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Julia Jacquette's first major museum survey opens at the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art
Julia Jacquette. Scotch, Rocks I, 2008. Oil on linen, 77 x 100 in. Collection of the artist, New York. © 2016 Julia Jacquette. Image courtesy of the artist. Photograph by Jean Vong.

CLINTON, NY.- The Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art presents Julia Jacquette: Unrequited and Acts of Play, the artist’s first major museum survey. The exhibition features two site-specific murals, as well as oil paintings, ceramics, and works on paper from the last decade, including original drawings from the graphic memoir Playground of My Mind. Jacquette’s work addresses the challenge of navigating the contemporary media landscape that so directly addresses one’s identity and sense of self-worth. Exposing our seemingly insatiable longing for the ideal, the work of this New York-based artist focuses on commercialized objects of desire such as prepared meals drawn from 1950s cookbook illustrations; ornate interiors of the wealthy sampled from contemporary glossy lifestyle magazines; and shimmering swimming pools extracted from luxury ad campaigns; among other sources. These material trappings are presented, often close up, in crisply detailed paintings that convey the pervasiveness of such evocative imagery.

Original drawings from Jacquette’s illustrated book Playground of My Mind—a personalized account of the artist’s childhood in Manhattan in the 1960s and 1970s—will be exhibited for the first time. Set against the backdrop of the financial crisis of New York City during that era, this work focuses on the dynamic and colorful “adventure playgrounds” that were commissioned by the city and constructed in Central Park and outlying areas of Manhattan to offer creative outlets for urban youth. To build this rich narrative, Jacquette mines her memory, her family’s photographic archive, as well as those of her childhood neighbors, and the anthropology of Manhattan during that period, situating the playgrounds within a broader personal and historical dialogue. This effort culminates in compelling storytelling that moves fluidly between social movements, the history of New York City, childhood memories, and significant works of modernist architecture in the United States and abroad. Playground of My Mind will be co-published by the Wellin Museum of Art and DelMonico Books • Prestel.

The exhibition was organized by the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art and will travel to the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey in Summit, NJ, where it will be on view from September 24, 2017, through January 14, 2018.

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