Modern Art Monday Presents: Cecily Brown, Selfie

cecily brown selfie photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

For more than 25 years, Cecily Brown has transfixed viewers with vivid color, bravura, brushwork, and complex narratives that relate to some of Western art history’s grandest and oldest themes. After moving to New York from London in the 1990s, she also helped revive painting for a new generation at a moment when critics and artists were questioning its relevance.

Painted during the initial outbreak of Covid-19, when the artist – like so many – was working in isolation, Selfie (2020) summons a cloistered, claustrophobic room. Figures and motifs from Brown’s interiors of the early 2000s reappear, including a vanity with a round mirror, and a reclining figure (both at the right). The title, Selfie, matches the moment in which the work was painted, when the smart phone camera served both as a futuristic mirror for self-examination, and a portal to an uncharted and threatening world.

Painted as part of the exhibit Death and the Maid at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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