George Shaw reports from New York since like ever…
Birth of the Universe #4
Birth of the Universe/Cuntface
Judith Bernstein is not shy about calling a…spade a spade in her show Voyeurs at Mary Boone that showcases massive paintings in her direct, expressionistic style, which she has employed to confront conservative gender politics relentlessly for more than fifty years. Bernstein’s subject matter politicises male and female aggression, and eroticism. Her paintings are lurid, chaotic, and ferocious; they don’t cajole, they confront. She says, “Memorable visual impact is my main priority,” and with Voyeur she achieves that with raw, explicit text and recurring penis and vagina motifs.
Erotic Yellow (1973)
Purple Diagonal (1980)
“Making an impact and helping change the way women are perceived and how they perceive themselves” has been a critical motivation for Joan Semmel, whose survey Across Five Decades at Alexander Gray charts a fifty-year practice from abstract expressionism to figuration. Using the nude female figure as a hallmark of female autonomy, Semmel emphasises the often-eroticised body – hers and others’– in compositions with female forms acting simultaneously as subject and observer. From the early 2000s, Semmel has redirected her focus from desire to aging with more intimate portraits.
For the last fifty years, Ida Applebroog has approached the polemics of human relations by researching themes of violence and power, gender, and women’s sexuality. In The Ethics of Desire at Hauser & Wirth, Applebroog takes a look at how the ethics and politics of desire shape our lives. She transforms images she finds in various media channels by applying deep, saturated inks on thin, translucent mylar. With banner works standing nine feet high, Applebroog not only depicts nude forms, she also depicts the disproportioned idealisation of beauty.