Paint Made Flesh
This show is in our nation's capital, a four to five-hour drive from the city. In my excitement, I wrote this post for Mapcidy before finding out how far we are from it. Nonetheless, it's something that New Yorkers should know about if they're headed a couple of hundred miles southwest between now and September.
The transubstantiation that gives this exhibition the title Paint Made Flesh is arguably dialectical. Pigment may depict flesh, and flesh may inspire an artist's manipulation of the medium. The dominance of either paint or flesh is determined by the aesthetic priorities of a work; it may be carried by the sensualism of paint, the qualities of the flesh it represents, or both. It can also impose modern asceticism through the intellectual distance of strict analysis or austere conceptualism. This alchemy and these dynamics are the basis of the Philips Collection's upcoming exploration of the carnal canvas.
Thirty-two artists represent about half a century of painted bodies through forty works. Featured luminaries include "Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Willem de Kooning, Alice Neel, Philip Guston, Julian Schnabel, and Lucian Freud." Audiences are sure to find meta-cannibalistic food-for-thought in this survey of modern-to-contemporary artistic interpretations of this subject, which, whether seen as compelling or controversial, always provokes its audience.
Luckily for New Yorkers who won't be able to visit D.C. in time for this exhibition, a catalogue is being published by Vanderbilt University Press; homebodies can get their hands on that one way or another. I recommend checking Strand Books; they're bound to get copies in at some point.
Paint Made Flesh opens on Saturday, June 20th, and will be up until September 13th. For more details, visit http://www.phillipscollection.org/.