Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh presents GirlTalk. Women and Text, an exhibition on view September 22, 2012–January 14, 2013.
GirlTalk: Women and Text explores the construct of language, its persistent ambiguity and shifting character in the age of new media. Featured work represents a diverse range of artistic styles ranging from political textiles to large scale installations that employ portions of texts as building blocks. This exhibition takes its title from common nomenclature; “girl talk” is a term that emerged in the 1990s to describe a sense of belonging and conversations between women.
GirlTalk brings together nine women artists, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Dana Frankfort, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Marilyn Minter, Monique Prieto, Kay Rosen, Kim Rugg, and Maya Schindler. Combining seminal figures and younger artists, GirlTalk does not follow a chronological perspective, establishing instead a series of dialogues between different generations and perspectives. Zigzagging across distant cultural landscapes, the exhibition exposes avant-garde practices and highlights international affinities, which indirectly question the centrality of painting, art history, and language paradigms.
In conjunction with GirlTalk, Marilyn Minter’s video I’m Not Much, But I’m All I Think About will be on view in the media lab August 17, 2012 – February 11, 2013.
ABOUT THE PARTICIPATING ARTISTS
Lisa Anne Auerbach
Los Angeles-based artist Lisa Anne Auerbach is best known for her sweater-and-skirt works that feature clever, assertive slogans offering commentary and critique on issues that are important to her, whether political or personal. Auerbach has created a number of knit sweaters using slogans, songs and speech. The project is intended to encourage people to actively participate in the political process. Taking over where T-shirts left off, her sweaters combine textile design, careful craftsmanship and luxurious materials into objects that will endure long after the political battles have faded away.
After receiving an MFA in photography from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., she no longer had access to the school’s darkroom and taught herself to knit instead. “Knitting was a way I could continue to make art,” she says. “It’s portable and I can do it anywhere. Now that I’m teaching photography at Pomona College, I knit on the train during my commute.” Auerbach, who lives and works in a space in downtown Los Angeles (which she shares with several other artists), still knits the old-fashioned way, with needles, but her studio also houses two computer-controlled knitting machines.
Auerbach’s practice also includes photography, self-published zines, and the Tract House, an ongoing project which has been exhibited at the Contemporary Museum, Baltimore and Philagrafika 2010, Philadelphia. Auerbach is an assistant professor of art at Pomona College and holds an MFA from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California. She has had solo exhibitions at the Aspen Museum of Art, Aspen, CO; Gavlak Gallery, Palm Beach, FL; Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK; and the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI.
Merging graffiti and high art abstraction Dana Frankfort’s paintings occupy a hazy space between verbal and visual communication. Using text as a platform for expressive embellishment each canvas reveals a word or phrase within its sumptuous surface; simple statements such as ‘Either Way’, ‘Hit or Miss’, or ‘Hi’ become esoteric starting points for the physical negotiation of painting.
Holzer was born in Gallipolis, Ohio in 1950. Originally aspiring to become an abstract painter,her studies included general art courses at Duke University, Durham, NC (1968–70), and then painting, printmaking and drawing at the University of Chicago, before completing her BFA at Ohio University, Athens (1972). In 1974, Holzer took summer courses at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, entering its MFA program in 1975. In 1976 she moved to Manhattan, participating in the Whitney Museum’s independent study program and beginning her first work with language, installation and public art. She was also an active member of the artists group Colab. In her private collection, she has works by Alice Neel, Kiki Smith, Nancy Spero, and Louise Bourgeois.
Holzer wrote texts herself for a long time between 1977 and 2001. However since 1993, she has been mainly working with texts written by others. Some of these are literary texts by great authors such as the Polish Nobel laureate Wislawa Szymborska, Henri Cole (USA), Elfriede Jelinek (Austria), Fadhil Al-Azawi (Iraq), Yehuda Amichai (Israel) and Mahmoud Darwish (Palestine). She also uses texts from different contexts, such as passages from de-classified US Army documents from the war in Iraq. For example, a large LED work presents excerpts from the minutes of interrogations of American soldiers who had committed human rights violations and war crimes in Abu Ghraib, making what was once secret public. Holzer’s works often speak of violence, oppression, sexuality, feminism, power, war, and death. Her main concern is to enlighten, bringing to light something thought in silence and meant to remain hidden.
Barbara Kruger (United States, b. 1945) is an American conceptual artist. Much of her work consists of black-and-white photographs overlaid with declarative captions—in white-on-red Futura Bold Oblique or Helvetica Ultra Condensed fonts. The phrases in her works often include use of pronouns such as “you”, “your”, “I”, “we”, and “they”. Kruger lives and works in New York and Los Angeles. After attending Syracuse University and studying art and design with Diane Arbus and Marvin Israel at Parsons School of Design in New York, Kruger obtained a design job at Condé Nast Publications. She initially worked as a designer at Mademoiselle magazine and later moved on to work part time as a picture editor at House and Garden, Aperture, and other publications. In her early years as a visual artist, Kruger crocheted, sewed, and painted bright-hued and erotically suggestive objects, some of which were included by curator Marcia Tucker in the 1973 Whitney Biennial. Much of Kruger’s work engages the merging of found photographs from existing sources with pithy and aggressive text that involves the viewer in the struggle for power and control that her captions speak to. She develops her ideas on a computer, later transferring the results to oftentimes billboard-sized images. In their trademark white letters against a slash of red background, some of her instantly recognizable slogans read “I shop therefore I am,” and “Your body is a battleground.” Much of her text questions the viewer about feminism, consumerism, and individual autonomy and desire, although her black-and-white images are culled from the mainstream magazines that sell the very ideas she is disputing. Kruger juxtaposes her imagery and text containing criticism of sexism and the circulation of power within cultures is a recurring motif in Kruger’s work.
Marilyn Minter (United States, b. 1948) is an American artist currently living and working in New York City. Marilyn Minter has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2005; Les Rencontres d’Arles festival, France in 2007; the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, OH in 2009; La Conservera, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Ceutí/Murcia, Spain in 2009; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH in 2010; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA in 2010; and the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, Germany in 2011. Her video Green Pink Caviar was exhibited in the lobby of the MoMA for over a year, and was also shown on digital billboards on Sunset Boulevard in LA, and the Creative Time MTV billboard in Times Square, New York. In 2006, Marilyn Minter was included in the Whitney Biennial, and in a collaboration with Creative Time she installed billboards all over Chelsea in New York city. Minter currently teaches in the MFA department at the School of Visual Arts in New York.
Monique Prieto is a Los Angeles-based artist whose paintings combine figurative abstraction and text, with a sense of playfulness and balance in her use of form and color. Her paintings have evolved from works of biomorphic abstraction to include phrases from the diaries of 17th century British politician Samuel Pepys rendered in blocky letters and floating in seemingly three-dimensional space. Her work nods to early 20th century American masters such as Stanton Macdonald-Wright, Arthur Dove, and Georgia O’Keeffe, along with such seemingly incompatible influences as Robert Delaunay, Milton Avery, Philip Guston, and Pierre Bonnard.
Prieto was born in 1962 in Los Angeles and raised in a Mexican American household in which art was always present. She received her BFA from the University of California, Los Angeles, and she earned her BFA and her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Prieto has had numerous solo exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe, including ACME, Los Angeles; Cheim & Read, New York; Corvi-Mora, London; Il Capricorno, Venice; and Praz-Delavallade, Paris. Her work is in many public collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She received both her BFA and MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles, California.
Born in Texas, Kay Rosen is a Midwest-based artist whose language-based work has been exhibited in museums and institutions both nationally and internationally for several decades. Her work has previously been exhibited at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, where she had a retrospective exhibition in 1998-99; MASS MOCA, North Adams, Massachusetts; the Whitney Biennial (2000); The Art Institute of Chicago; inaugural exhibition commission for The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco; the MCA Chicago, and in solo gallery exhibitions across the U.S. and Europe.
Some of Rosen’s most recent projects include participation in “Ecstatic Alphabets” at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; “Don’t Smile” at the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein; “Literature Language Word” at the Honolulu Museum of Art; as well as the commissioned works Mañana Man, for the Linde Family Wing at the Musuem of Fine Arts Boston, “Go Do Good,” a public 6-story mural on Chicago’s State Street, ”Here are the People and There is the Steeple,” for the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Walwhetu in New Zealand, as the city is rebuilding following the disastrous earthquakes of 2011-2012, and “Construction Zone,” a temporary outdoor commission for the Aspen Art Museum.
Additionally, Rosen taught at The School of the Art Institute for eighteen years. She is the recipient of three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and an Anonymous Was A Woman grant. A book about her work, Kay Rosen: AKAK, was published by Regency Art Press, New York City, in 2009.
With surgical blades and a meticulous hand, Kim Rugg (Canada, b. 1963) dissects and reassembles newspapers, stamps, comic books, cereal boxes, and postage stamps in order to render them conventionally illegible. The front page of the LA Times becomes neatly alphabetized jargon, debunking the illusion of its producers’ authority as much as the message itself. Through her re-appropriation of medium and meaning, she effectively highlights the innately slanted nature of the distribution of information as well as its messengers. Rugg has also created hand-drawn works alongside wallpaper installations, both of which toy with authenticity and falsehood through subtle trompe l’oeil.
Rugg received her MFA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art (London). Her work can be seen in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Art (DC) and the Frederick R. Weisman Foundation (CA), the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (CA), and the Norton Museum (FL) among others. She has been included in exhibitions at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (CA), Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (NY), Galerie Schmidt Maczollek (Cologne), and Nettie Horn Gallery (Manchester), and was the recipient of the Thames and Hudson Prize from the Royal College of Art Society in 2004. She lives and works in London (UK).
Maya Schindler (b. 1977 Jerusalem, Israel) received an MFA from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, in 2002; a BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, Israel, in 2000; and studied with the MA Student Exchange program for honors students at the School of the Museum of Fine Art in Boston in 1999. She has held residencies at Meádiáum in St. Barthlemy, French West Indies (2007); CORE Fellow in Houston, Texas (2003-2005); and the Jerusalem Print Shop in Jerusalem (2005). Selected solo exhibitions include Two Body Problem at Steve Turner Contemporary Art Gallery Los Angeles (2010), Wishful thinking Wishful (part of Plastic poetics) at Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2008); We Make It Harder Then It Has To Be at the Glass Pavilion in Berlin (2007); Happy Endings at Meádiáum Gallery in St. Barthlemy, French West Indies (2007); Just Thinking at Devin Borden Hiram Butler gallery in Houston, Texas (2007); The New Deal at Anna Helwing Gallery in Los Angeles (2006); and In Confidence at South First in Brooklyn (2006). Selected group exhibitions include In The Beginning at UCSD Art Gallery in San Diego, California (2008); Stoneface at FOCA in Los Angeles (2007); Aporia at LACE in Los Angeles (2007); and In The Time Tunnel at Braverman Gallery in Tel Aviv (2007). Schindler lives and works in New York.
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