Marcel Duchamp and Eve Babitz at the Pasadena Art Museum, 1963
Gelatin Silver Print
Eve Plays Duchamp
Tricia Lawless Murray / Heidi Snow / Hannah Whitaker
Curated by Kevin Moore
October 4 - November 10, 2013
Brancolini Grimaldi, London
Carmelite Shower Smock
from Das Pfaschion Aktion von Heidi Muehl,1982/2000
Cannon Per Tonos, 2013
Tricia Lawless Murray
You Ain't Going Nowhere, 2013
Brancolini Grimaldi announces Eve Plays Duchamp, a group exhibition of three American artists—Tricia Lawless Murray, Heidi Snow and Hannah Whitaker—each working in a vein of feminist-inflected neo-Surrealism. The show is curated by Kevin Moore, an independent scholar and curator based in New York.
Establishing an historical basis for the exhibition, Kevin Moore writes:
“In 1963 the Pasadena Museum of Art hosted the first American retrospective of Marcel Duchamp. A stunt coinciding with the exhibition involved a young woman named Eve Babitz, who sat naked in the gallery for a chess match with the 76-year old Duchamp in front of one his most iconic works, Large Glass (1915 – 1925). If the goal of chess is “to mate,” the tableau vivant of Eve Babitz and Duchamp effectively activated the Large Glass, “performing” that work’s themes of coupling and sublimated desire, nuanced in the work’s full title, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even.
While historical Surrealism has been criticized for its sexist treatment of women, the presence of Eve Babitz, sitting comfortably naked opposite one of the great masters of 20th-century art, challenges Surrealist ideas of patriarchal dominance. By 1963, many of the traditional social hierarchies referenced by historical Surrealism were being challenged and eroded. This was true for art-making as well, and in that sense Eve Babitz might be seen as representing feminist-based art practices to come—a woman playing to traditional roles yet turning the tables by embracing the themes and strategies of an older generation of male artists to rebellious and provocative effect. Eve is stripped bare, but on her own terms, so we might call the match now even.”
Tricia Lawless Murray
Tricia Lawless Murray is an LA-based artist working in photography, video, and installation. Eve Plays Duchamp will feature work from Lawless Murray’s recent series, which reinterprets Marcel Duchamp’s last work, Étant Donnés, in which the viewer peers through peepholes in a wooden door. The difference here is that Lawless Murray allows viewers to breach the barrier that existed in Duchamp’s construction and enter the space of the diorama. The viewer sees collages and three-dimensional works. Working extensively in collage, painting, sculpture and installation, her agenda is to refashion works from the past in order to lend them a point of view that is contrarily ironic and romantic, while maintaining the perspective of woman as visual provocateur as opposed to object of delectation.
New York-based artist Heidi Snow explores obscure histories, deciphering in relics such as fanciful costumes and various forms of documentation, lost chapters in the history of fashion. Through sculptures, photographs and drawings, her work examines the ways in which women's fashion in particular has contributed to the exaggeration, distortion, and fetishisation of the female body according to the cultural fantasies and perversions of a given historical moment.
Also based in New York, Hannah Whitaker’s photographs are the results of unwieldy experimental systems allowed to unfold. Starting with organising principles ranging from visual patterning to repetitive motions to mathematics, they present a kind of overt rationale represented visually by a grid or geometric pattern—which is then undermined by mistakes, randomness, imperfection, and messiness. The images depict a range of places and subject matter and many of them feature subjects with loaded histories—an ancient Greek marble quarry or a Hawaiian volcano—so that each image has a dual function as both two-dimensional image and gatekeeper of a larger narrative.
Kevin Moore is the author of Starburst: Color Photography in America 1970-1980 (Cincinnati Art Museum/Hatje Cantz, 2010) and Jacques Henri Lartigue: The Invention of an Artist (Princeton University Press, 2004), and a contributing author to Robert Heinecken (Ridinghouse, 2012) and Words Without Pictures (LACMA/Aperture, 2009).
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