Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to present My Elvis +, an exhibition of paintings by Deborah Kass from her historic series, “My Elvis” created in the early 1990’s. Gathered for the first time in the artist's career and presented to a new generation of viewers, the exhibition will showcase this historic series with the first and last self-portraits from her historic "Warhol Project": "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" (1994), “Camouflage self-portrait” (1994/1997), "Altered Image #2" and "Red Deb" (2000) at the gallery’s 515 West 27th Street location January 24 – February 23rd, 2013.
During November 1992 - January 1993 Deborah Kass presented “My Elvis” along with “The Jewish Jackie Series” at fiction/nonfiction gallery in Soho. Featuring Barbra Streisand at her most glamorous and simultaneously in her trouser role for the movie “Yentl”, the response was immediate and intense. No artist had yet appropriated Warhol so directly. Painting was not seen as a viable arena in which to discuss overtly political issues. The work was seen as “too Jewish.” Certainly no other artist had dug so deeply into popular culture and come up theorizing Barbra Streisand by declaring her semiotic radicality.
In the following 20 years, artistic and intellectual communities have enthusiastically embraced the ideas of “the cultural politics of difference;” “the fluidity of identity;” “gender, race, class, ethnicity;” “the deconstruction of power;” “history and the self;” and “seduction and subversion;” which were once so new and polarizing. Now these ideas that are at the core of Kass’s life’s work, are the very basis for a younger generation’s understanding of the world.
Deborah Kass’s prescient art truly crosses and erases boundaries as it confounds simple notions of identity by asking not “What are you?” but more importantly “Who are you?”
Much has been written about Kass’s oeuvre by scholars, queer theorists, feminists, art historians, critics, political junkies, and pop culture aficionados ever since the premier of this work in 1992. Most recently in the monograph “Deborah Kass: Before and Happily Ever After,” published by Rizzoli to accompany her recent retrospective at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh curated by Eric Shiner, thinkers as diverse as Robert Storr, Griselda Pollock and Irving Sandler, Brooks Adams and Lisa Liebmann and John Waters weigh in. Recent press for Deborah Kass’s Warhol Museum exhibition include profiles in The New York Times’ Sunday Arts & Leisure section, The Huffington Post, ARTnews and Art in America, available online at paulkasmingallery.com.
Deborah Kass received her BFA in Painting at Carnegie Mellon University and studied at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. Her work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Jewish Museum, The Museum of Fine Art, Boston, and the Harvard Art Museums/ Fogg Museum as well as numerous public and private collections. Kass’s work was recently included in Hide/ Seek: Desire Difference and the Invention of the Modern American Portrait at The National Portrait Gallery (2010); The Deconstructive Impulse at The Neuberger Museum (2011); Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories at The National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Museum (2011). Paul Kasmin Gallery presented two solo exhibitions feel good paintings for feel bad times (2007) and MORE feel good paintings for feel bad times (2010). Kass was prominently featured in Regarding Warhol at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Fall 2012. Kass is a Senior Critic in the Yale University M.F.A. Painting Program, and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
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