The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Exhibition spanning four decades in Karen Kilimnik's career opens at Sprüth Magers
Karen Kilimnik, horses in battles, 1987. Pastel on paper, 27.9 x 35.6 cm 11 x 14 inches © Karen Kilimnik Courtesy Sprüth Magers.

LONDON.- Karen Kilimnik’s latest exhibition with Sprüth Magers brings together works from across four decades in her career as one of the most important representatives of figurative painting, sculpture and installation. Included in the exhibition is an early example of her sculptures, as well as early drawings, and more recent paintings and prints in her delightful and darkly humorous style. Kilimnik’s diverse practice is recognised for activating relationships between the traditions of culture and art history. Frequently, she combines figures and motifs from art history and collective memory – ballerinas, aristocracy, the Second World War – with cultural references to music, media and film.

Paris is Burning (1991)/ Is Paris Burning?(1944) from 1992 is the first work in the exhibition, occupying the ground floor space. The work has not been shown publicly since Kilimnik’s very first museum show at the ICA Philadelphia in 1992. It is an important example of her early sculptural work – a genre for which she gained attention in the late 1980s alongside artists such as Mike Kelley and Cady Noland. Other early examples include The Joker Episode of the Avengers (1991) – part of a series of works based on the British television series The Avengers. In the work on view, an assortment of objects is displayed throughout the exhibition space, seemingly at random, giving the illusion of an abandoned stage set or a display in a store window. On the back wall, the two halves of the work’s title are announced in bold white typeface on black posters, simulating the cards used in silent movies as well as the aesthetic in Jennie Livingstone’s 1990 documentary, Paris is Burning. At a remove from each other, the titles indicate two narrative frames for the incongruous props and posters that appear around them. On the left, ‘Is Paris Burning?’ Refers to a Hollywood movie from 1966 that centred on Hitler’s real-life plans to destroy Paris in 1944, hours before it was liberated from Nazi rule. Meanwhile on the right, Kilimnik uses the aforementioned documentary that followed the thriving ball culture engendered by New York City’s African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities. The films collide in the installation: the stigmatic symbol of the swastika brands a red dress like a flag, and is displayed with a bandaged leg, skis, tights, a jacket, and other costume and fashion items. The props appear to be selected from the historic and recent past to overlap in a disconcerting mise en scčne of twentieth century experience. On the left, photos are displayed from the Hollywood movie, showing cities ravaged by bombs and battles in the Second World War. On the right, ball vocabulary appears with the names of the most illustrious New York drag ‘houses’. Kilimnik uses the idea of the stage set to re-present icons of evil as adornment, fashion and fascism, and to present historical fact as theatre. Through presenting these two discordant areas of history – war-torn Europe and countercultural New York, she examines how cultures are established through varying means.

Kilimnik’s theme of the Second World War continues in the next room. Paintings of fighter planes and studies of military horses are treated with a lightness of colour and ease of brushstroke that sometimes transforms their subject matter into décor. Elsewhere, an early series of maps is shown alongside a new, much larger series that at first glance looks like abstract paintings. The Battle for France is plotted in one, accompanied by a series of handwritten notes explaining battle plans. In another, she comments on the visual prettiness of the colours and shapes, deliberately subsuming the trauma and devastation they identify into a prettier, more appealing surface. Kilimnik’s works are often saturated with these double meanings – innocence and cynicism, fantasy and reality, the everyday and infamy. Elsewhere, a selection of large-scale new photographs display figurines of eighteenth century mounted soldiers. These works reveal Kilimnik’s fascination with cultural history, which is explored further in the gallery upstairs. Copies of the work of earlier artists abound, such as Scottish artist Sir Henry Raeburn, as well as French Rococo painter Jean Baptiste Oudry. The early drawing My Sister and Me by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1986) is a copy in pastel of a painting by Sir Thomas Lawrence, whilst another early pastel is a copy of a work by the eighteenth century French artist, Jean-Baptiste Greuze. They, along with the later ‘Doll’ paintings, and photographs, attest to Kilimnik’s instrumental development of the new tendency in figurative painting, as well as her continued interest in the components that have formed cultural identity through the ages. In her works, the structuring factors of culture are shown to be myriad and unexpected: from regional borders, to regional dress, landscapes, mythology, witchcraft, stagecraft, the big screen and the small screen.

Karen Kilimnik (born 1955, Philadelphia, USA) studied at the Temple University in her hometown where she lives and works today. Major solo exhibitions include Le Consortium, Dijon – La Romanée Conti (2014), Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver (2013), the Belvedere, Vienna (2010), the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2006), the Serpentine Gallery, London, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami and Le Consortium, Dijon (all 2007), the Fondazione Belvilacqua La Masa, Venice (2005) and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2002). Major group exhibitions include Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2018, forthcoming); Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2015); the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2008), the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the MoMA PS1, New York (both 2006), the MoMA, New York (2005, 2001, 1999), the Institute of Contemporary Art, London (1997, 1992), and the Secession, Vienna (1994). In 2011 Kilimnik created a stage setting for the ballet Psyche at the Opéra National de Paris.

Today's News

April 16, 2018

Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents the U.S. premiere of David Hockney: 82 Portraits and 1 Still-life

Unprecedented exhibition 'Painting After Postmodemism' opens at the Reggia di Caserta

New installation by Doug Aitken on view at 303 Gallery

Artcurial announces highlights from its Spring Fashion Arts sale

Exhibition spanning four decades in Karen Kilimnik's career opens at Sprüth Magers

Anton Kern Gallery opens an exhibition of new work by the New York-based artist Anne Collier

Exhibition at Les Abattoirs brings together over 60 artworks in various media by Eduardo Chillida

Contemporary art exhibition dedicated to the game of fútbol on view at Pérez Art Museum Miami

The Photography Show presented by AIPAD reports second successful year at Pier 94

Award-winning Italian filmmaker Vittorio Taviani dies

Smith College Museum of Art will steward the collections of feminist artists Nina Yankowitz and Joyce Kozloff

Afghan artisans pit their talents against Chinese imports

Petersen Automotive Museum opens "Custom Revolution" motorcycle exhibit

Rare Honus Wagner baseball card on view at Winterthur

Galerie Nathalie Obadia opens exhibition of works by Agnès Varda

Chairs from the Grand Salon of the SS Normandie headed to auction at Rago

Groundbreaking exhibition features more than 260 works by more than 120 artists from 15 countries

Exhibition of Carlos Garaicoa's work opens at Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art

A special exhibition features 90 years of Harold Rotenberg's work at Cape Ann Museum

Exhibition at the Queen's House presents work by contemporary artist Mat Collishaw

The June Kelly Gallery opens an exhibition of work by James Little

Brilliant period cut glass at Woody Auction, May 12th in St. Louis, Mo.

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Apple releases Spring 2019 iPhone cases and watch bands with 'Delft Blue' color in the lead

2.- Star Trek: Year Five #1 original cover art by Greg Hildebrandt Surfaces at Heritage Auctions

3.- Guitars of the greats rock halls of New York's Met museum

4.- Historic jewels and exceptional gemstones highlight Christie's Geneva Magnificent Jewels Auction

5.- French museum renames masterpieces after black subjects

6.- Heathrow Terminal 5 exhibits skeleton of new species of dinosaur

7.- Missing Rubens sketch goes for $1.4 mn at auction

8.- The Museo del Prado opens 'Giacometti in the Museo del Prado'

9.- Inrap archaeologists discover an Etruscan tomb in a hypogeum in Aleria

10.- Picasso in Ivory Coast? A village tells of its brush with the artist

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful