Artcritical Pick: If Only Bella Abzug Were Here
In the week that has seen a woman secure the presidential nomination of a major party for the fir... Read More
Curated by Tim Hawkinson and Ken Tan
NEW YORK – MARC STRAUS is proud to present “If Only Bella Abzug Were Here”, a group exhibition which commemorates the life and achievements of Bella Abzug with a selection of works by both established and emerging female artists, chosen for their highly original voices and unique visions.
Born in the Bronx on July 24, 1920, Bella (Savitzky) Abzug was a tireless and indomitable fighter for justice and peace, equal rights, human dignity, environmental integrity and sustainable development. Known as “Battling Bella,” and easily recognized due to her penchant for large hats, Abzug co-created and was president of the Women’s Environmental and Development Organization (WEDO). The organization was the culmination of her lifelong career where Abzug galvanized support and helped transform the United Nations agenda regarding women. She served in the U.S. congress. Today’s generations still benefits from her timeless ideals and actions.
Recognized for her distinctive figurative language, Nicole Eisenman is one of the most important painters of her generation. She captures an array of characters who range from friends to imagined heroines and tragic losers. In “Whatever Guy” (2009) Eisenman reflects an attitude of a generation: casual dismissal as a protection or coping mechanism for the dramas of modern life. Eisenman is currently enjoying her first New York museum survey exhibition at the New Museum.
In Liliane Tomasko’s latest abstract paintings her examination of domesticity, such as the unmade bed, has become more urgent and fragmented, perhaps in accordance with the times. In contrast, Shara Hughes paintings of Fauvist landscapes are dreamy and surreal; like Eisenman and Tomasko, Hughes distorts the world to gain insights into it. Although young, Eleanor Ray has already established herself as an intriguing new voice in painting. In her small canvases, Ray shows cropped scenes of quiet, unassuming interiors and exteriors, buildings and landscapes that are often important sites of personal or art historical value.
New York based Iranian artist Shirin Neshat creates video and photos that portray issues of gender and society, the individual and the group. While her narratives hint at the restrictive nature of Islamic laws regarding women, they also deliberately allow multiple readings, thus ultimately reaching towards discussions of universal conditions. In “Pulse” (2001), a woman singing alone becomes a powerful symbol of personal identity and social boundaries.
The subjects in Emily Wardill’s films include ghost stories, mental illness and religion. “All the Clothes of an Imelda I Know” (2011), is a sculpture comprised of the objects and ornate architectural models used in the film, “Full Firearms” (2011), a loosely adapted the real-life story of Sarah Winchester, the Connecticut gun heiress who, in the 1880s, built a manor to house the ‘spirits’ haunting her: the victims of her father-in-law’s arms empire. Emma Rivers’s dollhouse-like dioramas house secrets and unsettling memories in childlike yet intricate details, equipped with furnishing, lights and photographs from her past.
“If Only Bella Abzug Were Here” features works by: Nicole Eisenman, Anj Smith, Joan Levinson, Tomona Matsukawa, Eleanor Ray, Ann Craven, Rachel Selekman, Holly Coulis, Bettina Blohm, Lily Kelly Napangardi, Anna Leonhardt, Genieve Figgis, Emma Rivers, Tarra Bandet, Rachel Garrard, Sarah Crowner, Shara Hughes, Nicole Cherubini, Shirin Neshat, Emily Wardill, Kirsi Mikkola and Liliane Tomasko.
Photography by Ken Tan.
Oil on Canvas
82 x 65 inches
16mm film transferred to DVD
My Main Squeeze
Oil, acrylic, flashe, enamel, caulking, and spray paint on canvas
60 x 52 inches
Oil on Canvas and Raw Canvas, Sewn
Each panel 36 x 36 inches
Oil and acrylic spray on linen
82 x 76 inches
208.3 x 193 cm
Of Course I Canʼt Admit What I Really Meant
Oil on panel
35 x 51 inches
Earth Pot #1
Earthenware, glaze, pine, acrylic paint, oil paint
48 x 44 x 56 inches
Oil on Board
9.8 x 11.8 inches
Museum Windows, Summer
Oil on Panel
7 x 8 inches
Watering can, pieces of watering cans, fabric, thread, steel, silicone sealant, and mixed media
39.25 x 9.375 x 19 inches
All The Clothes Of An Imelda I Know
Wood and lace, cotton spandex
19 x 13.8 x 8.9 inches on wood pedestal
Oil on Linen
16.75 x 15 inches
Pitchers and Tissues
Oil on Linen
29 x 33 inches
Oil on Canvas
26 x 34 inches