Beverly Semmes “Red”

Susan Inglett Gallery

poster for Beverly Semmes “Red”

This event has ended.

Susan Inglett Gallery presents Beverly Semmes: Red, the artist’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. The exhibition presents new works on canvas in Semmes’ on-going Feminist Responsibility Project (FRP). On 14 February 2020 (Valentine’s Day), Joan Retallack will read bracingly improbable love poems at 5:30 PM in the Gallery. Additionally, Beverly Semmes will be our featured artist this year at the ADAA Art Show, Booth D-18 from 27 February to 1 March 2020 at the Park Avenue Armory. A small zine of cartoons altered by the artist titled Pinkie will be made available both at the Gallery and at The Art Show.

Semmes initiated FRP in the early 2000’s. A sculptor by training, she has long used massive scale, electric color and vessel forms— such as dresses, pots, and chandeliers— to mess with authority. Petunia filled a cathedral nave in the Netherlands with a lake of pink chiffon that pooled as if it were the skirt of the performer who sat in attendance. FRP newly expands the set of operations of this larger body of work. Think of me as a rogue censorship bureau, says Semmes, (whose father was an FBI agent) of the baseline project. Drawing on pages of vintage Penthouse, Hustler and other gentleman’s magazines, Semmes exposes the exploitive, titillating and awkward poses as much as she covers them up. Simply blotting out sex workers is not an option. Super Puritan and Bitch are Semmes’ FRP alter egos.

- Ingrid Schaffner, The Guide, Carnegie International 57th edition, 2018.

This exhibition features a series of painted canvas works, altered and inked in a revolutionary red, a continuation of the artist’s project presented at the recent 57th Carnegie International. For the Carnegie, Semmes created new life-size FRP paintings, by transferring and enlarging a selection of images from 1990’s era pornographic magazines. At this scale, the welter of applied cover-up marks become bold, painterly gestures, aggressively creating an intimate physicality. Operating as a censor to the magazine page nudity, the artist wields paint to shield these women as they pose and perform. The partial concealment of the underlying image amplifies the highly constructed tableaux; the gaze creates objectification of the female body by camera and audience alike. Semmes presents this discord not as a result of two poles that are mutually exclusive, but rather as a grey space in which queries regarding female sexuality take new form.

BEVERLY SEMMES was born in Washington, DC. She received an MFA from the Yale School of Art in addition to a BA and BFA from the Boston Museum School, Tufts University. A selection of works by Semmes was exhibited in the 57th Carnegie International, curated by Ingrid Schaffner. Later this year, she will have a solo exhibition at the Aspen Art Museum curated by Max Weintraub, and will participate in the group exhibition, “Witch Hunt,” curated by Connie Butler and Anne Ellegood, at the Hammer Museum and the ICA, Los Angeles. Additional solo exhibitions include the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, DC; the ICA Philadelphia; the MCA Chicago; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; and an exhibition co-organized by the Grinnell College Museum of Art, Grinnell and the Frances Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs. Her work is included in the museum collections of the Albright Knox Art Gallery, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Denver Art Museum,
the Hirshhorn Museum, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art among others.

JOAN RETALLACK is a poet with a background in philosophy and visual arts. Her numerous volumes of poetry include Errata 5uite (Edge Books) chosen by Robert Creeley for a Columbia Book Award; AFTERRIMAGES (Wesleyan); How To Do Things With Words (Sun & Moon Classics); Procedural Elegies /Western Civ Cont’d/ (Roof)—an Artforum best book of 2010. Her friendship with John Cage led to Musicage (Wesleyan), a volume of their conversations about Cage’s compositional poetics. Retallack’s The Poethical Wager (California) is a sequence of experimental essays. Litmus Press published The Supposium: Thought Experiments and Poethical Play in Difficult Times, edited by Retallack as documentation and continuation of a MoMA event in collaboration with Adam Pendleton. The book was launched at The Kitchen in a multimedia event: “THE SUPPOSIUM, A Poethical Wager,” 2018. BOSCH’D: Fables, Moral Tales & Other Awkward Constructions is forthcoming from Litmus this spring.



from January 30, 2020 to March 07, 2020

Opening Reception on 2020-01-30 from 18:00 to 20:00


Beverly Semmes

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