Kapernekas Gallery is pleased to present Appropriate
Appropriation, a group show examining a critical aspect
of feminist art making. With a nod to Sturtevant and Sherrie
Levine’s landmark artworks, which opened critical dialogue
on male authorship, the exhibition showcases three strategies
of appropriation taken by three women artists in the last
Gretchen Bender, Untitled (From
the Pleasure is Back), 1982
Bender (1951–2004) came to prominence in the
early 1980s with The Pleasure is Back. In this
series, Bender appropriated the artworks of her contemporaries—including
A.R. Penck, Robert Longo, Roy Lichtenstein, Sandro Chia—and
silk-screened images of their work on sign tin, flattening
them further into reproductions of reproductions. These
pictures were arranged into geometric patterns, further
removing any authorship, essentially turning them into
branded icons of the times. Bender’s later work explored
the impact of technology in media culture, resulting in
important video art of the late-1980s.
work was the subject of a mid-career retrospective organized
by Peter Doroshenko in 1991 at the Everson Museum of Art
in Syracuse, New York. Bender’s art is represented
in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art,
New York; The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas; and the
Pompidou Centre, Paris. Her highly regarded set designs
were part of an ongoing collaboration with the choreographer,
Bill T. Jones, including the video environment for the
highly politicized dance/theatre work, Still Here (1994).
Deborah Kass, Silver Deb,
1980s, Deborah Kass has
vestigated the art historical canon of male painters. In
the 1990s, she set her focus on Andy Warhol’s visual
legacy, reconfiguring classic Warholian imagery with feminist,
lesbian, and Jewish iconography. Kass’ critique of
Warhol resurrects and updates iconic imagery with humor,
camp, and contemporary art references. Silver Deb (2000),
included in the exhibition, appropriates Warhol’s famous
portrait of Liz Taylor—itself, an appropriation— transforming
it into a self-portrait, allowing multiple readings: actress
into artist, gentile into Jew, glamour diva into lesbian,
history into present tense.
In 1999, Kass’ work
was the subject of a mid-career survey, My Andy,
organized by the Newcomb Gallery at Tulane University in
New Orleans, Louisiana, which traveled throughout the United
States. Her work is in many prominent museum collections,
including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of
Contemporary Art, San Diego; The Jewish Museum; The Gu
Museum; The Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitney Museum
of American Art, New York.
Mary Ellen Strom, Hope Clark,
Nude No. 4, 2005
project based work ranges in scope from intimate video
projections to large-scale media-based performance installations.
Her work engages participants and spectators alike in a
range of poignant social and political concerns. Much of
Strom’s work has been done in collaboration with
choreographer Ann Carlson, including Geyser Land (2003),
in which an audience rode a train between Livingston and
a, witnessing video projections on the mountainsides
and experienced performances on and off the train. In Press
Conference (2002) for the Yerba Buena Center for the
Arts, San Francisco, Strom re-staged a photograph from
a protest in l972 onto film that then was projected and
blocked the entrance to the museum’s gallery. Ms.
Strom’s most recent video work has mined art history
for its source and content, recasting classic paintings
of female nudes—including Courbet, Manet, Velasquez,
Gentilesci, and Magritte—into real-time video projections.
Shot in high-definition digital video and projected with
high-resolution projectors, the video works transform iconic
paintings of female nudes into performances in which the
subjects become activated, returning the viewer’s
gaze. On exhibit is Hope Clark, Nude No. 3 (2005),
a recasting of Magritte’s seminal anti-war painting, Bather
Between Light and Darkness (1935).
video and performance work has been exhibited at the Institute
of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Museum of Contemporary Art,
Los Angeles; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus; the
High Museum, Atlanta; and Ars Electronica, Linz, Austria.
Strom is a faculty member at the School of the Museum of
Fine Arts, Boston, where she teaches video and critical studies.