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New to Spotlight: Eisenstein’s Erotica and A Turkish Opera Star’s Art

Discoveries abound in the curated section for avant-garde 20th-century artists

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Curated by Toby Kamps (Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston), the celebrated Spotlight section returns with a record 26 solo presentations by avant-garde 20th-century artists. Kamps said, ‘This year’s Spotlight section presents a global selection of 20th-century artists deserving of greater attention. Many are female, queer, or artists of color, and others chose eccentric media and approaches or worked in places cut off from major art centers.’ Highlights include, among others:

  • Protests against the limitations of gender and sexual strictures, such as rare erotic drawings by the father of Russian film, Sergei Eisenstein; paintings by iconic video artist Derek Jarman, created during turning points in the artist’s life; and works by Pierre Molinier, one of the cornerstones of gender studies;
     
  • Reverberations of the global Pop Art movement include Italian painters, Titina Masselli and Valerio Adami, exploring consumer-culture and Fururist ideas of contemporary living; Rosalyn Drexler and Gathie Falk from the United States and Canada, respectively, looking at sexual politics and the domestic sphere in the 1960s and 1970s;
     
  • Postwar abstract painting include Joe Overstreet’s submerging of his experiences as an African American in large, tent-like works on canvases; Dorothy Antoinette ‘Toni’ La Selle, a pioneer of non-objective art in Texas during the midcentury; and Japanese Key Hiraga paints exuberantly mad expressions of the optical overload of contemporary life;
     
  • Other artists deploy non-traditional materials such as American artist Lenore Tawney, who transforms the modernist grid into elegant, diaphanous textile works; Greek sculptor Nausica Pastra exploring pure geometry in spare, space-defining objects; Yugoslavian/Croatian artist Ivan Kozaric searches for formal and intellectual freedom through a range of mediums from sculpture to assemblage to action; and Argentinian draftsperson Mirtha Dermisache take language and thought to the outer limit in asemic writing;
     
  • British ‘walking artist’ Hamish Fulton and Dutch conceptual artist Stanley Brouwn push art into new territories, from Fulton’s carefully documented hikes to Brouwn’s barely-there text-drawings;
     
  • Plus artists who resist categorization, such as Italian/Brazilian artist Alfredo Volpi who presages the transcendent geometries of Brazilian concrete art through his drawings and trademark small flags; Japanese photographer Ishiuchi Miyako fuses the personal and political in photographs of her hometown Yokosuka, which is dominated by an American naval base; and Ernesto Shikhani, a painter and drawer from Mozambique, expresses life before and after his country’s independence and civil war in the 1970s through haunting images.

The full list of participating Spotlight galleries can be viewed here.

Main image: Anglim Gilbert Gallery’s stand at Frieze Masters 2017.

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