The Gallery’s Art Basel Miami Beach 2012 booth includes an Art Kabinett thematic presentation that connects three painters who reflect three distinct movements in American social activism over three decades. In our presentation, the lineage of the Civil Rights, Feminist, and Gay Rights movements are explored through the paintings of Joan Semmel, Hugh Steers,and Jack Whitten, spanning the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s
Joan Semmel’s feminist approach to the female nude in the ‘70s reclaimed representation of women in high and popular culture, capturing the human figure through the eyes of the subject. Her naturalized, active form dismisses the tradition of the passive nude and approaches female sensuality from a woman’s perspective.
Moving away from sexuality toward intimacy, Hugh Steers delves into the impact of the AIDS crisis on Queer culture. Steers’ narrative paintings from the ‘80s and early ‘90s evoke desire, compassion, longing, and solitude, employing a distinctly American painting style influenced by Thomas Eakins and Edward Hopper.
Jack Whitten began experimenting with abstract figuration upon moving to New York in the early 1960s, making a personal imprint on the dominant mode of mid-Century Abstract Expressionism. These paintings, lesser known than later works, draw imagery from pivotal events of the Civil Rights movement, rendered with chaotic gesture and a brilliant color palette; crowd scenes and ghostly visages belonging to figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., haunt the canvas.
While Art Kabinett often emphasizes focused solo exhibitions, the Gallery’s curated thematic exhibition is singular in vision and impact, emphasizing that art is a record of culture’s stories. Placed in conversation, the works by Semmel, Steers, and Whitten trace political activism and progress through the representation of the human figure and its social conditions.
Art Kabinett gives participating galleries an opportunity to show small curated exhibitions, shown in a separate space within the exhibitor’s booth. The exhibition concepts for Art Kabinett are diverse, representing everything from thematic group exhibition and single-work presentation to film programs and full-room installations. Miami Beach Convention Center.