Curated by Robert Storr
Venus Over Manhattan
39 Great Jones Street & 55 Great Jones Street
November 16, 2023 – January 13, 2024
Beginning November 16, 2023, Venus Over Manhattan will present "Retinal Hysteria," an expansive two-venue exhibition curated by Robert Storr, who was previously Senior Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, and Dean of the Yale University School of Art.
Friends and Lovers
The FLAG Art Foundation
45 West 25th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY
October 6, 2023 - January 20, 2024
Friends & Lovers is an expansive group exhibition that centers on relationships between artists and their subjects and explores the infinite ways, both past and present, we are influenced by our inner circles. Just as a studio visit opens a window into an artist’s creative process, who they choose to immortalize through paint, bronze, photography, etc. similarly provides insight into who serves as their inspiration, be that a lover, partner, family member, friend, celebrity crush, or a fleeting encounter.
Friends & Lovers looks at portraiture through the lens of Alice Neel’s assertion that she painted “pictures of people.” Eschewing portraiture’s bourgeois associations, Neel sought to paint resonant, unheroic images of people in her life that were true to her experience of them, as seen in a bracing 1952 painting of her doe-eyed, young son Hartley. Likewise, works by fifty contemporary artists encompass a range of tender, unexpected, complex, and personal moments with and connections to their sitters, creating urgent and ultimately timeless pictures of their people. Artists include María Berrío, Peter Cain, Sophie Calle, Srijon Chowdhury, Alex Bradley Cohen, Will Cotton, Patricia Cronin, Anthony Cudahy, John Currin, Bernadette Despujols, Christopher Duffy, Nicole Eisenman, Shanique Emelife, Awol Erizku, Eric Fischl, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ewan Gibbs, Jerrell Gibbs, Nan Goldin, Felix González-Torres, Jenna Gribbon, Emiliana Henriquez, Patty Horing, Doron Langberg, Shona McAndrew, Dave McKenzie, Sam McKinniss, Marilyn Minter, Alice Neel, Arcmanoro Niles, Aliza Nisenbaum, Jennifer Packer, Elizabeth Peyton, Jack Pierson, Alessandro Raho, LJ Roberts, Audrey Rodriguez, Thomas Ruff, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Mike Silva, Rudolf Stingel, Ruby Sky Stiler, Billy Sullivan, Claire Tabouret, Alessandro Teoldi, Wolfgang Tillmans, Jim Torok, Justin Wadlington, Xiao Wang, Anna Weyant, D’Angelo Lovell Williams, and Sung Jik Yang.
Patricia Cronin’s Memorial to a Marriage, modeled 2002, cast 2015, was created at a time when same-sex marriage was illegal in the U.S. Depicting Cronin and her partner, fellow artist Deborah Kass, lying in bed, embraced in each other's arms, Memorial to a Marriage is equal parts a protest, a love letter, and a headstone for their burial plot in Woodlawn Cemetery.
A Maze Zanine, Amaze Zaning, A-Mezzaning, Meza-9
Curated by Ei Arakawa, Kerstin Brätch, Nicole Eisenman, and Laura Owens
519 West 19th Street, New York, NY
September 9 - October 15, 2022
David Zwirner and Performance Space New York are pleased to present a group exhibition organized by Ei Arakawa, Kerstin Brätsch, Nicole Eisenman, and Laura Owens at the gallery’s 519 West 19th Street location in New York. They will create a living exhibition exploring the dynamics between performance and painting. The unconventional design, conceived collaboratively by the four artist-organizers, examines how time is manifested on and off the canvas and invokes both risk and serendipity.
VR LGBTQ+ Museum
Tribeca Film Festival
Spring Studios, New York, NY 10013
Jun 8, 2022 – Jun 19, 2022
LGBTQ + VR Museum is the world's first virtual reality museum dedicated to celebrating the stories and artwork of LGBTQ people by preserving queer personal histories. The museum contains 3D scans of touching personal artifacts, from wedding shoes to a teddy bear, chosen by people in the LGBTQ community and accompanied by their stories told in their own words. The in-person version presented at Tribeca is a never-before-seen biometric experience controlled by users’ emotions in real-time.
635 South Broadway, Tarrytown, NY
May 26 - September 26, 2022
Women’s Work’ seeks to establish the influence of handwork tradition through the work of contemporary women artists. Placing examples of traditional women’s work in conversation with the contemporary art that was directly influenced by this tradition, allows us to establish the pervasiveness of the traditional influence among contemporary artists and show the broad diversity of traditional handcraft mediums. Observing these objects side-by-side allows viewers to re-evaluate these historic works and understand them as the art objects they were always intended to be.
E Pluribus: Out of Many: 190th Annual Exhibition
Curated by Dr. Kelli Morgan (online)
National Academy of Design, New York, NY
November 23 - 30, 2021
In 1782 the United States adopted e pluribus unum (out of many, one) as its motto, signaling the country’s global emergence as a new, united nation comprised of thirteen different colonies with very diverse populations. Behind the Latin phrase was the great American ideal of unity through diversity, an ideal so epic in the framers’ minds that it completely disregarded the abject oppression and violence committed against indigenous, enslaved, women, immigrant, poor, and disabled Americans.
As we navigate our contemporary moment and the various ways that the COVID-19 pandemic, continuous demands for social justice and racial equity, and the 2020 presidential election have manifested as vestiges of America’s inability to fully realize its initial motto, e pluribus: Out of Many, the 190th Annual Exhibition of the National Academy of Design purposely omits unum from its title to explore whether unity or oneness can truly be achieved in a nation founded upon principles that have always been inherently flawed and discriminatory when applied to its citizenry. Hence, the show asks: What new futures can we create if we end our pursuit of a mythological national unity and accept our reality as an incongruent collective?
74 Franklin Street, New York, NY
July 15 - August 27, 2021
As the inaugural artist invited to respond to the Tampa Museum of Art’s Anquities Collection in the museum’s new bi-annual Conversations with the Collection series, Contemporary Artist Patricia Cronin was commissioned to create a new work. Focusing on a life size Aphrodite (1st c.e.) fragment, Cronin’s Aphrodite Reimagined envisioned her as a completed monumental cult statue with translucent missing parts hand sculpted and reconstructed. Sometimes appearing whole and other times with the changing light, appearing more fractured as a comment on our shifting certainties about truth and history. Additionally, Cronin created her first multi-layered acrylic assemblage paintings and glass works, addressing themes of gender, subverted historical approaches to statuary and reinvented ideas about the human, the heroic and the divine. This exhibition catalogue includes essays by Seth Pevnick, Ph.D., Chief Curator and Richard E. Perry Curator of Greek and Roman Art and an interview by Joanna Robotham, Curator of Contemporary Art.
Mary Magdalene: The Exhibition
Curated by Dr. Lieke Wijnia
Museum Catherijne Convent
Lange Nieuwstraat 38, 3512 PH Utrecht, The Netherlands
June 25, 2021 - January 9, 2022
From 25 June 2021 to 9 January 2022 Museum Catharijneconvent will be shining a spotlight on Mary Magdalen. This special exhibition will introduce the visitor to the rich, paradoxical and constantly evolving imagery surrounding this mysterious biblical figure. From the time of the New Testament to the present day, Mary Magdalen has proved to be an inexhaustible source of inspiration for artists.
In addition to masterpieces from Museum Catharijneconvent itself there will be loans of superb works from national and international museums. We have embarked on joint ventures with the Rijksmuseum, Teylers Museum in Haarlem and the Amsterdam Museum, which will be lending us works by Albrecht Durer, Lucas van Leyden and Ary Scheffer. We have also asked for contributions from The National Gallery in London, Tate Britain, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The exhibition will be showing visitors how Mary Magdalen appeared down the ages, with connections between Old Master and contemporary art. Works by Marlene Dumas, David LaChapelle and Patricia Cronin will be playing an important part in this broad historical sweep.
About Face: Stonewall, Revolt and New Queer Art
659 W. Wrightwood, Chicago, IL
May 22 - August 3 2019
This is an exhibition about metamorphosis. Fifty years after Stonewall, we’re still very much a community in progress. The traditional view, that Stonewall represents the birth of a gay and lesbian movement, couldn’t be further from the truth on at least two counts: it hardly represents the beginning and it was never just gay and lesbian. On the contrary, we have always embraced a transpolitics, in the sense of working to variously transgress, transfigure, transpose, transform, and finally, transcend a world of binary options, whether they be gay/straight, male/female, minority/majority, or conformist/nonconformist. Not for nothing were trans folk of various stripes the literal spark that ignited the Stonewall flame. This exhibition thus focuses on art in which boundaries blur, forms mutate, the natural is denaturalized, and the transgressive and transcendent are linked. In the works on view in About Face, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, and race—far from being clear categories—hybridize and overlap to the point that “queer” becomes a verb, not a noun.
The Academic Body
American Acedemy in Rome
McKim, Mead & White Building, Via Angelo Masina, 5, Rome, Italy
May 22 – July 13 2019
Featured artists: Sanford Biggers (2018 Fellow), Patricia Cronin (2007 Fellow), Daniel Chester French, Stephen Greene (1954 Fellow), Ann Hamilton (2017 Resident), Lyle Ashton Harris (2001 Fellow), Tom Johnson/Adrienne Kennedy, Sally Mann, Paul Manship (1912 Fellow), Jessie Marino (2019 Fellow), Beverly McIver (2018 Fellow), Ana Mendieta (1984 Fellow), Wangechi Mutu (2019 Resident), Catherine Opie, Stefan Sagmeister (2019 Resident), David Schutter (2016 Fellow), SISSI (2007 Italian Fellow), Giuseppe Stampone (2014 Italian Fellow), Catherine Wagner (2014 Fellow), and Deborah Willis (2019 Resident).
Since the origins of representation, the human body has been a vehicle for a variety of approaches to artistic expression. As a way of imagining the divine, as a site of ideal beauty and ruminations on mortality, or as the contested ground between nature and culture, bodies—and representations of bodies—index culture’s ideas about itself and mark the locus for the questioning and contestation of the human form.
Recently, the body has reemerged as a work in progress, a canvas to be altered, conforming to changing canons of beauty or constantly evolving constructed gender roles. In this capacity, the body as a malleable form has once again taken center stage in cultural debate and artistic expression. As lightning rods for contemporary social issues—including the violence committed against the marginalized, the recognition of transgender individuals, and the replacement of workers by robotics, to name only a few examples—bodies have assumed unprecedented visibility in political discourse.
Mindful of these issues, this exhibition tracks the ways in which the body has been interrogated and transformed in contemporary art from 1894 to the present. As it has evolved from a stalwart of Academic artistic practice to a laboratory for cutting-edge dialogue between critical theory and creative endeavor, the American Academy in Rome (AAR) is uniquely qualified to host an exhibition tracking the changing representations of the body in art and society. In so doing, the institution reflects critically on its own trajectory and enduring relevance. The Academic Body features work by artists affiliated with the AAR (Fellows and Residents) whose work has explored the above themes in provocative ways, as well as artists whose trajectories have intersected meaningfully and critically with Italy and the Academic tradition.
The exhibition is curated by Mark Robbins, President and CEO of the American Academy in Rome, and Peter Benson Miller, Andrew Heiskell Arts Director. It is made possible by the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, the Roy Lichtenstein Artist in Residence Fund, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Eye to I: Self Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery
Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
8th and G Streets NW, Washington, DC
November 2 2018 - August 18 2019
Memorial To A Marriage
Drawing from a collection of over 500 self-portraits, Eye to I: Self-Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery features sixty works that explore how American artists have chosen to portray themselves since the beginning of the last century. Created in all media, from a brick sculpture to video art, they provide a background for today’s fascination with self-portraiture, and may inspire efforts to present ourselves to the world or to see others with empathy and understanding. As people are confronted each day with “selfies” through social media and as they continue to examine the fluidity of contemporary identity, this is an opportune time to reassess the significance of self-portraiture in relation to the country’s history and culture.
The exhibition includes self-portraits by Thomas Hart Benton, Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Jasper Johns, Deborah Kass, Elaine de Kooning, Jacob Lawrence, Ana Mendieta, Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson, Irving Penn, Robert Rauschenberg, Lucas Samaras, Fritz Scholder, Roger Shimomura, Edward Steichen and many more. Eye to I is curated by Brandon Brame Fortune, chief curator, at the Portrait Gallery. The tour will be accompanied by an expanded, fully-illustrated companion book that highlights more than 175 self-portraits from the collection in celebration of the National Portrait Gallery’s 50th anniversary.
Patricia Cronin, Aphrodite and the Lure of Antiquity: Conversations with the Collection
Tampa Museum of Art
120 Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL
August 16, 2018 - January 6, 2019
Patricia Cronin (American, b. 1963) is an internationally recognized Brooklyn-based artist uniquely suited to launch the Conversations with the Collection exhibition series. Winner of a Rome Prize in Visual Art in 2006-2007, and past Trustee of the American Academy in Rome, Cronin is deeply interested in the ancient world, which she frequently references in her work. For the first commission in this biennial series, Cronin has created Aphrodite Reimagined, a large outdoor sculpture of Aphrodite inspired by a fragmentary 1st-century AD marble torso of the goddess in the Museum’s collection. Cronin’s sculpture re-envisions the fragment as a monumental “complete” sculpture with a stone torso and translucent head, arms, and legs. Aphrodite Reimagined invites viewers to reconsider the narrative of an ancient artwork heavily restored after its rediscovery, and acts as a metaphor for shifting certainties about human history. On view inside the galleries are a smaller maquette version of Aphrodite Reimagined, together with the Tampa torso and an ancient head on loan from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Although not originally from the same sculpture, the head and torso were joined for many years, probably from soon after their discovery in the late eighteenth century until 1934, when an art dealer detached them from one another for separate sales. Also part of Cronin’s Aphrodite Reimagined series are a two-part cast glass sculpture, her first work in this medium, depicting the forms around an absent Aphrodite sculpture, and a new group of multi-layered paintings creating silhouetted ghosts of famous Aphrodite sculptures from museum collections all around the world.
Shrine For Girls, Dublin
The LAB Gallery
Foley Street, Dublin 1, Ireland
June 16 – August 20, 2017
Opening: June 16, 2017 (Bloomsday), 6-8pm
The LAB Gallery is pleased to present, Shrine For Girls, Dublin, the first solo exhibition in Ireland of New York artist Patricia Croinin. One of the critically acclaimed highlights of the 2015 Venice Biennale, this site-specific installation is a meditation on the global plight of exploited girls and women.
Moving from the sacred altars and architecture of Venice’s sixteenth-century Chiesa di San Gallo to the secular urban gallery context of The LAB, in the heart of Joyce's Nighttown and built in the shadow of the last Magdalene Laundry to close in Ireland in 1996, Cronin gathers hundreds of articles of women’s and girls’ clothing from around the world to represent three specific tragedies.
Brightly-colored saris symbolize two Indian cousins who were gang-raped and lynched in 2014; somber hijabs signify 276 Nigerian Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram in 2014 (109 of which are still missing); and pale aprons symbolize those worn by “fallen women” in forced labour at the Magdalene Asylums and Laundries in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States to act as relics of these young martyrs.
Picturing Women: Contemporary Artists Respond to Representations of Women in the Acton Collection
Villa La Pietra NYU Florence
Via Bolognese 120, Florence, Italy
June 26 2017– January 16, 2018
Using the Acton Collection as both a productive and discursive site, this exhibition examines the depiction of women with a transhistorical perspective, adding into the Villa’s collection contemporary responses by artists and poets in an effort to investigate, challenge and expand upon received art historical categories of iconography, patronage, material and function. Regarding Women in the Acton Collection is inaugurated as part of The Season, curated and produced by Ellyn Toscano. The Season was founded in 2005 by Toscano, the Villa's director, from her vision to set contemporary work in conversation with the Villa's expansive grounds and eclectic art collection. Since 2005, The Season has produced collaboration and exploration between international artists of varying mediums.
Curated by Eric Shiner
The Armory Show
Platform Section, Piers 92 & 94
March 1 - 5, 2017
Tack Room (exterior view), 1997-98, mixed media, 96”(h) x 116”(l) x 124”(w)
This March, The Armory Show will debut Platform, a new, curated exhibitor section that stages large- scale artworks, installations and site-specific commissions across Piers 92 & 94. The inaugural edition of Platform, entitled An Incident and curated by Eric Shiner, encompasses thirteen artworks by internationally acclaimed artists from a range of generational perspectives.
The Platform section is a realization of The Armory Show’s new vision to stage ambitious projects that activate and draw inspiration from the fair’s unique industrial venue in Midtown Manhattan. Situated across the fair’s 250,000 square feet of exhibition space, Platform offers an opportunity for galleries to showcase artworks that extend beyond the traditional booth context.
Participating artists include: Abel Barroso, Patricia Cronin, Douglas Coupland, Abigail DeVille, Sebastian Errazuriz, Dorian Gaudin, Jun Kaneko, Per Kirkeby, Yayoi Kusama, Iván Navarro, Evan Roth, Fiete Stolte, Lawrence Weiner and Ai Weiwei.
Shrine for Girls, New York
The Flag Art Foundation
545 W 25th Street, New York NY
June 9 – July 29, 2016
Cronin gathered hundreds of articles of women’s and girls’ clothing from around the world to represent three specific tragedies: brightly-colored saris symbolize two Indian girls who were kidnapped, gang-raped, and lynched from a tree at the edge of their village; hijabs signify 276 Nigerian Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram in 2014 – over 200 of whom still remain missing; and gray and white aprons & uniforms symbolize those worn by “fallen women,” in forced labor at the Magdalene Asylums and Laundries in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Europe, and the U.S.
Moving from the marble alters and sacred architecture of Venice’s sixteenth-century Chiesa di San Gallo to the secular gallery context of FLAG, Cronin will present the same three fabric sculptures, here piled on top of their shipping crates to now address human trafficking as well as human rights issues. The installation of clothing, of what the missing bodies would have inhabited, provokes an emotional and visceral response to what is absent. Small photographs of each tragedy accompany the sculptures and provide very real context for the work. A new series of watercolor portraits place a human face on tragedy and amplify the “identifiable victim effect,” drawing our attention away from statistics to the magnitude of the individual loss and unrealized human potential. Cronin asks: “What is the role of contemporary art in our 24-hour news cycle society? What can an artist do if they are not a politician, a policy maker or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation? Hopefully the artist looks out, keenly observes the world, reflects, and responds in a way that shakes us out of our numbness. We cannot be silent.”
Shrine for Girls, Venice
Curated by Ludovico Pratesi
Solo Collateral Event of the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
Chiesa Di San Gallo, Venice, Italy
May 6 – November 22, 2015
Although the United Nations passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, women and girls around the world continue to be among the most vulnerable members of our global society. Often facing violence, repression, and enforced ignorance, this young female populace is subjected to a horrifying existence on earth.
Inside the exquisite sixteenth-century Church of San Gallo, where Bill Viola showed in 2007, New York-based conceptual artist Patricia Cronin has created a shrine in their honor. For over two decades, critically acclaimed artist Patricia Cronin has created compelling works, many with social justice themes focusing on gender. Here, she has gathered hundreds of girls’ clothes from around the world and arranged them on three stone altars to act as relics of these young martyrs. Commemorating their spirit, this dramatic site-specific installation is a meditation on the incalculable loss of unrealized potential and hopelessness in the face of unfathomable human cruelty; juxtaposed against the obligation and mission we have as citizens of the world to combat this prejudice.
Come Together : Surviving Sandy
220 36th Street, Sunset Park, Brooklyn, ny
October 20 - December 15 2013
Death in the hands of an artist is almost paradoxical: while as a lived experience it is unknown and unwelcome, as the subject of art it can become a site of wonder, imagination, and inquiry. In other words: death can be generative. In the sense that it inspires the desire to make art, death is creative; in the sense that it elicits response, death is productive. Refuting the very idea that death need be an end, art—with its ability to facilitate any and every mode of interpretation—creates a space for infinite inspiration. Patricia Cronin’s practice may be gleefully un-tethered and diverse in terms of formal similarities but each of her works shares in the incorporation of themes of death.
“Le Macchine, Gli Dei e I Fantasmi”
(Machines, Gods and Ghosts)
Curated by Ludovico Pratesi
Musei Capitolini, Centrale Montemartini Museo
October 9 - November 20 2013
Musei Capitolini, Centrale Montemartini Museo is pleased to announce Le Macchine, Gli Dei e I Fantasmi an exhibition of 6 new works by Rome Prize awarded artist Patricia Cronin, the first contemporary artist to be exhibited in the converted electrical power plant. Cronin’s new body of work, created specifically for the unique industrial space, features monumental ghost images inspired by her recent series rediscovering the life and career of the famous American sculptor, Harriet Hosmer and the classical statues, masterpieces from the Capitolini Musei collection, which are permanently on view at the Museum. Interspersed amongst the marble sculptures and industrial archeology, the fantasmi, printed on large-scale translucent silk panels, inject life into the vast Engine Hall, seemingly breathing and pulsing with each passing draft. At once present and absent, the veils offer physical, albeit ephemeral, presence to what is void, reminding us of the fickle, unstable, and fleeting nature of life and history.
NYC 1993: Experimental, Jet Set, Trash and No Star
New Museum, New York, NY
February 13 - May 26, 2013
“Girls” and “Boys” were first exhibited in “Coming to Power: 25 Years of Sexually X-plicit Art by Women,” an exhibition co-curated by Cronin and fellow artist Ellen Cantor at David Zwirner in 1993. Cronin and Cantor were interested in images that expressed a fuller idea of female sexuality than those dominating culture and society at the time, which mainly consisted of objectified images of women and were often produced by men. The work presented in “Coming to Power” included painting, sculpture, photography, and performance by women of different generations, ethnicities, and sexual orientation, tracing a history of potent sexual art by women for women.
“Girls” and “Boys” capture the sexual act from the perspective of the participants, a point of view from within the erotic space rather than from an objective place of observation. Cronin’s Polaroids incorporate transgressive elements such as bondage props as well as images of cultural and political figures such as Madonna and George H. W. Bush. Cronin had also been making erotic watercolors at the time that depicted the artist and her partner, in extreme close-up and larger-than-life scale, in a range of intimate acts, both tender and highly sexual. In contradiction to much of the lesbian pornography in circulation (made by straight men for straight men), Cronin’s images give agency to the sexualized female as cultural and visual producer, speaking to larger questions regarding queer, lesbian, or feminist positions within society.
Dante: The Way Of All Flesh
Ford Projects, New York, NY
November 8 - December 21, 2012
Dante: The Way Of All Flesh is a meditation on the human condition, using Dante Alighieri’s Inferno as a point of departure. Comprised of oil paintings and watercolors, Cronin continues Dante’s exploration of justice and revenge using her own expressive language. This new cycle of figurative works are representative of the artist’s response to our current global circumstances. By focusing on the human form, Cronin reinforces the concept of our shared humanity, albeit from the perspective of a disillusioned present.
The painterly figures that Cronin creates take their visual cues from over seven centuries of artistic interpretations, beginning with 14th century illuminated manuscripts up to Italian fashion magazines, in addition to tracings of the artist’s own body and her archive of personal photographs taken throughout Italy. With a deft understanding of her materials, Cronin allows the figures to take shape in natural states and creates surfaces with both bold and meticulous strokes. With an intense palette of reds, oranges, cool blues and purples, the artist depicts the dead and the hell of their own design.
Memorial to a Marriage
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Scotland
Memorial To A Marriage, Bronze, 2/3rds scale
on permanent view at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Scotland.
Patricia Cronin : All Is Not Lost
Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
April 25 - June 30 2012
Patricia Cronin’s work traffics in love and death, and in the intimate relations between these two structuring poles of human existence. The exhibition All is Not Lost brings together the two projects that best exemplify these concerns: her funerary sculpture Memorial to a Marriage from 2000-02 and a group of more than sixty watercolors based on the work of Harriet Hosmer (1830-1908), an American sculptor who lived most of her adult life as an expatriate in Europe.
Memorial to a Marriage is a funerary sculpture carved in white Carrara marble that depicts two female figures, intertwined in a sleeping embrace. The figures are nude, their breasts exposed, their hair sexily splayed across the pillows. A sheet drapes across the lower part of their bodies, leaving their feet exposed, and in a particularly poignant detail – a punctum if you will – their feet delicately touch. It is the detail that emblematizes the love, here imaged as eternal. Indeed, the original sculpture is installed at the New York City’s Woodlawn Cemetery awaiting the passing of the artist and her spouse, Deborah Kass.
For the Hosmer series, Cronin meticulously researched the nineteenth century sculptor’s life and made small delicate grisaille watercolor renderings of all of her known works. Accompanying these drawings are traditional catalogue entries written by Cronin that properly enumerate the provenance of each work, account for their multiple iterations, and their exhibition histories. Each entry contains a description of the work, along with an explication of its iconography and a restrained version of interpretation. For works whose locations are unknown, Cronin made abstract drawings, glowing white forms that suggest a vague shadow of what the original shape might have been.
Both projects show Cronin’s interest in neoclassicism, allowing her to tap into the centuries-long aesthetic pursuit of the ideal – a pursuit, it is worth noting, that holds almost no contemporary interest. The legacy of the movements for social justice that dominated the second half of the twentieth century sought to supplant the ideal with the specific. But the time travel of history continues: the groundskeepers at Woodlawn will tend to Memorial to a Marriage and some, as yet, unborn curator will inherit the task of caring for the sixty-odd watercolors that comprise the Harriet Hosmer project, guaranteeing that the work of the two women, separated by centuries, but who nonetheless shared a love of the ideal, can survive the transient pleasures of the everyday.
Adapted from an essay by Helen Molesworth appearing in Patricia Cronin: All is Not Lost (2012)
Harriet Hosmer: Lost and Found
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn NY
June 5, 2009 - January 24, 2010
In this solo exhibition in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn-based artist Patricia Cronin presents watercolors illustrating the work of the nineteenth-century American expatriate sculptor Harriet Hosmer.
Hosmer defied expected roles for female artists of her day and yet achieved an uncommon level of success. However, today she is remembered only by a relatively small group of specialists. Inspired by the dearth of thorough scholarship on Hosmer, Cronin has compiled the definitive Hosmer catalogue raisonné (the publication that comprehensively lists an artist’s complete works). In the book, each of Hosmer’s works is represented by a watercolor painted by Cronin. A selection of these watercolors comprises the exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum.
Hosmer’s neoclassical works depict such historical, mythological, and literary figures as Zenobia, Medusa, and Puck. Cronin’s watercolors capture Hosmer’s noble and playful subjects, as well as the luminosity of the marble carvings. In her research, Cronin has found written references to a handful of Hosmer sculptures that do not appear to have ever been photographed. To represent these pieces, Cronin has made watercolors of what she calls “ghosts”—vague, formless, and ethereal images of sculptures that exist undocumented somewhere in the world, but are lost to art history.
Patricia Cronin : Memorial to a Marriage Bronze
The Fields Sculpture Park Annual Summer Exhibition
Art Omi International Arts Center, Ghent, NY
Photograph by Ross Willows