Ilka Scobie takes a look at the first New York exhibitions for 2020 and discovers a few surprises along the way.
Abortion Is Normal Eva Presenhuber Arsenal Contemporary until Feb 1 Top Photo Detail Laurie Simmons Mother/Nursery 1976 Photo: Luigi Cazzaniga
I did not expect to be fighting for a women’s right to choose at this point in my life – LS
“I was really pleased to help with this exhibition. I’ve contributed to many political campaigns in the past, but this time I wanted to support the issue – and it’s one I’ve supported since my youth. It’s hard to believe we’re still struggling with this – I did not expect to be fighting for a women’s right to choose at this point in my life – particularly with so many other pressing issues before us. The bright side is I love working with artists from different generations and our community is standing together, united, to support reproductive freedom.” – Laurie Simmons
“Abortion Is Normal” is an artistic call to action to raise awareness and support for safe, legal and accessible abortion. The two-part show, organized by Jasmine Wahi and Rebecca Pauline Jampol, presents an eclectic, intergenerational constellation of art stars. Part 1 at Eva Presenhuber included Laurie Simmons, Marilyn Minter, Carroll Dunham, Walter Robinson, and Betty Tompkins. Catherine Opie, Wangechi Mutu, Nan Goldin are also among the other featured artists committed to reproductive freedom.
Part 2 will open at Arsenal Contemporary at 214 Bowery. Proceeds will go to Downtown for Democracy and Planned Parenthood PAC efforts in the crucial 2020 elections. Thirteen states have already made abortion either illegal or inaccessible, and kudos to the art world for their strong and timely support of women’s right to choose.
In Her Hands Skarstedt Gallery – New York – Martha Diamond, Chantal Jaffee, Nicole Wittenberg – Curated by David Salle. until Feb. 1
Three female artists, representing three generations, explore individual and expressionistic views of contemporary realism. New York native Martha Diamond, a downtown artistic legend, paints cityscapes and has long been admired by both the art and literary world. Her large vertical canvases capture urban energy with sure and powerful brushwork. London based Chantal Joffe’s social portraits reinvigorate a venerable English tradition. The youngest artist, Nicole Wittenberg presents “Plein air” canvases, painted wet onto wet that present tropical water with undulating light, along with expressionistic portraits. Curator and painter David Salle presents a beautifully intimate show that reaffirms and celebrates 21st-century painting.
Roy Colmer: Doors Lisson Gallery – New York
During a year between 1975-76, Roy Colmer traversed Manhattan from tip to top and photographed over 3000 doorways. This is the first-ever comprehensive exhibition of his iconic conceptual project, with previous sections shown at the New York Public Library and P.S. 1.
Colmer explored boundaries between colour intensive painting, photo and film. Like his contemporaries Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman and Hanne Darboven, Colmer was prescient in his investigations of creative cross-pollination.
The London born Colmer, who studied in Germany, was also an early proponent of electronic signals. “Doors” is both a conceptual and serial landmark, as well as lyrical documentation of a lost city.