Ann Agee (b. 1959) Many of Agee’s works meditate on the traditional role of women in the house, and the way in which they construct and influence an interior. Agee challenges our definition of craft through elevating utilitarian objects to the level of artwork – in taking a frame, vase or plate, for example, and turning it into a ceramic sculpture. Many of the works are stamped with Agee Manufacturing Co., a signature of sorts, exemplifying Agee’s desires to replicate, copy and mimic pre-existing forms; the stamp creates a mirage that the work is a multiple and not unique when in fact, replicated or not, all of Agee’s works are unique. This play between art, material and function, is a constant point of exploration for Agee, and much of her work playfully tows the line between object and artwork, form and function, handmade and readymade. A recreation of Agee’s ceramic installation, Lake Michigan Bathroom (1992), will be on view, last seen in New York at the New Museum in 1994 in the Bad Girls Show curated by Marcia Tucker. In its original conception the work was made of industrial cast vitreous china, now it is made of porcelain, stoneware coils and slabs, which reinstates Agee’s interest in replicating by hand industrial techniques to further explore how culture venerates objects that are replicated and reproduced. Agee lives and works in Brooklyn. She has had installations at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA, and her work has been included in notable ceramics exhibitions, including Dirt on Delight, Institute of Contemporary Art, PA and the Walker Art Center, MN, and Conversations in Clay, Katonah Art Museum, NY. In 2011 she was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and has also been the recipient of The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, among others. Her works are included in the permanent collection of notable institutions including: The Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY; The Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; The RISD Art Museum, RI; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; The Henry Art Museum in Seattle, WA; The Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan, WI; and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, FL.
Nicole Eisenman (b. 1965) A recipient of a 2015 MacArthur Genius Grant, Eisenman, according to the MacArthur Foundation, is an artist who is expanding the critical and expressive capacity of the Western figurative tradition through works that engage contemporary social issues and phenomena. Over the course of nearly four decades and working across various media, including painting, sculpture, drawing, and printmaking, Eisenman has restored to the representation of the human form a cultural significance that had waned during the ascendancy of abstraction in the twentieth century. She draws on narrative and rhetorical modes—including allegory and satire—to explore such themes as gender and sexuality, family dynamics, and inequalities of wealth and power. At the same time, she stages dialogues with artists from the past, both by referencing specific works and by employing stylistic and thematic approaches derived from art historical movements. Eisenman says of her work, “I paint the figure because I know the world through my body, and I understand my desires and my anxieties through my body, and the desires and anxieties of our culture." Eisenman is represented by Anton Kern Gallery in New York. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at such institutions as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Kunsthalle Zürich, and the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany. In 2014, she was the subject of a midcareer retrospective exhibition organized by the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, that traveled to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego.
Carolee Schneemann (b. 1939) As one of the first woman artists, along with Yoko Ono and Shigeko Kubota, to use her body in her work, Schneemann activated and took control over the formerly mute female nude. In the photographic series Eye Body: 36 Transformative Actions (1963), she merged her body with the loft environment of her painting/constructions. Though famed for her seminal role in the history of performance art, Schneemann rejects the terminology of ‘performance’ as a frame for viewing her work. A feature length film on Schneemann’s work and history entitled Breaking the Frame by Marielle Nitoslawska has recently been completed and shown at the Telluride Film Festival, BFI/London Film Festival, FNC Montreal, Glasgow, Cleveland and this month at the WRO Biennial, Wroclaw, Poland and Videoex, Zurich. Schneemann’s work has been exhibited worldwide, at institutions including the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Reina Sophia Museum, Madrid and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Her published books include Cezanne; She Was A Great Painter (1976); Early and Recent Work (1983); More Than Meat Joy: Complete Performance Works and Selected Writings (1979); Correspondence Course (2010) by Kristine Stiles, and Imaging Her Erotics–Essays, Interviews, Projects (2002). A retrospective of her work will open at the Salzburg Museum in November of 2015, and she will be featured in the Tate Modern’s upcoming show, Performing for the Camera opening in February of 2016.
Martha Wilson (b. 1947) Since the early 1970s, Wilson has created conceptually based performances, videos, and photo/text compositions that grapple with constructions and manifestations of feminism, identity, and the way we construct and present ourselves. Frequently taking herself as subject, Wilson creates transgressive, avant-garde works that address political and social issues, teasing out complexity and nuance by infusing her work with playful gestures and humorous juxtapositions. Presenting a new body of work, which draws a clear line to her work from the 70’s through today, her work and attitude has evolved from what Wilson describes as “the concerns of a young woman to having fun with being an old lady,” and sees her turning an eye to the way in which the public gaze projects social values onto women as they grow older. “I’m looking at age and the status of women,” Wilson says, “but we are still in the same absurd state that we were in in the 70s... This is my current response to the predicament that we find ourselves in when born female.” As Founding Director of Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc., Wilson was described by The New York Times critic Holland Cotter in 2008 as one of “the half-dozen most important people for art in downtown Manhattan in the 1970s.” In 2008, she had her first solo exhibition in New York at Mitchell Algus Gallery, Martha Wilson: Photo/Text Works, 1971-74. In 2009, Martha Wilson: Staging the Self traveled under the Independent Curators International; and in 2011, ICI published the Martha Wilson Sourcebook: 40 Years of Reconsidering Performance, Feminism, Alternative Spaces. Martha Wilson joined P·P·O·W Gallery in 2011 and mounted a solo exhibition, I have become my own worst fear, that September. Her next solo exhibition at P·P·O·W opens this month.
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. Through his several volumes of fiction, poetry, memoirs, painting, photography, installation, sculpture, film and performance, Wojnarowicz left a legacy, affirming art’s vivifying power in a society he viewed as alienating and corrosive. Wojnarowicz died of AIDS-related complications on July 22, 1992 at the age of 37. His artwork 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 Germany. His works are in permanent collections of major museums internationally and the subject of significant scholarly studies. Highly influential to the current generation of artists, writers and activists, his work continues to be subject of important exhibitions. Wojnarowicz has had three retrospectives: at the galleries of the Illinois State University in 1990 curated by Barry Blinderman; at the New Museum in 1999 curated by Dan Cameron; and his forthcoming traveling retrospective will open at the Whitney Museum of American Art in the Fall of 2016, co-curated by David Kiehl and David Breslin. Among his numerous books, published by Random House and Grove Press, among others, his memoir, "Close to the Knives" has recently been translated into French. In 2013, historian Cynthia Carr released an acclaimed biography on Wojnarowicz entitled Fire in the Belly. Throughout 2015 and 2016, Wojnarowicz’s work will be featured in Art, AIDS, America, an exhibition traveling to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; the Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA; the Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, GA; and the Bronx Museum of Art, New York, NY. In February 2016, works from the Rimbaud Series will be included in Performing for the Camera at the Tate Modern, London.