Art News: Sarah Lucas ‘Penetralia’ Exhibit and Andy Warhol Time Capsules to Be Preserved

13 Nov


Gladstone Gallery announces an exhibition by British artist Sarah Lucas. Since the 1990s, Lucas has been developing a unique material vocabulary using everyday domestic items such as stockings, clothing hangers, lightbulbs, and beer cans to create objects that challenge our collectively inscribed codes of gender, sexual, and social normativity. Using male genitalia as her muse, Lucas captures the tension between the representational and the abstract, while retaining the insistent and underlying anxiety imbued in her particular mode of the abject.

Previous works: Prayer in the Square 2005

In this exhibition of new and older works, Lucas continues to explore the themes and ideas at play within her 2008 series of the same title, “Penetralia.” Employing similar strategies of production, such as cast concrete, plaster, and fiberglass, these works engage the figure of the phallus with an intense formal clarity and wit. While the symbolic power of the phallus allows Lucas to play with an overt level of content and signification, she also, as demonstrated throughout her career, is equally attentive to the basic conditions of the sculptural object implied in its composition, weight, balance, and materiality. These aesthetic details animate Lucas’ otherwise brute erections, rendering their contours, surface, and structure into an elegant and formal investigation of the phallus.

Throughout her work, Lucas has both explicitly and suggestively conjured the image of penises as both controversial cultural icons as well as banal human body parts, remarking upon the male organ as the ideal stand-alone sculpture. In drawing parallels between the physicality of both the sculptural object and the male organ, Lucas slyly alludes to a shared history of power and preferences; verticality over horizonality, exterior versus interior, convex versus concave, visibility opposed to invisibility. Linguistic tropes and puns have consistently informed Lucas’ multivalent, and at times evasive, layering of meaning, perfectly exemplified in the title “Penetralia,” essentially defined as, “The innermost, the most private or secret parts.” This title cleverly conflates its two inter-related terms, the penetrated (the “innermost”) and the penetrator (the phallic object), by enacting a slippage in meaning between text and object.

Born in Holloway, London in 1962, Lucas has been the subject of numerous major solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally including: Museum of Cycladic Arts, Athens; Kunsthalle, Zurich; Milton Keynes Gallery, London; Tate Modern, London and group exhibitions including: New Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary of Art, Los Angeles; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; and P.S.1. MoMA, New York. Lucas currently lives and works in the U.K.

The exhibition open November 18 and runs through December 23, 2010.


Motorcycle jacket designed by Dan Colen

In tribute to the Pop star’s distinctive look, the Italian fashion brand Sisley teamed up with 17 “pop artists of the contemporary art scene” to present 18 one-of-a-kind motorcycle jackets, which were auctioned off at Christie’s New York earlier this week, hauling in over $20,000 to benefit the Andy Warhol Museum. Read whole article: artinfo

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