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Screens Series: Randa Maroufi
09/15/20-11/08/20
Lower Level

“Screens Series: Randa Maroufi” continues the New Museum’s Screens Series, a platform for the presentation of new video works by emerging contemporary artists. Working across video, photography, and installation, Randa Maroufi (b. 1987, Casablanca, Morocco) hones in on the banality and absurdity of daily life.

Maroufi deploys a variety of filmic techniques—slow motion and frontal shots, a zenith camera, and post-production stitching—with polylingual voiceovers in French, English, Arabic, and Spanish, to produce her elaborate short videos. Her works capture easily overlooked moments and highlight the existence of her protagonists: displaced people, laborers, and citizens. Her camera meanders through specific locales, like a Spanish border enclave in northern Morocco, an office space in Amsterdam, and an abandoned amusement park in Casablanca, slowing down footage of the scenes to draw attention to their details. Through highly choreographed camera movements, the artist suspends her central figures in time, and allows for the minutia of seemingly inconspicuous everyday moments to unfurl.

This exhibition is curated by Francesca Altamura, former Curatorial Assistant.

Randa Maroufi (b. 1987, Casablanca, Morocco) lives and works in Paris, France. Her upcoming solo exhibitions include Paris Beijing Gallery, France; Le Pavillon Blanc, Colomiers, France; Les Rencontres d’Arles France; Muzee, Ostende, Belgium; and Hestia Art Residency & Exhibitions Bureau, Belgrade, Serbia. In 2019, she had solo exhibitions including “Les Intruses” at l’Écart Lieu d’Art Actuel, Quebec, Canada, and “État des lieux” at Galerie Paradise, Nantes, France. She has participated in recent group exhibitions at Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE (2019); The Boston University Art Galleries, Boston University (2019); Hong-Gah Museum, Taipei City, Taiwan (2018); Biennale de Dakar, Senegal (2018); Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2018); Sharjah Biennial, Lebanon (2017); Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2017); KAI 10 | Arthena Foundation, Düsseldorf, Germany (2017); Videonale 16, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany (2017); New Directors / New Films at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2016); African Biennale of Photography, Bamako, Mali (2015); and the Marrakech Biennale, Morocco (2014). Her films have screened at the Tampere Film Festival, Finland; Glasgow Short Film Festival, United Kingdom; International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, France; among many others. This presentation marks the artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States.

Jordan Casteel: Within Reach
Through 01/03/21
Second Floor

Bringing together nearly forty paintings spanning her career, including works from her celebrated series Visible Man (2013–14) and Nights in Harlem (2017), along with recent portraits of her students at Rutgers University-Newark, “Within Reach” will be Jordan Casteel’s first solo museum exhibition in New York City.

In her large-scale oil paintings, Casteel has developed a distinctive figurative language permeated by the presence of her subjects, who are typically captured in larger-than-life depictions that teem with domestic details and psychological insights.

Portraying people from communities in which the artist lives and works—including former classmates at Yale, where she earned an MFA; street vendors and neighbors near her home in Harlem; and her own students at Rutgers University-Newark in New Jersey—Casteel insists upon the ordinary, offering scenes with both the informality of a snapshot and the frontality of an official portrait. In these richly colorful works, Casteel draws upon ongoing conversations on portraiture that encompass race, gender, and subjectivity, connecting her practice to the legacy of artists like Alice Neel, Faith Ringgold, and Bob Thompson, among others. Casteel’s studies in anthropology and sociology also inform her works, which can often be read as a reflection on the presentation of the self in everyday life and as an investigation of the relationships that tie together intimacy and distance, familiarity and otherness.

Casteel’s subjects, who are frequently black men looking directly at the viewer, are self-possessed and casually posed, but, as they stare in the distance, they also seem to ponder questions about masculinity and class, belonging and displacement. In the exchange of gazes between the sitters, the artist, and the viewers, her paintings blur impulses and aspirations to compose a nuanced portrait of daily life in the US.

From her earliest series, Visible Man, Casteel has challenged conventional depictions of blackness while simultaneously reconfiguring stereotypes and expectations around femininity and desire. In Jiréh (2013), a student from the Yale School of Drama appears unclothed and in repose at home, gazing tranquilly at the viewer from a patterned couch. More than on any sense of erotic tension, the painting rests on a sense of empathy and quietness. In later works, Casteel’s encounters with her subjects are animated by a different sense of place: in Nights in Harlem, Casteel shifts her attention outside, to men and women who populate the streets of her neighborhood. Posed in their environments, these figures reflect the communal spaces and social relationships they inhabit.

Along with her depictions of life in Harlem, Casteel also explores scenarios in which anonymity and individuality seem to coexist. In her cropped “subway paintings”—one of which lends its title to the exhibition—she zooms in on the everyday gestures she observes on New York City trains. Even against the anonymous weight of strangers clasping cell phones and huddling near doorways, the body still remains legible, its identity concealed but its inner life nevertheless present. In these, as in many of her works, Casteel captures the sensory experience of life in the city, while conjuring the complex emotional landscape of her sitters.

“Jordan Casteel: Within Reach” will also include recent portraits of Casteel’s students from Rutgers University-Newark. This series is comprised of works composed as domestic tableaux wherein the sitters and the artist share moments of proximity and estrangement that double as allegories of fleeting youth. These paintings signal a new phase for Casteel, one in which detailed passages of paint are contrasted with more abbreviated notations that still retain all the humanist qualities that distinguish her work.

The exhibition is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director.

A fully illustrated catalogue published by the New Museum accompanies the exhibition and includes interviews with the artist conducted by Massimiliano Gioni and Thelma Golden, and newly commissioned texts by Dawoud Bey, Lauren Haynes, and Amanda Hunt.

Jordan Casteel (b. 1989, Denver, CO) lives and works in New York City and is Assistant Professor of Painting in the Department of Arts, Culture, and Media at Rutgers University-Newark. Recent solo exhibitions include “Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze,” presented at both the Denver Art Museum, Denver (2019) and the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University (2019–20). In recent years, she has participated in exhibitions at institutional venues such as Baltimore Museum of Art, MD (2019); Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR (2018); MoCA, Los Angeles, CA (2018); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (2017 and 2016); and MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA (2017). Casteel has been an artist-in-residence at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Process Space, Governors Island, NY (2015); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (2015); and The Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, Brooklyn, NY (2016). Casteel received her BA in Studio Art from Agnes Scott College, Decatur, GA in 2011 and her MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT in 2014.

Peter Saul: Crime and Punishment
Through 01/03/21
Third Floor and Fourth Floor

Marking the artist’s first New York museum survey, this exhibition will bring together approximately sixty paintings from across his long career.

Beginning in the early 1960s, Peter Saul began to incorporate imagery borrowed from a range of pop-cultural sources into his exuberant, brightly colored paintings, adopting a style that has proven to be far ahead of its time. His work developed independently from concurrent art historical movements like Pop art, with which it shares some superficially similar concerns. Instead of the cool detachment of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, however, Saul crafted his own unique blend of Surrealism, history painting, vernacular illustration, and the real-life shock and horror of current events. This madcap formula has allowed the artist to critique art historical pretensions while addressing the outsized characters and realities of his day. Long considered outside the narrative of twentieth-century art, Peter Saul’s work has gained greater appreciation as younger artists register his influence in work across mediums.

Saul’s earliest paintings, which he created in Paris, demonstrate a loose, gestural style of abstraction, yet he began to incorporate text, recognizable characters, and consumer products into his works as early as 1960. Around this time, he plucked figures like Donald Duck and Superman from the pages of comic books and deposited them into chaotic scenes representative of the avarice and violence of America. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Saul created some of his most shocking and indelible works in response to the Vietnam War, with a series that captured the conflict’s grotesque brutality, racism, and destruction. A later group of paintings, which examines the chaotic sociopolitical fabric of urban life in California, reflects the dissolution of 1960s counterculture and the corruption, racism, and greed of US politics.

Saul extended his interrogation of American history in his portraits of infamous criminals like John Wayne Gacy, archetypes like cowboys and businessmen, and US presidents such as Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump, whom Saul depicts with disdain and condemnation. He has also looked further back to reimagine supposedly triumphant scenes from America’s past—including Columbus’s arrival in America, Washington crossing the Delaware, and Custer’s Last Stand—as moments of comical failure or disgrace. With a caustic sense of humor, Saul has continuously skewered America’s leaders, rendering their stretched, distorted bodies in Day-Glo colors. His disparate influences range from MAD magazine comics to Surrealist fantasies and American social realist painting from the 1930s.

With its embrace of vernacular culture, Saul’s work stands as a key link between young figurative painters and older groups of artists like the Hairy Who in Chicago and the Bay Area Funk artists, who similarly operated outside the dominant critical modes of their time. Historically, his work also connects to the Surrealist landscapes of Salvador Dalí and Roberto Matta, and to the biting political caricatures of artists such as Francisco Goya and William Hogarth. Often championed by West Coast artists like Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw, Saul’s work, pushed for so long to the margins of the art world, now proves to be a perfect expression of our horrific present.

This exhibition is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director, and Gary Carrion-Murayari, Kraus Family Curator.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue copublished with Phaidon Press, featuring new contributions from Robert Cozzolino, Matthew Israel, Dan Nadel, Nicole Rudick, and John C. Welchman, and interviews with Peter Saul and Thomas Crow.

Peter Saul was born in 1934 in San Francisco, CA. He received a BFA from the School of Fine Arts at Washington University in St. Louis in 1956. He has been the subject of retrospective exhibitions at Les Abattoirs, Toulouse (2019); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2017); Deichtorhallen Hamburg (2017); Orange County Museum of Art, Santa Ana, CA (2008); Pennsylvania Academy of Arts, Philadelphia (2008); Musée de l’Abbaye Sainte-Croix, Les Sables d’Olonne, France (1999); Musée de l’Hôtel Bertrand, Châteauroux, France (1999); Aspen Art Museum (1989); Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (1989); Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, Austin (1989); Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans (1989); Swen Parson Gallery, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb (1980); and Madison Art Center, Madison, WI (1980). His work has been included in important group exhibitions including “Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965–1975,” Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC (2019); “Les années Pop, 1956–1968,” Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2001); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1995); “Hand-Painted Pop: American Art in Transition, 1955–1962,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1992); “Funk,” University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley (1967); and the Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (1967). He lives in New York.
Sponsors

Lead support for this exhibition is provided by
The Henry Luce Foundation.

Daiga Grantina: What Eats Around Itself
Through 01/03/21
Lobby Gallery

Daiga Grantina creates large-scale sculptural assemblages that emulate the natural world, often resembling terrariums and vegetation. Her labored configurations employ synthetic materials and incorporate conflicting physical qualities: soft and hard, transparent and opaque, mobile and static, strong and weak.

The title of the exhibition, “What Eats Around Itself,” refers to the dynamic properties of lichen, a composite organism that results from the symbiosis between fungi and algae. Grantina draws inspiration from lichen’s many adaptive qualities, like coexistence and self-replication, to devise her material processes. For her New Museum presentation, the artist premieres a new site-specific sculptural installation that interweaves cast silicone with paint, latex, fabric, and felt. Suspended from wooden planks and clinging to the gallery walls and floor, this work mimics the growth of lichen, which typically develops into a crusty, leaflike, or branching formation. The work’s amorphous structure appears to undergo construction and decomposition at once, much as lichen reproduces and consumes its own biological matter.

Grantina’s sculptures also draw from the lyricism of poet Rainer Maria Rilke and his profound interest in the rose, which he viewed as an emblem of promise, possibility, and the power of art to give life deeper meaning. On his gravestone, Rilke’s self-composed epitaph reads, “Rose, oh pure contradiction, desire / to be no one’s sleep under so many / lids.” The central forms in Grantina’s installation resemble both rose petals and eyelids, evoking Rilke’s manifold interpretations of the flower as a conduit between vitality and sleep, life and death.

“Daiga Grantina: What Eats Around Itself” is curated by Helga Christoffersen, Executive Director, Art Hub Copenhagen, and former New Museum Associate Curator.

Daiga Grantina (b. 1985, Saldus, Latvia) lives and works in Paris. She studied at the University of Fine Arts Hamburg and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Grantina represented Latvia at the 2019 Venice Biennale with her solo presentation “Saules Suns.” She has had solo exhibitions at Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2018); Kunstverein Hamburg (2017); Kim? Contemporary Art Center, Riga (2016); and elsewhere. She has participated in the 13th Baltic Triennial in Vilnius (2018), the Vienna Biennial (2017), and Bergen Assembly (2016), as well as in group exhibitions at Musée d’Orsay, Paris (2018); Villa Vassilieff, Paris (2018); Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga (2018); La Panacée, Montpellier, France (2018); Platform-L, Seoul (2018); and Kunsthalle Mainz (2017).
Sponsors

This exhibition is part of a three-year initiative, launched in collaboration with Kvadrat, to premiere ambitious new productions by emerging artists.

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