Tag Archive | Deborah Kass

Modern Art Monday Presents: Deborah Kass, OY / YO

OY YO
Photos By Gail

Since the 1980s, Deborah Kass has riffed on modern artworks by famous white men to reflect her experience as a Jewish lesbian. Here, Kass remakes Robert Indiana’s LOVE (itself a coded homage to queer male desire) with the twinned words Oy (a Yiddish exclamation of alarm or bother) and Yo.

OY YO

The artist considers herself to be a “total, absolute, 100 percent provincial New Yorker.” This work uses the city’s culturally specific, yet universal lingo to communicate the collective pride and exasperation of living here. Originally conceived as a monumental sculpture, it was installed for limited time in Brooklyn Bridge Park. OY/YO (2017) became an instant New York icon and photo op for tourists and residents of al backgrounds, for whom the pluralist spirit of the double-sided interjection resonated deeply

Photographed in the Jewish Museum in Manhattan. Note that This Work is Currently On View In Front of The Brooklyn Museum (as of 10/1/18).

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Deborah Kass, No Kidding at Paul Kasmin Gallery

Good Times Installation View
All Photos By Gail

Paul Kasmin Gallery is currently hosting Deborah Kass: No Kidding, an exhibition of new mixed media paintings. Mounted on fields of primarily black and blue, Kass incorporates neon lights in her paintings for the first time, limiting her signature palette, to spell out puns and phrases bearing pop cultural references that provide a somber meditation on the troubling present, and uncertain future.

Black and Blue
Black and Blue

Blue #2
Blue #2

Well Be Young Forever
Well Be Young Forever

No Kidding represents the artist’s fourth body of work that deals at the intersection of popular culture, contemporary art, art history, and politics. Like all of Kass’s most important series of the past 25 years, these works might be said to deploy what has been recently labeled citational modernism. But in stark contrast to its current practitioners, her work has consistently and articulately deconstructed the unspoken politics of modernism and reinvented it with urgent and contemporary political meaning. An extension of her feel good paintings for feel bad times, Kass’ most recent body of work sets a darker, tougher tone as she reflects on contemporary issues such as global warming, institutional racism, police brutality, gun violence, and attacks on women’s health, through the lens of minimalism and grief.

Just a Shot Away
Just a Shot Away

Kass’ paintings often borrow their titles and puns from songs, such as, Just A Shot Away, 2014, which takes its name from the Rolling Stones’ 1969 song  “Gimme Shelter,” that was written in response to the violence of that time. Consistently laden with ambiguity, this work, along with others in the series, references a range of current social, political, and environmental tipping points.

Installation View

Happy Days, 2014, a multi panel, black-colored painting, references the campaign song for Franklin D. Roosevelt’s successful 1932 Presidential campaign. The song was re-recorded thirty years later by Barbra Streisand – historically one of Kass’ muses– giving it a new context for a different generation. Kass provides yet another reading, commenting on the fate of the New Deal and America’s relationship to happiness and hope. As the viewer sees their reflection in the mirror-like surface, they are reminded of their responsibility for the present state of affairs.

The Band Played On
The Band Played On

In a separate room, Kass’ paintings The Band Played On and Prepare for Saints provide the coda for the show. In the spirit of Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, they are made with non-traditional materials, and collectively with all the paintings in the exhibit, look at the present and the future with striking ambivalence.

Prepare for Saints #2
Prepare for Saints #2

Good Times
Good Times

No Kidding By Deborah Kass will be on Exhibit Through January 23rd, 2016 at Paul Kasmin Gallery, Located at 515 West 27th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

D Kass Signage

Junkies’ Promises At Paul Kasmin Gallery

Paul Kasmin Gallery Junkies Promises
All Photos By Gail

The above photo does not depict the interior of a Lighting store on the Bowery. Rather, these light fixtures are part of the two-gallery group show, Junkies’ Promises, now on exhibit at both Paul Kasmin Gallery spaces on 10th Avenue, and also 27th Street.

Dzine, Around the Way Girl (Chandelier Sculpture)
Dzine, Around the Way Girl (Chandelier Sculpture)

Curated by gallery artist Iván Navarro, Junkies’ Promises was inspired by William S. Burroughs’ 1953 novel, Junky, a fictionalized autobiographical account of a heroin addict and dealer in 1950s New York. Junkies’ Promises explores works in photography, video and sculpture where light is both central theme and formal element. Featured artists include He An, Stephen Dean, Dzine, RM Fischer, Victor Grippo, Nicolas Guagnini, Yuichi Higashionna, Alfredo Jaar, Deborah Kass, Jill Magid, Matthew McCaslin, Josiah McElheny, David Medalla, Arnaldo Morales, Iván Navarro & Tunde Adebimpe, Angel Nevarez & Valerie Tevere, Jorge Pardo, Alejandra Prieto, Pipilotti Rist and Courtney Smith.

R. M. Fischer RMF-LT27
R. M. Fischer RMF-LT27 Detail
R. M. Fischer RMF-LT27 and Detail

On the corner of 27th Street and 10th Avenue you’ll see the sculptures pictured in the first photo above as well as rainbow spiral of Neon words by Deborah Kass and other, less conventional Works of Light.

Deborah Kass After Louise Bourgeois
Deborah Kass After Louise Bourgeois
Alejandra Prieto Lágrimas Negras
Alejandra Prieto Lágrimas Negras

Victor Grippo Tiempo
Victor Grippo, Tiempo

Half a block west on 27th Street, in the larger of Kasmin’s two spaces, the exhibit continues with works that play with and expand on the idea of energy and electricity.  In Victor Grippo’s piece,  Tiempo, four potatoes power a small digital clock.

Stephen Dean Black Ladder
Stephen Dean, Black Ladder

Back Ladder by Stephen Dean features panes of Dichroic Glass. Geoffrey and I had fun playing around with photographing it.

Stephen Dean Black Ladder Two Gs
Two Gs, One Black Ladder
Alfredo Jaar Tech Us to Outgrow Our Madness
Alfredo Jaar, Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness

Junkies’ Promises is a fun exhibit that I recommend you add to your next weekend art crawl.

Junkies’ Promises Curated by Iván Navarro will be on Exhibit Through August 16th, 2013 at Paul Kasmin Gallery, Located at 293 Tenth Avenue & 515 West 27th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.