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Nasty Women

GAVLAK Los Angeles

October 31 - December 12, 2020

Karen Carson Power Mad, 2011

Karen Carson
Power Mad, 2011
Acrylic on unstretched canvas
61.5 x 73 in  (156.2 x 185.4 cm)

Press Release

GAVLAK Los Angeles is pleased to present Nasty Women, a sprawling group exhibition opening October 31, 2020 and on view until December 12, 2020. Situated amongst two separate historical moments, Nasty Women commemorates the one-hundredth anniversary of the 19th amendment’s ratification, guaranteeing women’s suffrage in the United States. Including works by Candida Alvarez, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Delia Brown, Karen Carson, Gisela Colón, Jenny Holzer, Jesse Mockrin, Ebony G. Patterson and Trulee Hall, the exhibition will also coincide with the 2020 presidential election and act as a defiant gesture of solidarity amongst women and LGBTQ+ artists who feel their rights may be under threat due to the loss of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

As the exhibition title reclaims the slanderous sobriquet invoked by then-Presidential nominee Donald Trump in 2016, Nasty Women seeks to uplift communities underrepresented in contemporary art and American visual culture at large. By appropriating “nasty women” to be all-inclusive, the exhibition celebrates, recognizes and gives a platform to a diverse array of perspectives and female voices throughout art history. The exhibited works will span over five-hundred years of art-making, drawing parallels between past and present narratives while disrupting conventional art historical praxes.

Key historical pieces featured in the exhibition are works created by both known and anonymous “Old Mistresses,” or female artists excluded from a male-dominated art historical canon, despite their formal talent and prolific output. Amongst these works are a pastel portrait by 18th-century Scottish artist Katherine Read and an anonymous self-portrait of a woman from the Italian Renaissance. The anonymity of such artists – often attributed to negligent and dismissive record-keeping based on gender – is essential to this exhibition’s theme of the reclamation of nomenclature.  Perhaps, such unknown 'old mistresses' would have been considered to be notable "Old Masters" had they identified themselves as male, and thus included in the history of art and the patriarchal structure of Western European society.

Nasty Women opens on the eve of the presidential election and what we hope is the aftermath of a presidency that views the voices presented in this exhibition as disposable yet threatening. The series of works presented harnesses this power, moving against political oppression, state violence and towards celebrating self-expression. Intersecting with another key political moment, Nasty Women is dedicated to the memory of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In tandem with the artworks presented in the exhibition, an interactive reading room curated by Sarah Gavlak (following all health and safety guidelines) will be situated at the center of the gallery. Available literature and essays will span critical feminist theory, art history, politics and philosophy. These texts, like the artworks included in Nasty Women, will encompass a diverse number of voices and perspectives, with authors ranging from Linda Nochlin to Legacy Russell.

Including work by:
Tiffany Alfonseca, Candida Alvarez, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Judie Bamber, Whitney Bedford, Andrea Belag, April Bey, Delia Brown, Deborah Brown, Karen Carson, Elizabeth Catlett, Gisela Colón, Patricia Cronin, Kim Dacres, Linda Daniels, Vaginal Davis, Sonia Delaunay, Florence Derive, Nicole Eisenman, Judith Eisler, Anonymous (Emilian School), Beverly Fishman, Helen Frankenthaler, Viola Frey, Francesca Gabbiani, Vania Gunarti, Trulee Hall, Jenny Holzer, Deborah Kass, Angelica Kauffman, Rachel Kaye, Ella Kruglyanskaya, Becky Kolsrud, Marcia Kure, Yayoi Kusama, Nancy Lorenz, Ann Magnuson, Kate Millett, Anne Minich, Marilyn Minter, Jesse Mockrin, Betty Parsons, Ebony G. Patterson, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Fay Ray, Katherine Read, Joan Semmel, Shinique Smith, Sylvia Snowden, Linda Stark, Sophie Tæuber-Arp, Alexis Teplin, Betty Tompkins, Patssi Valdez, Marnie Weber, Brenna Youngblood, and Lisa Yuskavage.

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