Go see – New York: Self-Portraits at The Skarstedt Gallery through September4, 2009

August 20th, 2009

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Untitled #153, Cindy Sherman (1985). Via Skarstedt Gallery

The current group show at Skarstedt Gallery on E79th Street in New York exhibits the efforts of nine artists to tackle a genre that is of great importance in the canon of Art History: the Self-Portrait.  Once a tool for self-promotion and notoriety, the staff at the Skarstedt Gallery recognize the self-portrait as “a conceptual apparatus of history and are at the disposal of anyone who employs it.” In this instance, the Gallery presents the viewer with the self-fashioned images of Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Rudolf Stingel, John Coplands, Mike Kelley, Martin Kippenberger, Robert Mapplethorpe, Yasumasa Morimura, and Albert Oehlen within the framework of four iconographical themes: Glory, Desire, The Masquerade and Fading.

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Untitled (Self-Portrait), Martin Kippenberger (1988). Via Skarstedt Gallery

Related Links:
Skarstedt Gallery Homepage
[Skarstedt Gallery]
Self-Portraits at the Skarstedt Gallery event page
[Skarstedt Gallery]
Self-Portraits, by Ken Johnson [New York Times]

More text and pictures after the jump…..

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Self-Portrait, Andy Warhol. (1966-67). Via Skarstedt Gallery

Aside from his repetitious images of household commodities, Andy Warhol famously painted self-portraits throughout his life. By way of doing this, the viewer is able to simply view the changing stylistic choice he made over time, but the Skarstedt gallery aim to highlight the self-glorifying aspect of the images

In direct contrast to the Glory displayed in Warhol’s self-portraits, a focus is brought to the supposed concern with individual mortality or “fading” displayed in the self-portraits of the German artist Martin Kippenberger, whose work was celebrated at MoMA earlier this year. Many of the images included in this exhibition at Skarstedt Gallery were painted in 1996, the year before his death which resulted from liver cancer.

The iconographical theme of Desire is represented by the example of the work of Mike Kelley, most notably in Ahh…youth; a series of photographs of deteriorating stuffed animals which are presented like mugshots flanking an image of Kelley himself.

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Ahh…Youth, Mike Kelley (1990). Via Skarstedt Gallery

Finally, the tradition of The Masquerade  in self-portraiture is presented through the work of Cindy Sherman and Yasumasa Morimura who both alter their own images to deliberately disguise their appearance in the self-portrait.

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Daughter of Art History (Princess A), Yasumasa Morimura (1990). Via Skarstedt Gallery