Maria Lassnig at MOMA PS1

Maria Lassnig’s recent retrospective at MOMA PS1 was one of the most beautifully honest and strangely grotesque showings of work I have seen in some time. I saw the exhibition in July during a trip to NY and I can still feel the work.


Maria Lassnig Kopf (Head) Oil on Fiberboard, 1956

Maria worked in relative obscurity and became known to a larger audience later in her life. She died just recently in May in Vienna at the age of 94. The work in the exhibition is marked by a distinct palette and a muscular, expressive, raw and often off putting energy. The exhibition and much of Maria’s studio practice was devoted to the self-portrait. The impulse behind her works came from what she described as “body awareness”, a surrealist take on painting guided by one’s mental perception of oneself . Laceratingly honest, and self-reflective in ways that would make one blanch, these works positively vibrate.

For more information regarding Maria and her work check out the MOMA PS1 website and the website of Hauser & Wirth. There’s also an overview of her career in her New York Times Obituary written by Randy Kennedy.


Maria Lassnig Selbstporträt/Abstrakter Kopf (Self-Portrait/Abstract Head) Oil on Canvas, 1956


Maria Lassnig Kopfheit (Headness) Oil on Fiberboard, 1956- 57


Maria Lassnig Zwei Formen übereinander/Schwarze Flächenteilung (Two Forms Superimposed/Black Surface Distribution)                  

Oil on Jute, 1952


Maria Lassnig Ungeteilte Form (Undivided Form) Oil on Jute, 1952 – 53


Maria Lassnig, Both works:  Ohne Titel (Untitled) Oil on Canvas, 1960


Ohne Titel (Detail)


Maria Lassnig Left: Woman Laokoon (Woman Laocoön) Oil on Canvas, 1976

Right: Dreifaches Selbstporträt (New Self) Oil, Charcoal on Canvas, 1970 – 72


Woman Laokoon (Detail)


Dreifaches Selbstporträt (New Self) Oil, Charcoal on Canvas, 1970 – 72


Dreifaches Selbstporträt (Detail)


Dreifaches Selbstporträt (Detail)


Maria Lassnig Selbstporträt unter Plastik (Self-Portrait Under Plastic) Oil on Canvas, 1972


Maria Lassnig Selbstporträt hit Maulkorb (Self-Portrait with Muzzle) Oil on Canvas, 1973


Maria Lassnig Left: Das Innere nacho auBen (Inside Out) Oil on Canvas, 1992

Right: Selbstporträt hit Nervenlinien (Self-Portrait with Nervous Lines) Oil on Canvas, 1996


Das Innere nacho auBen (Detail)


Das Innere nacho auBen (Detail)


Maria Lassnig Ohne Titel (Untitled) Oil on Canvas, 2002


Ohne Titel (Detail)


Maria Lassnig Ich trage die Verantwortung (I Bear Responsibility) Oil on Canvas, 1981


Ich trage die Verantwortung (Detail)


Maria Lassnig Dame hit Hirn (Lady with Brain) Oil on Canvas, Undated


Dame hit Hirn (Detail)


Maria Lassnig Eiserne Jungfrau und fleischige Jungfrau (Iron Virgin and Fleshy Virgin) Oil on Canvas, 2004


Eiserne Jungfrau und fleischige Jungfrau (Detail)

Joyce Robins: Paint & Clay at THEODORE:Art


There is something other worldly, yet strangely familiar about the works of Joyce Robins that were recently on view at THEODORE:Art in Brooklyn. In talking about the work, I’m referring to the pieces of ceramic and not the few, but equally terrific works on canvas that were also on view. It is the tangible, delicate muscularity of the the clay works that sets them apart from the paintings. These “paintings on ceramic” put me under Robins’ spell.


Facing: Joyce Robins, Big View, 1974, Oil on canvas, 50″ x 70″

I’m not often drawn to works of pottery, but these pieces have a pull. They draw you closer. Exquisitely crafted, modern, biomorphic, light yet, solid. Delicate, fleeting and fragile, but strong and immortal in the way one wishes everything of beauty could be. These are not fleeting objects. They are for the ages. The photos that I took of the works do not do them justice. Please take some time to check out more of Joyce Robins’ work on the THEODORE:Art website and Joyce’s website as well. There’s also a great interview with Joyce in the Brooklyn Rail. These photos just scratch the surface of Joyce’s marvelous work.


Joyce Robins, Gray Rectangle, 2014, Clay, Glaze, Paint, 11.5″ x 7.5″


Joyce Robins, Blue Rectangle, 2002, Clay, Glaze, Paint, 9.75″ x 12″


Joyce Robins various works from L to R


Joyce Robins, Maroon Circle, 2000, Clay, Glaze, Paint, 15.5″ diameter


Joyce Robins


Joyce Robins (detail)

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