Curated by Donald Kuspit (Assisted by Robert Curcio)
Originally scheduled April 4-May 24, 2020
This exhibition was cancelled to contain the spread of COVID-19 in 2020. Visit our Museum@Home for digital resources and more information.
Video Read the fully illustrated exhibition catalog with essay by curator Donald Kuspit.
Conor Walton, It's the End of the World as We Know It, 2006. Oil on linen, 12 x 24 in. Private Collection.
Michael Zansky, Three Studies for Marathon, 2006-2017. Oil and acrylic on carved plywood, 26 x 21 in. each. Courtesy of the artist.
Lynn Stern, Skull, #10a, 1991. Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 in. Ed. 1/8. Courtesy of the artist.
Michael Netter, Regeneration, 2016. Mixed media on canvas, 48 x 60 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Noah Becker, Museum Skulls, 2018. Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 40 x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Sonia Stark, Three Female Skulls, With Lipstick Smear, 2020. Oil and pastel on arches paper, 26 x 19 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Frank Lind, Vanitas, 2017. Oil on panel, 20 x 14 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Robert Zeller, The Conversation, 2019. Oil on linen, 28 x 42 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Diane Thodos, Skull, 2010. Oil on canvas, 52 x 48 in. Courtesy of the artist.
John Grande, The Residue of Time, 2016. Oil on canvas, 30 x 60 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Stephen Newton, The Wake, 2018. Oil on canvas, 26 x 24 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Sigrid Sarda, Lothario’s Vanity, 2014-2018. Wax, human hair, cotton, bone, gold leaf, crystals, opals, 21 x 31 x 14 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Chris Klein, Phantom of the Opera: Mask of the Red Death, 2019. Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 60 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Anonymous artist, Skull Bracelet, 1990. Sterling silver, dimensions variable. Courtesy of Robert Curcio. Photography by Sebastian Piras.
Danielle Frankenthal, Tree of Life, 2019. Acrylic painton acrylic resin panels, 48 x 36 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Paul Pretzer, Dead Idiot, 2019. Oil on wood, 17.1 x 15 in. Courtesy of Marc Straus Gallery.
Paul Brainard, Cyborg Space, 2010. Oil on canvas, 26 x 32 in. Courtesy of the artist.
David Ligare, Still Life with Skull and Polaroid, 1983. Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 in. Collection of the artist.
Bobbie Moline-Kramer, All That Remains, 2010. Oil, graphite, gesso and wood burning on wood, 10 x 10 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Chris Jones, The Trader, 2016. Book and magazine images, board, and polymer varnish, 34 x 23 x 22 in. Courtesy of Marc Straus Gallery.
Jinsu Han, Dream Fiend 5C, 2009. Plastic model, steel, wood, epoxy resin, ABS plastic, copper, silver cup, speaker, radio receiver, motor, feather, steel wheel and chalk powder, 30.7 x 25.6 x 19.6 in. Courtesy of Marc Straus Gallery.
Bill Claps, It’s All Derivative, The Skull, Negative, 2014. Mixed media with gold foil on canvas, 15 x 16 1/4 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Frodo Mikkelsen, Untitled (Skull #3), 2018. Silver-plated mixed media, 9.6 x 5.9 x 7.9 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Donald Baechler, Skull (Yellow #7), 2005. Gouache, vinyl paint and paper collage on paper, 27 x 21 in. Courtesy of Donald Baechler Studio.
Trevor Guthrie, Myself as a Specimen, 2009. Charcoal, graphite on paper, 55 x 57 in. unframed. Private Collection.
The exhibition is a survey of contemporary works of art that deal with death. Paintings, sculptures, and photographs remind us that it is inescapable. Skulls predominate, triumphing over life, sometimes symbolized by fruit, books, and flowers as in usual Vanitas works. Apart from the Vanitas tradition, where the skull is depicted passively at rest, it is often seen in this exhibition through the distorting lens of some modern style, sometimes ingeniously bringing it to exquisite aesthetic life, sometimes to intense emotional life. So dramatized, these artists’ skulls become intimidatingly in our face, and with that more than memento mori.
Donald Baechler, Noah Becker, Paul Brainard, Bill Claps, Danielle Frankenthal, John Grande, Trevor Guthrie, Jinsu Han, Chris Jones, Chris Klein, Wes Lang, David Ligare, Frank Lind, Frodo Mikkelsen, Bobbie Moline-Kramer, Michael Netter, Stephen Newton, Paul Pretzer, Sigrid Sarda, Sonia Stark, Lynn Stern, Diane Thodos, Conor Walton, Michael Zansky, Robert Zeller, and an unidentified artist.