Deborah Kass Retrospective at the Andy Warhol MuseumDeborah Kass, Blue Deb, 2000
Before and Happily Ever After
A mid-career retrospective of paintings by Deborah Kass
On view at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh from October 27 to January 6, 2013
Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to announce the Andy Warhol Museum will present a mid-career retrospective of paintings by Deborah Kass, whose profound and witty take on art history and popular culture will be assembled at the museum for the first time.
The exhibition, featuring 75 paintings, showcases Kass’s achievements over the course of her three-decade career. These works reflect her painterly finesse, deadpan humor, and canny instinct for incorporating her thoughtful take on themes like fame, power, the history of postwar painting, gender, and ethnicity in cheerful and alluring canvases. Original, beautiful, and sometimes confrontational, her work has defined and often anticipated many of the issues surrounding painting today.
Kass is best known for her provocative, game-changing series of paintings titled “The Warhol Project.” For these works, made between 1992 and 2000, she appropriated the style and content of celebrity portraits by the Pop master—but substituted a contingent of her own heroes, among them Gertrude Stein, Sandy Koufax, and, especially, Barbra Streisand, subject of the “ The Jewish Jackie Series.” Kass’s Warholesque rendering of the entertainer in costume from Yentl, titled “My Elvis,” is a classic example of the artist’s genre-and gender-bending sensibility.
The exhibition also features Kass’s early, dramatic landscapes, as well as her eerie, cheery geometric abstractions, betraying the first hints of her obsession with Pop. Then come “The Art History Paintings,” playful quips on iconic artworks and characters from pop culture. The show concludes with two recent series, “feel good paintings for feel bad times” and “MORE feel good paintings for feel bad times,” which render lyrics borrowed from The Great American Songbook and Broadway musical theater in joyful, saucy hues.
A monograph published by Rizzoli on the occasion of the show includes essays by art historian Irving Sandler, British feminist art historian Griselda Pollock, and filmmaker, provocateur and artist John Waters. Robert Storr, artist, curator and Dean of Yale School of Art, art critics Lisa Liebmann and Brooks Adams, and Eric Shiner, curator and director of the Andy Warhol Museum, are also contributing essays.
Deborah Kass received her BFA in Painting at Carnegie Mellon University, and later studied at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and the Art Students’ League. Her work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of Art, The Solomon Guggenheim Museum, The Jewish Museum, The Museum of Fine Art, Boston, The Cincinnati Museum, the New Orleans Museum, The Weatherspoon Museum, as well as numerous public and private collections. She has been featured in many major exhibitions nationally and internationally at venues including the Venice Biennale, the Istanbul Biennale, and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne.
Kass has participated in several recent high-profile traveling exhibitions, including “Hide/Seek,” which originated at the National Portrait Galley in Washington, D.C., and “The Deconstructive Impulse: Women Artists Reconfigure Signs of Power” originating at the Neuberger Museum of Art. Her work is prominently featured in “Regarding Warhol,” a major show examining the influence of Warhol on contemporary art, opening this September at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Kass will be involved in several public programs related to that exhibition this fall.
She is a Senior Critic in the Yale University M.F.A. Painting Program.
Deborah Kass is represented by Vincent Fremont and the Paul Kasmin Gallery.