Lisa Yuskavage

New Paintings

David Zwirner
533 West 19th Street
New York
Chelsea
Sep 9th 2021 — Oct 23rd 2021

Find out more

Lisa Yuskavage rose to fame in the 1990s for dreamily stylized, provocatively sensual paintings of young women in various states of undress. Her settings, suffused with fairytale-like ethereality, tend to be ambiguous in time and location, but in her latest solo show at David Zwirner the main four large-scale canvases present scenes that decidedly take place inside artists’ studios. Further clues—like wiring and cameras as well as allusions to Yuskavage’s past series—divulge, at the very least, a ballpark date range.

Yuskavage rendered each of these paintings with a different, dominant hue: Yellow Studio (2021) emits a sunny glow; Master Class (2021) is bathed in emerald green; Pink Studio (Rendezvous) (2021) materializes through shades of strawberry; Night Classes at the Department of Painting Drawing and Sculpture (2018–2020) [pictured] radiates scarlet. Occupants range, respectively, from a solitary woman, to a duo apparently in the midst of collaborating, to post-coital lovers, to a cozy student-teaching gathering. All of these, albeit Night Classes… and Pink Studio most directly, take up the lineage of Henri Matisse’s famed The Red Studio and its lesser-known companion, The Pink Studio, both completed in 1911.

Separately, a group of smaller works in the exhibition entails a number of preparatory studies for the artist studio-centric series. Bonfire Tondo (2021), for instance, portrays the same roaring fire that appears in Master Class, as the subject matter of the painting on which the pair of artists is focused.

Then, a final large-scale painting appears, at first glance, to be isolated thematically. Scissor Sisters (2020), as it’s called, depicts three women, all naked save for skimpy, hip-clinging garments, standing tall together in a field as they wield various weapons—two hold daggers and the third brandishes a gun pointed dead straight at the viewer. At second glance, one of the smaller pieces looks to echo the sentiments expressed through Scissor Sisters rather concisely: the face of a very young woman, perhaps a teenager, almost blends into the backdrop, while in the foreground her two hands bob up, both extending pink-manicured middle fingers upright. Its title is, appropriately, The Fuck You Painting (2020). —Rachel Small

Lisa Yuskavage, Night Classes at the Department of Painting Drawing and Sculpture, 2018-2020. © Lisa Yuskavage. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner

  • Through
    Jun 6th

    A traveling exhibition of 69 oil paintings, watercolors and works on paper aims to chart Milton Avery’s trajectory and contextualize his work for a new generation.

  • Through
    May 29th

    Inspired by fractals, Renee Cox’s deity-like collages of Black figures constitute an Afrofuturist creation myth.

  • Through
    Jun 6th

    An economical survey of Jonas Mekas, “The Camera Was Always Running” serves as a touching introduction to the Lithuanian filmmaker and champion of avant-garde cinema.

  • Through
    May 28th

    The work in Valentina Vaccarella’s “Bless this Life” rests on a simple irony: monogrammed, embroidered French bridal linens pulled taut across stretcher bars and besmirched by rough images of modern madams.

  • Through
    Jun 6th

    Daniel Lie’s “Unnamed Entities” at the New Museum challenges the antiseptic aim of curation and conservation by imagining a different kind of organic art that needs to be nurtured rather than preserved.

  • Ongoing

    Dia’s recent acquisition of works by Charles Gaines forms the basis of this survey, which includes the artist’s first forays into mathematics-based grid drawings and other early experiments in medium and form.

  • Ongoing

    Day’s End, an elegiac memorial to and stubborn ghost of eras bygone, will also serve as silent witness to the inevitable changes to come.

  • Through
    Jan 2nd 2023

    The sonic encounters provoked by Camille Norment’s elaborate acoustic artworks serve as agents for social consciousness.

  • Through
    May 28th

    The words masterful and mastery assert themselves the instant one encounters the works in “My Body,” both for Nancy Grossman’s command of a wide range of skills and her active state of dominance, identity and selfhood.