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Fiction, Truth, and More (Online Only)

February 11, 2021 – March 17, 2021

Featuring works by Barbara Broughel, Bruce Nauman, Liliana Porter, Laurie Simmons, and Lorna Simpson

Works In Exhibition

Dialogue (with Bottle Opener)

Liliana Porter Dialogue (with Bottle Opener) 1995 Silver gelatin prints in three parts

Edition of 5
Overall size: 11 x 25 3/8 inches (27.9 x 64.5 cm)
Image/paper size: 11 x 8 1/2 inches each (27.9 x 21.6 cm each)
Signed, titled, dated, and numbered on reverse on sheet III
(Inventory #31863)

“My pieces depict a cast of characters that are inanimate objects, toys and figurines that I find in flea markets, antique stores, and other odd places. The objects have a double existence. On the one hand they are mere appearance, insubstantial ornaments, but, at the same time, have a gaze that can be animated by the viewer, who, through it, can project the inclination to endow things with an interiority and identity. These “theatrical vignettes” are constructed as visual comments that speak of the human condition. I am interested in the simultaneity of humor and distress, banality and the possibility of meaning.” (Liliana Porter)

Porter’s photos can be read as innocent, yet Porter engages the exaggerated facial features and subtle gestures of toys to create open-ended dialogues. Empty expressions become deeply meaningful engagement when in conversation with others. As Jessica Berlanga Taylor has written, “Liliana Porter’s work exists at a remove from the anxious imagination of much postmodern art, offering hope imbued through objects, photographs, paintings, drawings, installations, graphics and videos. Despite the irony and drama in her productions, the characters in her work appeal directly to a range of emotions and states of mind – love, sadness, fear, anger, elation, humour, contemplativeness, vulnerability and fragility… Using objects collected since the late 1960s – porcelain figurines, plastic soldiers, rubber ducks, watches, candles, dolls and such like – Porter creates sensitive landscapes that suggest appealing questions: what is real and what is virtual? What if everything is a representation of something else? What happens in the space between reality and representation?”

Liliana Porter (b. Argentina, 1941, resides in New York since 1964) works across mediums with printmaking, painting, drawing, photography, video, installation, theater, and public art. Porter began showing her work in 1959 and has since been in over 450 exhibitions in 40 countries. Recent solo shows include those at El Museo de Barrio in New York City; The Perez Art Museum in Miami; ART OMI in Ghent, NY; Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA; El Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales in Montevideo; Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes Franklin Rawson in San Juan, Argentina; and Museo de Arte de Zapopan in Guadalajara, Mexico. Porter’s work was featured in the traveling exhibition Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960 – 1985 at the Brooklyn Museum, NY and the Hammer in Los Angeles, CA. In 2017 Porter’s work was included in Viva Arte Viva, La Biennale di Venezia, 57th International Art Exhibition in Italy. Additionally Porter’s work has been exhibited at El Museo Tamayo, México DF; the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Museo de Arte Latinoamericano, Buenos Aires, Argentina; and in New York at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the New Museum. The artist’s works are held in the following public collections (among others): Tate Modern, London; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Buenos Aires; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Museo de Bellas Artes de Santiago; Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Guggenheim Museum of Art, NY; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University; Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogota, Museum of Fine Art, Houston; Museum of Modern Art, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; and the Daros Latinamerica Collection Zürich.

“Sometimes I create dialogues among the figures, theatrical situations. The characters act as recipients of our subjectivity. They seem not to understand, they are in a lonely space, and in a state of perplexity.
The subjects presented in these photographs are
the nature of representation itself
the displacement of context constructing new meanings
the overlapping of times and origins
the hybridization of categories
the role of the viewer”
(Liliana Porter)

Broken Bubbles

Barbara Broughel Broken Bubbles 2012 Six poplar panels (18 x 18 inches each) with oil paint

Panel size:  18 x 18 x 1 inches each  (45.7 x 45.7 x 2.5 cm each)
Overall size:  57 x 37 1/2 x 1 inches  ( 144.8 x 95.3 x 2.5 cm)
Signed, titled and dated on reverse on each panel
(Inventory #25603)

“Abstraction pushed the use of the perspectival grid beyond its primary function (to allow the rendering of objects in perspective without distortion) and inadvertently made “compositions” from the individual squares within the grid.” (Barbara Broughel)

Broughel’s “Broken Bubbles” examines the history of abstraction in one of its possible birthplaces (circa 1700’ Northern Europe) through the depiction, not only of a period-related subject – bubbles – but of the process and materials of rendering (Broughel used pigments and wood that would have been used at that time). What is unconventional, or even radical for the period is the composition and the way it fractures the realism of the image through leaving the grid visible (thus it references the tool which allows for that realism).

Untitled (Living Room/Bathroom II – LS # A22)

Laurie Simmons Untitled (Living Room/Bathroom II – LS # A22) 1976 Gelatin silver print on fiber paper

Edition of 10
Image size: 5 1/4 x 8 1/8 inches (13.3 x 20.6 cm)
Paper size: 8 x 10 inches (20.3 x 25.4 cm)
Signed, titled, dated, and numbered on reverse
(Inventory #31806)

Laurie Simmons’ “Untitled (Living Room/Bathroom II)” is part of a seminal body of work, “In and Around the House,” that put Simmons at the forefront of a new generation of artists, predominantly women, whose photographic works began a different dialogue in contemporary art.

The use of set-up photography combined with the notion of child play (the images were shot in the rooms of and in front of the facades of disassembled dollhouses) enabled Simmons to control perception and make reference to both general stereotypes and her own personal memories. As she arranged and rearranged the small vignettes, consisting of female dolls, dollhouse furnishings, miniature props and postcards, she was, in her own words, “… looking for the way your memory white-washes the image when you think about something from the past – making it far more perfect.”

Simmons, while sharing strategies with the artists known as the “Pictures Generation” (Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, Louise Lawler and Sarah Charlesworth, among others), forged her own identity more closely aligned with surrealism and artists such as Man Ray, Rodchenko, and Bellmer. Simmons’ use and manipulation of dolls and interiors, marked by intentional dislocations and unexpected conjunctions, created nonlinear narratives and abstract pictorial planes that echoes the skewed images of personal memory and dreams. Her subjects, which swell with a faux-tone of a simple, safe and secure home life, feel as relevant today as when Simmons first shot them.

Laurie Simmons has exhibited widely in the United States and Europe with recent solo exhibitions at the MCA in Chicago, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and the Jewish Museum in New York Her work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC; the Hara Museum in Tokyo; and the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art in Amsterdam, among many others.

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Lorna Simpson Untitled 1993 Photogravure with screenprint and hand additions in watercolor

Edition of 53, 10 AP
Left image/plate size: 28 7/8 x 21 9/16 inches (73.3 x 54.8 cm)
Right image/plate size: 28 7/8 x 16 inches (73.3 x 40.6 cm)
Overall image/plate size: 28 7/8 x 39 3/4 inches (73.3 x 101 cm)
Paper size: 35 1/2 x 45 1/2 inches (90.2 x 115.6 cm)
Frame size: 37 3/4 x 47 3/4 inches (95.9 x 121.3 cm)
Initialed and dated lower right, numbered lower left, recto
The accompanying text reads, “What should fit here is an oblique story about absence, but I can’t remember the short version.”
(Inventory #31809)

The text at the bottom of the piece reads, “What should fit here is an oblique story about absence, but I can’t remember the short version.”

In this work by Lorna Simpson, a photograph of a pair of a woman’s empty dress shoes standing on a specific but unidentifiable floor is juxtaposed with the pedals of an old upright piano situated in an unidentifiable and light-less space. Simpson’s addition of watercolor to the shoes could reference the human touch in the subject matter or the tradition of hand-tinting in nineteenth-century photographs. Both of these perhaps suggest a narrative engaging familial history and/or loss. Below the image, Simpson has printed an intentionally open-ended text that reads, “What should fit here is an oblique story about absence, but I can’t remember the short version.” By leaving so much open-ended, Simpson reminds the viewer that even the seemingly familiar is more complicated than one initially assumes.

Simpson is well known for her work that addresses issues ranging from race and sexuality, to ideas of the body, to interpersonal communication and relationships. She has been inspired by various sources, including personal experience, the current political climate, and African-American culture and history.

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Partial Truth

Bruce Nauman Partial Truth 1997 A two-color silkscreen with embossing and one-color etching both printed on Lana Gravure paper

Edition of 50
Image/plate size: 18 x 23 7/8 inches each (45.7 x 60.6 cm each)
Paper size: 22 7/16 x 28 5/16 inches each (57 x 71.9 cm each)
Signed, numbered and dated lower right in graphite on each sheet
(Inventory #32247)

In a 2001 interview with the curator Joan Simon, Nauman explained where the idea for the Partial Truth series came from:
“It was the year that Susan [Rothenberg] and I had sublet a loft in New York. Konrad [Fischer, the art dealer] had heard about that. He called and said, ‘Bruce, I hear you’re moving to New York.’ I said. ‘No, well maybe partly. This is partly true.’” (Joan Simon, ‘Bruce Nauman: Vices and Virtues: Interview’, 2001, in Janet Kraynak (ed.), Please Pay Attention Please: Bruce Nauman’s Words, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2003, pp. 392–3.)

The “Partial Truth” series consists of a black granite slab (which was partially done as an ode to Fischer after he passed away), a blind embossing made from the granite slab, and the pair of works presented here, each with the words ‘PARTIAL TRUTH’ displayed in the Roman-style lettering “scriptura monumentalis”. The words ‘PARTIAL TRUTH’ resist confirming completeness, implying that not all is what it seems, which is very much the case for the pair that Krakow Witkin Gallery is presenting.

One element of the pair is a two-color silkscreen with embossing. The “scratchy” line work of the words give an informed viewer the impression that it is an etching. This conclusion is supported by how the work has a rectangular indentation running approximately 2 1/4 inches in from the edges. The indentation is to be read as the “plate mark” from the etching plate used to create the image. However, the image was actually created using a positive image of Nauman’s plan for “Partial Truth” as printed through a silkscreen with no etching plate needed and thus the indentation was added as a separate gesture to reference etching. So… the image of “Partial Truth” is only partially true and the question remains as to how much of it is truth.

This visual play that is so indicative of Nauman’s oeuvre continues in the second element. This time, the plate mark truly is from the copper etching plate used to create the image of “Partial Truth” (which is backwards this time). The “partial” truth of this element is that the image of Nauman’s plan was used to create the etching plate and so, when it was printed onto paper, the image of the text printed in reverse, so while the etching plate has the “actual” image of “Partial Truth”, the printed image from the plate is a reverse of that. This begs the question, “What is the reverse of ‘Partial Truth’?”

Nauman has spent a career using simple means to express the conundrums of life in serious and playful means. “Partial Truth” does just that.