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Women of Abstraction

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday November 11, 2021

 

Through January 10, 2022: Etel Adnan | Light’s New Measure, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The poet, novelist, journalist, and artist Etel Adnan grew up speaking Arabic and Greek at home, and was educated in French and English.  She began to paint in the late 1950s, while working as a professor of philosophy in Northern California. It was a period when, in protest of France’s colonial rule in Algeria, she renounced writing in French and declared that she would begin “painting in Arabic”—making luminous abstractions of the view of Mt. Tamalpais from her home in Sausalito, Ca. 

While Adnan’s writings have been unflinching in their critique of war and social injustice, her visual art is an intensely personal distillation of her faith in the human spirit and the beauty of the natural world. She has stated, “It seems to me I write what I see, paint what I am.” Adnan creates her paintings decisively and intuitively.  Despite their modest scale and formal economy, her paintings and drawings are potent visualizations of the sensations of memory and momentary perception that shape our inner lives. 

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY Info Tickets

 

Through January 9, 2022: Rosemary Mayer | Ways of Attaching

Swiss Institute, 38 St Marks Place, New York Info

The first institutional survey exhibition of American artist Rosemary Mayer (1943-2014) provides an overview of the artist’s work, moving from early conceptual experiments of the late 1960s through to textile sculptures and drawings made in the early 1970s, before focusing on propositional and durational performances and temporary monuments made from 1977-1982. Highlighting Mayer’s formal interest in draping, knotting and tethering, the exhibition focuses on the artist’s process of constructing real and imagined networks and constellations, in which friends and historical figures feature in expressions of affinity and attachment.

 

Through March 2022: Labyrinth of Forms | Women and Abstraction, 1930-1950
Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street, New York Info
During the 1930s and 1940s, abstraction began to gain momentum as an exciting, fresh approach to modern artmaking in the United States, and a small contingent of American artists dedicated themselves to it. Labyrinth of Forms, a title inspired by an Alice Trumbull Mason work in the exhibition, alludes to the sense of discovery that drove these artists to establish a visual language reflecting the advances of the twentieth century. Below: Alice Trumbull Mason, Labyrinth of Forms, 1945

Buoyed by modernist art courses and new venues for viewing European avant-garde art, they forged a network of overlapping communities, organizations, and creative spaces—including the American Abstract Artists and the Atelier 17 print studio—that allowed them to support one another, exchange ideas, and exhibit their work. Women were key figures in such groups, often taking on leadership roles. They also wrote and lectured on abstraction and advanced methods of making, particularly in print media.

 

Through November 20: Anna Kunz | With Rays

Alexander Berggruen, 1018 Madison Ave Floor 3, New York Info By appointment. Info
In Anna Kunz’s paintings, tessellating, seeping bodies of color mingle and levitate, resulting in lifted, sometimes dissonant, harmonies, often landing in surprising resolutions.

 

Through November 20: Adrienne Rubenstein
Broadway Gallery, 373 Broadway,  New York Info

 

Through December 4: Lynda Benglis | Pleated Work
Mnuchin Gallery, 45 East 78th Street, New York Info

 

Through December 4: Deborah Zlotsky | Gemini
Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, 529 W 20th Street Suite, New York Info 
Gemini, a solo exhibition of new abstract paintings and drawing by Deborah Zlotsky  is inspired by early Renaissance, Surrealist, and Pop traditions as well as the body and aging.

 

Through December 11: Trudy Benson | Waves 
Miles McErny Gallery, 525 West 22nd Street, New York Info
and
Sunny NY, 155 East 2nd Street, New York Info

 

Through December 18Olga de Amaral | The Elements
Lisson Gallery | 508 West 24th Street | New York  Info
Best known as a textile artist, this exhibition positions Olga de Amaral as a vital force in sculpture, installation art and indeed in painting, albeit using her foundational materials of fiber, thread, wool, gesso and metallic leaf.

 

Through December 18: Hilma af Klint | Tree of Knowledge
David Zwirner, 34 East 69th Street, New York Info

 

Through December 18: Caitlin Lonegan | Interiors
Vito Schnabel Gallery, 43 Clarkson Street, New York Info

  

Through December 23: Erna Rosenstein | Once Upon a Time
Hauser & Wirth, 32 East 69th Street, NY, NY Info 

The first monographic exhibition outside of Poland devoted to the artist whose wartime survival, commitment to Surrealism, and lifelong adherence to leftist ideologies course through an array of paintings, drawings, and sculptures.

 

Through December 23: Tomie Ohtake | Visible Presence
Nara Roesler New York, 511 West 21st Street, New York Info 
A solo exhibition by artist Tomie Ohtake (b. 1913, in Kyoto, Japan-d. 2015, in São Paulo, Brazil), curated by Luis Pérez-Oramas.

 

Through December 23: Dorothea Rockburne | Giotto's Angels & Knots
David Nolan Gallery, 24 East 81st Street, New York  Info

 

Through January 8, 2022: Helen Pashgian
Lehmann Maupin, 501 W 24th Street, New York Info

 

Through January 22: Pat Passof | Memories of 10th Street, 1848-63
Eric Firestone Gallerty, 40 Great Jones Street, New York Info

 

Related reading: Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art  Info
In her New York Times review, Jennifer Szalai wrote: There’s so much material roiling in “Ninth Street Women,” from exalted art criticism to the seamiest, most delicious gossip, that it’s hard to convey even a sliver of its surprises. “The stories told in this book might be a reminder that where there is art there is hope,” Gabriel writes in her introduction, but that wan, anodyne sentiment doesn’t do justice to the gorgeous and unsettling narrative that follows; it’s as if once Gabriel got started, the canvas before her opened up new vistas. We should be grateful she yielded to its possibilities. As Helen Frankenthaler once said, “Let the picture lead you where it must go.” Above: Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, and Grace Hartigan in 1957. Photograph by Burt Glinn / Magnum

 

 

 

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