Born in New York to German American musicians, Lyonel Charles Feininger (1871 – 1956) travelled to Germany in 1887, and remained in Europe for several years to study art. While in Paris, he encountered Cubism and embraced its rationality and abstraction of form and space. “Cubism is a synthesis,” the painter explained, “but it may be degraded into mechanism. My Cubism is visionary, not physical.”
Feininger most famously applied his visionary style to architectural subjects that resonated with metaphysical meaning, especially churches. Here, the artist depicts the village church of Lehnstedt(1917) and its wooded environs with his characteristic crystalline and refracted forms.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
By depicting a young maiden meeting the personification of death, Austrian painter Marianne Stokes (1855 – 1927) was drawing on medieval and Renaissance prototypes. Stokes cast a genderless angel as Death. The angel’s lantern and outstretched hand, its wing that enfolds the girl, and the newly fallen blossoms that litter the bedroom floor give this depiction of a girl’s imminent passing its poignant, quiet horror.
Photographed as Part of The Exhibit Women Artists In Paris, on View Through September 3rd, 2018 at The Clark Institute, Located in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Nicole Eisenman (b. 1965) paints the human figure — including friends, and literary or historical figures — narrative scenes and allegories. She often touches on the topics of queer identity, feminism, and the complexities of family and friends. Her style is intimate and tender, yet infused with wry humor. Seder (2010) presents a familiar holiday scene rendered with comic aplomb. The perspective of the viewer (and artist) is from the head of the table, the best vantage point to witness the tensions gathered around the traditional Passover ceremony; children and adults are both attentive and bored, with expressions ranging from grotesque and distorted to charming and affectionate.
In line with other surrealist artists’ engagements with the ready-made, Wilhelm Freddie’sobjets-mannequins, such as Sex-Paralysappeal (1936, shown here as a 1961 artist’s copy) were scandalous in their day for their explicit references to sex. With a prominently painted penis, both the 1936 and 1961 versions of this work were confiscated by the Danish authorities soon after they were exhibited.
In Sex-Paralysappeal, Freddie transforms the classical bust into a surrealist object by treating it like a mannequin head and adorning it with various accessories. Placing the head inside an incomplete picture frame, he indicates the desire for the image to become dimensional, more lifelike. The work’s composite title vacillates between sex appeal and paralysis, amplifying the incongruity of its constituent elements.
Photographed in The Met Breuer as Part of the Exhibit, Like Life: Sculpture Color and The Body.
This photograph of artist David Wojnarowicz (1954 – 1992) was taken in late May of 1991 at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico while Wojnarowicz and his friend Marion Scemama took a road trip around the American Southwest. Cynthia Carr, the artist’s biographer, describes how the photograph came to be:
David had been there before and he knew exactly where he wanted stage this. “We’re going to dig a hole,” he told her, “and I’m going to lie down.” They began digging without saying word, a hole for his upper body and a bit for his legs. They used their hands. The dirt was loose and dry. He lay down and closed his eyes. Marion put dirt around his face until it was halfway up his cheeks and then stood over him, photographing his half-buried face first with his camera and then with hers.
This image was also licensed for use as the cover art for the soundtrack recording of the 1995 film, Postcards From America.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit History Keeps Me Awake at Night, on View Through September 30th, 2018 at the Whitney Museum in NYC.
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.
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
Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920) is an American painter widely known for his colorful works depicting commonplace objects — pies, lipsticks, paint cans, ice cream cones, pastries, and hot dogs — as well as for his landscapes and figure paintings. In his defense of common objects as being suitable for painting, as seen with Candy Ball Machine (1977), Thiebaud often mentions the gumball machine. “A gumball machine can be a kind of icon, with its simple beauty, its colors, its relationship, its magic — we put in a penny and out comes a brightly colored gumball or prize. It is a glorious toy which we adults miss the wonder of.”
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Wayne Thiebaud, Draftsman, Which is on View at The Morgan Library in NYC Through September 23rd, 2018.