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Kavi Gupta is pleased to participate in Art Basel’s OVR: Pioneers—an online experience dedicated to artists who have broken new ground in terms of their aesthetics, conceptual approach, socio-political themes, or their use of specific media—with Deborah Kass: The Warhol Project. Kass’ Warhol Project cemented her as one of the most crucial voices for Feminist art in the 1990s. Adroitly recreating Warhol's signature style, Kass leveraged the cultural clout of the existing canon to challenge systems of power.
Beginning in 1992, Kass' expansive Warhol Project marked a landmark achievement for Post Modern Feminist art. Advances in Feminist painting during the 1960s and 1970s had been disrupted, in part by the masculine bravado of the Reagan era. Feminist artists pivoted towards mediums such as photography, printmaking, graphic design, and new media, with artists like Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger, and Jenny Holzer pushing boundaries. Wishing to use the new language of subjectivity developed throughout the 1980s to rekindle the potential for Feminist painting, Kass began appropriating recognizable styles from the contemporary canon, cleverly injecting it with her own narrative. Andy Warhol was a natural fit for the gesture, himself having appropriated photography for his signature screenprinted paintings. Kass carefully studied his techniques in order to emulate his style with incredible precision, deftly interjecting her own subject matter.
This presentation features multiple bodies of work from the Warhol Project at large, starting with Kass’s iconic images of Barbra Streisand in Yentl (emulating Warhol’s images of Elvis). Other pieces on view feature writer Gertrude Stein (emulating Warhol’s images of Robert Rauschenberg) and choreographer Elizabeth Streb (emulating Warhol’s images of Merce Cunningham). Additionally, a selection of works from the Most Wanted series positions curators of the art world in place of Warhol’s police mugshots of criminals.
This insightful cross section of Kass’ larger Warhol Project brings to light the ambitious and forward thinking goals of Kass’ practice, and illustrates the urgent relevance of work that examines and challenges the status quo.
ABOUT DEBORAH KASS
Deborah Kass is an American artist whose work explores the intersection of pop culture, art history, and the construction of self. Work by Kass is in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of Art, The Solomon Guggenheim Museum, The Jewish Museum, The Museum of Fine Art, Boston, The Cincinnati Museum, The New Orleans Museum, The National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute, and Harvard Art Museums / Fogg Museum, as well as other museums and private collections. Kass’ work has been shown nationally and internationally, including at the Venice Biennale, the Istanbul Biennale, and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne. The Andy Warhol Museum presented Deborah Kass, Before and Happily Ever After, Mid-Career Retrospective in 2012, with a catalogue published by Rizzoli. In 2018, Kass was inducted into The National Academy. In 2014, she was inducted into the New York Foundation for the Arts Hall of Fame. She was honored with the Passionate Artist Award by the Neuberger Museum in 2016 and was the Cultural Honoree at the Jewish Museum in 2017. She serves on the boards of the Sharpe Walentas Studio Program and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.