Eunice Golden “Metamorphosis”

Sapar Contemporary

poster for Eunice Golden “Metamorphosis”

This event has ended.

Curated by Aliza Edelman, Ph.D.

SAPAR Contemporary presents Eunice Golden: Metamorphosis, the gallery’s first exhibition devoted to this renowned artist’s late paintings and prints, and an opportunity to celebrate her enduring contributions to feminism and activism since the earliest years of the feminist art movement. This presentation of her large-scale series, Metamorphosis (2003–2007) and Flora (2009), highlights Golden’s (b. 1927, Brooklyn, New York) exceptional force as a painter who, at 93-years-old, continues to explore the gestural expanse of color, rapid brushwork, and hypnotic patterning. Such sensorial exercises map the body’s subtle fragmentation in nature, revealing an underlying anthropomorphism that was described by the artist as a philosophical and spiritual outgrowth of her earlier radical oeuvre of sexual body landscapes. Golden offered on these recent works, “I am attempting to express, in visual terms, the inner depths of my feelings—physiological and psychological—where I am concerned with tactility and the sensation of touch, but also of thought on a primal level, where there are no boundaries and where natural phenomenon are blurred by processes of metamorphosis.” She added, “My stream of consciousness yields countless images, resulting in strange metamorphoses that may produce ambiguity and subsequent tension.” Golden’s creative breakthroughs are mitigated through her constructed surfaces of earthly organic entanglements and sexual tensions. While her paintings and prints on view at SAPAR engage bodily experiences at a visceral level, they also metaphorically express a collective nostalgia and pathos. In the current era of the Anthropocene, these universal sensibilities of cyclical growth and loss, birth and destruction, resonate with our present day ecological fears, uncertainties, and challenges. Golden’s prints, moreover, are magnified passages from her paintings, which alternately conjure intercellular matrices, geological strata, and cosmic fields. Golden’s late works reclaim the landscape’s protean physicality to expose the nuanced balance between the intimate and the colossal, the vulnerable and the powerful.

Golden garnered critical praise for her paintings, photographs, and films from the 1970s and 1980s that reoriented our perception of human sexuality. Her visualization of male nudes as abstracted landscapes—from her series titled Male Landscapes (1968–73)—brazenly challenged centuries of mythological and allegorical depictions of female nudes by male artists, and likewise navigated histories of landscape painting. Offering an authoritatively feminist position from which to address postwar gesturalism and figurative abstraction, Golden’s experimental and liberating art practices of this period foregrounded the performative dynamics of sexual desire and spectatorial control. In 1970, Golden joined the Ad Hoc Women Artists’ Committee, which was responsible for demonstrations and other practices in response to the discrimination towards women artist by museums and other art institutions. In 1973, she was invited by Anita Steckel to join the Fight Censorship group with artists Louise Bourgeois, Martha Edelheit, Joan Semmel, Juanita McNeely, Anne Sharp, Joan Glueckman, and Hannah Wilke. Golden’s pioneering article of 1981 in Heresies [hyperlink] forcefully argued for a language of art and sexuality that countered “ways of seeing rooted in male experience.”

In her revisionist assessment of Golden’s career in Woman’s Art Journal (2020) [hyperlink], art historian Aliza Edelman claimed that the artist’s formidable images manifest diametrically as abstract geographies and as phallic criticisms of masculinity. In 2019, Golden’s early production was significantly featured in the major international exhibition In the Cut: The Male Body in Feminist Art [hyperlink], organized by Andrea Jahn at the Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken, and shown in the vibrant company of New York contemporaries, including Carolee Schneemann, Joan Semmel, Betty Tompkins, and Louise Bourgeois, among others. Her short film, Blue Bananas and Other Meats (1973), was presented throughout her career at museums and festivals in the US and Europe, including the recent exhibition Maskulinitäten (2019) at the Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Germany. In 2002, Golden participated in Personal & Political: The Women’s Art Movement, 1969–1975, organized by Simon Taylor and Natalie Ng at the Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York. In his seminal catalogue essay in WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution (MIT Press, 2007), Richard Meyer discussed Golden’s work in the broader context of censorship, sexuality, and the 1970s.

In a career that has lasted more than five decades, Eunice Golden has shown a commitment to her primary vision that has inspired numerous series, projects, lectures and interviews. Based in New York, Eunice Golden continues to work and write in her studios in the West Village and in East Hampton.

Raised in Brooklyn, New York, Golden (b. 1927) earned her BA in Fine Arts from SUNY, Empire State College, New York, in 1978, and her MFA from Brooklyn College, New York, in 1980. In 1971, Golden began exhibiting regularly in one-person shows in New York at Westbeth Gallery, which mounted her survey Three Decades: 1970–2000 (2000), and at SoHo 20, the women artists’ cooperative gallery, where she was cofounding member in 1973, showing until 1996. Mitchell Algus Gallery, New York, organized a retrospective of her works in 2003. Selected group exhibitions include In the Cut: The Male Body in Feminist Art Nothing But Nudes, Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken, Germany (2019); Annual, Ashawagh Hall, Springs, East Hampton, NY (1995–99); Annual, Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY (1987–2011); IDEA Photographic, After Modernism, Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe, NM (2002–3); Sniper’s Nest (curated by Lucy Lippard), Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (1995–97, traveling); Committed to Print (“An Anti-Catalog”), The Museum of Modern Art, NY (1988–89); Artists Space, NY (1983, 1974); A.I.R. Gallery, NY (1983, 1982); Feministische Kunst Internationaal, Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, The Netherlands (1979); Nothing But Nudes, Whitney Museum of American Art Downtown, NY (1977); Works on Paper, Women Artists, Brooklyn Museum, NY (1975); Painting and Sculpture Today, 1974, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN, and the Taft Museum, Cincinnati, OH (1974); Palacio de las Bellas Artes, Mexico City (1972). Selected solo exhibitions were held at Pollock-Krasner House, East Hampton, NY (2010); Fairleigh Dickinson University, Edward Williams Gallery, NJ (1979); Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ (1977); University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD (1976); Hudson River Museum, Yonkers, NY (1969). Golden directed mural designs at Bronx Community College (1979) and Bronx Museum of the Arts, Joyce Kilmer Park (1978).

Aliza Edelman, Ph.D., is an independent curator, art historian, and editor. Her research interests span the modern Americas and the Middle East, with emphasis on the art of the postwar United States and Brazil, the transnational histories of abstraction and concretism, and gender and feminism. She recently published, with Alison Poe, “Eva Hesse’s Laocoon: Mitigated Antiquity and Specters in Space,” in Woman’s Art Journal (Spring/Summer 2020).



from October 22, 2020 to November 28, 2020


Eunice Golden

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