnamese diaspora. Synthesizing his own memories with media portrayals and popular culture, Lê’s singular voice has reframed global histories of Southern Vietnam, challenging censorship, exploitation, and propaganda from all sides. Weaving photographs together using a traditional technique he learned from his aunt, Cambodia Reamker 16, 2022, hybridizes ancient and modern iconographies of Cambodian culture into a multivalent new narrative. For this work, Lê photographed a fresco of the national epic poem of Cambodia, Reamker, currently housed in the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. A foundational myth of Khmer history, Reamker explores the struggle to balance good and evil, justice and fidelity. Lê interweaves his photo with bitterly iconic black and white portraits taken by the Khmer Rouge to document prisoners who they brutally violated and slaughtered throughout the late-1970s. Lê’s decades-long commitment to restoring dignity and cultural specificity to survivors of violent conflict is rooted in lived experience. A refugee of the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in 1978, Lê came of age in the United States, later to return in adulthood as a kind of modern foreigner. Lê holds a BFA from UC Santa Barbara. He has participated in the 2013 Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; the 2009 Biennale Cuveê, Linz, Austria; the 2008 Singapore Biennale, Singapore; and the 2006 Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane, Australia. His work has been exhibited at major institutions and international exhibitions including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh, PA; MoMA PS1, New York, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; and the Asia Society, New York, NY, among many others. In 2010, he was awarded the Prince Claus Award for his outstanding contribution to cultural exchange. His work is currently on view in Photographing the thread of memory, a solo exhibition of new works at the Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, Paris, France and will be featured in the forthcoming survey exhibition Living Pictures: Photography in Southeast Asia at the National Gallery, Singapore, in November 2022.
Through painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and installation, Hew Locke RA (b. 1959) explores the languages of colonial and post-colonial power, and the symbols through which different cultures assume and assert identity. In his photo-sculptural series, Patriots, Locke dresses images of American founding fathers in cowrie shells, brass manillas, trade beads and chains that reference the history and legacy of slavery in America. Continuing his exploration of the history of votive boats, Locke’s maritime installation Gravesend, 2019, comprises three boats adorned with jewels, charms, military badges, replica medals, and historic coins which recall the economics of international trade, as well as interconnected histories of the global diaspora. Locke spent his formative years in Guyana before returning to the UK to complete an MA in sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 1994. His work is in the permanent collections of the Tate, London, UK; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY; Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL; and the British Museum, London, UK, among others. His work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including Here’s the Thing which opened at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK in 2019 before traveling to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO and the Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME. In March 2022, Locke opened The Procession, a large-scale installation responding to the unique architecture and context of the neo-classical Duveen Galleries as the annual Tate Britain Commission. This fall, Locke will present The Facade Commission: Hew Locke, Gilt, a suite of new sculptures installed in the facade niches of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Culling the entangled fictional and autobiographical genealogies of border crossing accounts, Guadalupe Maravilla (b. 1976) nurtures collective narratives of trauma into celebrations of perseverance and humanity. In his ongoing Tripa Chuca series, Maravilla combines objects collected during the retracing of his original migration route and digitally printed icons from his retablo paintings with maps from “Historia Tolteca Chichimeca,” a sixteenth-century Nahuatl manuscript about the Toltec and Chichimec peoples of a region now part of central Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Atop these maps, Maravilla traces imaginary immigration routes, sketches made by undocumented immigrants in the United States, as well as illustrations inspired by a Salvadoran game called ‘Tripa Chuca,’ a pastime which consists of creating a map between two people using lines and interconnected numbers. Maravilla received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts and his MFA from Hunter College in New York. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL; the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Olso, Norway; and the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX, among others. Maravilla recently received the Lise Wilhelmsen Art Award and his solo exhibition, Sound Botánica, at the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Olso, Norway, is open through August 7, 2022. Maravilla's solo exhibitions, Luz y fuerza and Guadalupe Maravilla: Tierra Blanca Joven, are currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Brooklyn Museum, New York respectively. Guadalupe Maravilla: Purring Monsters with Mirrors on Their Backs will open at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver on June 3, 2022.
Known for her large-scale paintings of stylized, sentient, yet ambiguously generated female figures, Robin F. Williams (b. 1984) employs a variety of techniques, including oil, airbrush, poured paint, marbling, and staining of raw canvas to create deeply textured and complexly constructed paintings. Forgoing her characteristic use of masking tape, Williams’ new series of paintings play with visual effects such as VHS distortions and analog static found in her filmic references. In new works such as Carrie, 2022, Williams sources her protagonists from B-horror movies, a genre that consistently perpetuates cultural contradictions and fundamentalist dichotomies surrounding women’s bodies. Adopting the role of steward, Williams’ depictions of these cinematic women in popularized vulnerable states exposes our communal complicity in the persistent exploitation of the feminine and defies each viewer to end such abuse. Williams received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. She 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 nationally and internationally including 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; and X Museum, Beijing, China; among others.
Over the past five decades, Martha Wilson (b. 1947) has created innovative photographic, performance, and video works that explore female subjectivity through role-playing, costume transformations, and “invasions” of other people’s personae. Wilson began making videos and photo/text works in the early 1970s while teaching English in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and further developed her performative and video-based practice after moving to New York in 1974, embarking on a long career that would see her gain attention across the U.S. While in Halifax, Wilson created a video responding to Bruce Nauman’s 1969 film, Bouncing Balls, in which the artist bounces his testicles in extreme close-up. Her original response since lost, Wilson recreated this version of Bouncing Balls in 2021. Mimicking the Nauman film, Wilson bounces her now 73-year-old breasts which, as she says in the video, “makes this piece perhaps less alluring… but so it goes.” Wilson is the founder of Franklin Furnace, a non-profit gallery and performance space which facilitated publications, experimental performances, exhibitions, and online exhibitions for hundreds of artists including Coco Fusco, Pope.L, Martha Rosler, Michael Smith, Annie Sprinkle, and Ree Morton, among others. For four decades, Wilson has performed nationally and internationally in the guises of Alexander Haig, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Tipper Gore, among others. In the spring of 2008, Wilson presented Martha Wilson: Photo/Text Works, 1971-74, her first solo exhibition in New York City, at Mitchell Algus Gallery. Since 2009, Independent Curators International has traveled the exhibition Martha Wilson: Staging the Self to numerous university galleries and institutions throughout the United States and Canada. The corresponding catalog Martha Wilson Sourcebook: 40 Years of Reconsidering Performance, Feminism, Alternative Spaces received The Specific Object 2011 Publication of the Year award. In the fall of 2021, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, presented Martha Wilson in Halifax, 1972-1974, the first institutional presentation of Wilson’s groundbreaking early installation The Halifax Collection.