assemblage

An assemblage of Arts & Culture focused on New York & London.
Assembled by Megan N. Liberty

Adam Pendleton’s Black Dada
Check out his new work on view now at Pace Gallery NY through May 3, 2014
Vik Muniz, New Car, Album, 2014
Digital C-Print
Vik Muniz, Sunbathing, Album, 2014
Digital C-Print
On view now at Sikkema Jenkins Co. in Album through May 10
May Stevens, Big Daddy Paper Doll, 1970
On view now in Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties at the Brooklyn Museum. Through July 6,2014.
Ghada Amer: Rainbow Girls at Cheim & Read April 3 - May 10, 2014
William PowhidaHow To Try To Be OK With The Contemporary Art Market, 2014oil on canvas 56 x 42 inches
Maria Lassnig, Woman Laocoon, 1976
On view now at MoMA PS1. Watch this space for my upcoming review.
Only one week left to see Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey at the Brooklyn Museum. If you’re not convinced that you need to see this show, read my review!

Review: Deborah Grant, Christ You Know it Ain’t Easy!! at the Drawing Center, NYC

Grant’s mixed media work—collage, ink, pen and acrylic on birch panel or paper—both requires, and resists an iconographic reading. Standing in the back gallery of her current solo show at the Drawing Center, the overwhelming details and shapes in Crowning the Lion and the Lamb fill the room. At first the impulse is to back up in an attempt to take in the entire four-panel image at once. But details jump out—a profile breathing fire, Gertrude Stein, a figure in a dunce cap, a sculpted torso. Moving closer, more details become clear, but so too do the masses of black hand-drawn lines that form a seemingly endless geometric pattern between the collaged figures and shapes.

 In her essay for the exhibition, Theresa Leininger-Miller calls her work “beguiling” and “crammed.” [1] Elizabeth Thomas similarly describes an earlier work of Grant’s as “dense” and “hallucinatory.” [2] This is the paradox of Grant’s work: stand too far the details pull you in, stand too close they overpower and force you back, fits with the theme of her work overall.

Christ You Know it Ain’t Easy!! is the latest in Grant’s series, Random Select, which pairs unrelated figures from history together, weaving a narrative of factual and imagined images together. While some of the details clearly relate to the narrative of the piece, the dream meeting of Henri Matisse and Mary Bell, others seem to be completely abstract or even bizarre. But that’s what makes the work so interesting. As Thomas explains, Grant’s process requires both “embracing chance and creating order.” [3] It brings together opposing binaries: too-close and too-far, order and chaos, micro and macro, reality and dreams. Her work operates in the “third space between oppositional ideas.” [4]

Grant’s ability to unify contrasting elements is what accounts for the diversity of her oeuvre. The works in the Drawing Center exhibition, while all sharing the same sort of collage style, range from the central four-panel Crowning the Lion and the Lamb, to the work shaped like Matisse cut-outs, and even a suite of crayon drawings in the style of Mary Bell. This diversity keeps Grant’s work surprising; who knows what we can expect of her next pairing!

  1. Theresa Leininger-Miller, “Deborah Grant: Christ You Know it Ain’t Easy,” in Deborah Grant: Christ You Know it Ain’t Easy, (Drawing Center: New York, 2014), 13.
  2. Elizabeth Thomas, Deborah Grant: Bacon, Egg, Toast in Lard / MATRIX 228, in UC Berkeley Art Museum exhibition brochure, 2009, np.
  3. Thomas, np.
  4. Thomas, np.
Deborah Grant, Suited in Tropical Clime, 2007, Flashe paint and paper cutouts on paper, 28 x 22 inches
Some thoughts on her current solo exhibition at the Drawing Center coming soon! Be sure to catch it before it closes this week!

Deborah Grant, Suited in Tropical Clime, 2007, Flashe paint and paper cutouts on paper, 28 x 22 inches

Some thoughts on her current solo exhibition at the Drawing Center coming soon! Be sure to catch it before it closes this week!

Michael Snow: Photo-Centric at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on view through April 27. Review coming soon.