Monday, December 11, 2017

Autumn in New York, Part 6: Eccentric Domesticity

Lael Marshall in Domestic Disturbances, curated by Joanne Freeman

Two exhibitions in one season dealing with the concept of eccentric domesticity might be a coincidence, but the arrival at the Brooklyn Museum of a show called The Making of the Dinner Party tipped the scale, suggesting a post dedicated to the domestic theme. We begin in Chelsea, cross the bridge into Brooklyn and then, ahem, head south in a visual narrative takes us from a dish-
cloth painting to an exhibition that celebrates female physiology.

Ashley Lyon and Jane Bustin, Modern Domestics at Jane Lombard Gallery,
Chelsea, through December 21

Above and below: Ashley Lyon, Wellspring, 2017, fired clay with mixed media surface

Jane Bustin, Dirty Linen and Beads, 2017; linen, acrylic, beads and other materials,; 20.5 x 12 inches

Jane Bustin, Handwritten, 2017; polyurethane, acrylic, ink, wood, and cloth glove; 12 x 13 inches

Jane Bustin, Hanging, 2016,  linen, tea, oxides, acrylic, paper, anbd silk thread; 27.5 x 35.5 inches

Installation view with Ashley Lyon fired clay sculpture in foreground

Jane Bustin, Spill, 2017; oil, acrylic, wood, copper, and varnish; 22 x 14 inches

Installation view with Ashley Lyon clay sculpture in foreground

Installation view with Ashley Lyon sculpture in foreground

Ashley Lyon, In Kind, 2017, fired clay with mixed media surface

. . . . .

Domestic Disturbances

Installation view of Domestic Disturbances, curated by Joanne Freeman, at 490 Atlantic Gallery, Brooklyn (September 16-October 29)

From left: Sue Ravitz,  Debra Smith, Elisa D'Arrigo on pedestal past doorway, Ravitz, Lael Marshall, Joanne Mattera 

The painter Joanne Freeman, who curated this exhibition, notes in her essay that domesticity was traditionally associated with craft, and craft with functionality. As in Modern Domestics, the artists here skew those associations. There are paintings made from dishcloths, traditional needlepoint displayed as the geometric abstraction it is, and work in porcelain that has nothing to do with teacups. (Disclaimer: I'm in this show.)

Sue Ravitz, Jellybellies, 2015, silk and wool thread on canvas, 24 x 24 inches

Continuing around the first gallery: Debra Smith, Sue Ravitz

And around to the third wall, with Lael Marshall and Joanne Mattera

Lael Marshall
Carmine's, 2012; cotton, thread, wood, 20 x 16 inches; Untitled (LMP2013), 2013, cotton, latex, staples, wood, 14 x 14.25 inches

Joanne Mattera
Silk Road 200 (above) and Silk Road 205; both 2014, encaustic on panel, 18 x 18 inches 

Installation view with Sue Ravitz and Debra Smith

Debra Smith
Shifting Meditation #2 (above) and Shifting Meditation #7; both 2015, pieced vintage silk, 14.5 x 14.5 inches

Installaton view of second gallery looking toward the front
From left, Patricia Zarate, Lizzie Scott, Elisa D'Arrigo

Patricia Zarate, Paintings for Corners (blue), 2006, fluid acrylic on wood, 48 x 3.75 x 50 inches; Lizzie Scott, Drifter (Standing), 2016; flashe on muslin, textile, bubble wrap, wood; 45 x 28 x 24 inches

Installation view of third gallery with Zarate bracketed by D'Arrigo

Elisa D'Arrigo
Twisted (4), 2014 (above) and Shift into Orange, 2013; both glazed ceramic

In the third gallery: Lizzie Scott, Drifter (Leaning), 2016; flashe on muslin, textile, Bubble wrap, wood; 66 x 27 x 5 inches: Elisa D'Arrigo, Around the Bend (2), 2017, glazed ceramic

In the courtyard: Jim Osman, Springfield, 2017; metal studs, pine; 220 x 206 inches

Panoramic installation view of the sculpture in the gallery's back yard. Osman's work recreates in upright orientation and minimalist form the layout of his childhood home

Exhibition website here
. . . . .

Judy Chicago, Roots of The Dinner Party: History in the Making at the Brooklyn Museum through March 4, 2018

I attended the press preview in which Chicago herself led the walk-through of a display that includes sketches, documents, test plates, previously unshown works, and other artworks related to the iconic installation. Those of you who are old enough will remember that The Dinner Party opened to the public in 1979 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and was installed in a number of cities around the country, including to the Brooklyn Museum (brief history here) in the early 80s before traveling throughout Europe. It then went into storage, reemerging when philanthropist Elizabeth Sackler funded a permanent home for The Dinner Party at the Brooklyn Museum, where it has been on display since 2002. If you haven't been, go. And if you haven't been in a while, go again; you will see it literally in a new light, as updated illumination is crisper and a bit brighter.

Feminism helped bring respect to the "domestic crafts" of needlework and porcelain painting, and The Dinner Party brought that idea to larger audience

The Dinner Party
I'll revisit the full installation soon for a Mothers of Invention post

Installation view of Roots of The Dinner Party with Cartoon for the Entryway Banner, right

Judy Chicago, Christina of Sweden (Great Ladies Series), 1973; sprayed acrylic on canvas, 40 x 40 inches

Another installation view of the exhibition

Below: The artist talking before Cartoons for Entryway Banners
Cartoons are the the full-size sketches for the textile works that were made. The reverse image is for the weavers, who wove  their tapestries from the back

Chicago talking to the press about the test glazings for what would become The Dinner Party plates

Notes and studies for what would become the Emily Dickinson plate. At some point in the spring I'll put together a long post about The Dinner Party in my Mothers of Invention series. I have photographed the installation from many vantage points and shot each place setting with numerous details

Detail of the Emily Dickinson study

A couple of events worth noting (full info on the museum link here): A gallery tour will take place on December 29, and Chicago will discuss The Dinner Party with Sarah Thornton on January 18, 2018
. . . . .


It's an easy leap from the Emily Dickinson plate to a splendid little show at Ceres Gallery that celebrates female physiology. Artists Susan Kaplow and Pam Shields curated a 20-artist show that celebrates, say the curators, "the beauty and power of the vulva."

Susanna Scott, Coin Cunt Flesh, coin purse assemblage
This was my favorite work in the show

Panoramic view of the exhibition

Vulvacular at Ceres Gallery, Chelsea, ran October 31-November 25
Works in the exhibition, plus others, can be seen at 

Phyllis Rosser, Dragon's Cry, wood assemblage and paint

Susan Kaplow, Still Beautiful, felt

Next up: Stitched, Stapled, Tacked


  1. Wow, another fantastic post! Powerful work, the palette, the transformation of materials, and conceptual strength. Thanks again for sharing. Saw the reinstalled Dinner Party a year or 2 ago, and was in awe, a real gift to have it so beautifully installed and accessible at the New Museum

  2. Thank you for another wonderful post!!!

  3. Glad to see you were able to visit 'Vulvacular' at Ceres Gallery and enjoyed my 'Coin Cunts' too! Thanks for sharing! --Suzanna Scott