LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Hammer Museum
presents Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel, the first major survey in the United States of the work of British artist Sarah Lucas (b. 1962, London, UK). The Hammer is the only venue on the tour and the exhibition is the first time the work of this internationally acclaimed artist is being shown in depth in Los Angeles. Over the past 30 years, Lucas has created a distinctive and provocative body of work. She transforms found objects and everyday materials such as furniture, cigarettes, vegetables, and household appliances into absurd and confrontational tableaux that boldly challenge social norms. The human body and anthropomorphic forms recur throughout Lucass works, often appearing erotic, humorous, fragmented, or reconfigured into fantastical anatomies of desire. Organized by the New Museum, Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel brings together more than 130 works in photography, collage, sculpture, and video to reveal the breadth of her practice. The exhibition is on view through September 1, 2019.
"We are thrilled to present works by Sarah Lucas and introduce West Coast audiences to the full span of one of the UK's most important artists of the last few decades," Hammer Director Ann Philbin said. "I have always admired Lucass ingenious use of materials and objects, and her irreverent candor and wit in confronting cultural taboos surrounding gender, power, death, sex, and religion."
Initially associated with a group known as the Young British Artists (YBAs), who began exhibiting together in London in the late 1980s, Lucas is now one of the UKs most influential artists. Au Naturel addresses the ways in which Lucass works engage with crucial debates about gender and powerwith a particular attentiveness to the legacy of surrealismfrom her clever modifications of everyday objects to her exploration of sexual ambiguity and the tension between the mundane and the strange.
Au Naturel features some of Lucass most important projects, including early sculptures from the 1990s that substitute domestic furniture for human body parts and enlarged spreads from tabloid newspapers from the same period that reflect objectified representations of the female body. In addition to the photographic self-portraits that Lucas has produced throughout her career, the exhibition features biomorphic sculptures including her stuffed-stocking Bunnies (1997ongoing) and NUDS (2009ongoing), the Penetralia series (2008ongoing), and selections from her installations at the Freud Museum in London (2000) and the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2015). These works, which subvert traditional notions of gender and complicate inscribed codes of sexuality and social normativity, have never been shown together before this survey.
The title of the exhibition, Au Naturel, is taken from a sculpture Lucas created in 1994, in which an assemblage of objects suggestive of sexual organs adorns a mattress that slumps in the corner as if it were reclining. In an art historical context, au naturel commonly refers to paintings of female nude figures, and literally translates from French as in the nude. Applying the term to Lucass greater body of work, the title speaks to the immediacy, intimacy, and directness of her images and speculates on the possibility of a natural state, perhaps without the limitations of established social structures and gender conformity.
Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel is organized by the New Museum, New York. The exhibition is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director, and Margot Norton, curator. The Hammers presentation is organized by Anne Ellegood, senior curator, with Nika Chilewich, curatorial assistant.