Lisa Yuskavage: Babie Brood is the first survey of the artist’s small-scale paintings. While Yuskavage is primarily known for larger canvases, these intimate works offer a new window into her transgressive paintings and complex and influential oeuvre.
Based on the artist’s imagination, live models, maquettes, and found and staged photographs, the small paintings in this book demonstrate Yuskavage’s methodical exploration of how images are created and their sources. Some of the small works are studies for large paintings, while others revisit preexisting images. Yet others are one-of-a-kind compositions only created on this intimate scale. As places for experimenting with color, form, and characters as well as a variety of formats—including stretched and unstretched linen, canvas boards, wood, and paper—these paintings play a remarkably dynamic role within her work. This catalogue presents the paintings to scale so readers can explore the works as if seeing them in person.
Documenting the artist’s exhibition at David Zwirner, New York, in 2018, this catalogue includes an essay by Jarrett Earnest that illuminates Yuskavage’s early influences and explores the constant, often surprising themes that can be found throughout her art.
About the Author
For more than thirty years, Lisa Yuskavage's (b. 1962) highly original approach to figurative painting has challenged conventional understandings of the genre. Her simultaneously bold, eccentric, exhibitionist, and introspective characters assume dual roles of subject and object, complicating the position of viewership. At times playful and harmonious, and at other times rueful and conflicted, these characters are cast within fantastical compositions in which realistic and abstract elements coexist and color determines meaning. While the artist's painterly techniques evoke art historical precedents, her motifs are often inspired by popular culture, creating an underlying dichotomy between high and low and, by implication, sacred and profane, harmony and dissonance. Yet her oeuvre compellingly resists categorization, insisting instead on its own kind of emotional formalism in which characters and pictorial inventions assume equal importance.
Jarrett Earnest is a writer and artist living in New York City. From 2014 to 2017, he was faculty at the free experimental art school Bruce High Quality Foundation University (BHQFU), running their MFU programs in New York and Miami. He wrote What it Means to Write About Art: Interviews with art critics (2018) and coedited the volumes Tell Me Something Good: Artist Interviews from The Brooklyn Rail (2017) and For Bill, Anything: Images and Text for Bill Berkson (2015). His writing has appeared in Art in America, The Brooklyn Rail, Los Angeles Review of Books, San Francisco Arts Quarterly, and The Village Voice, among others.
Hanna Schouwink joined David Zwirner in 1997 and is a senior partner based in the gallery’s New York location. Throughout the past two decades, she has overseen numerous shows at the gallery and collaborated on many major museum exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe and their accompanying publications.
“Yuskavage, a masterful colorist, makes lush, luminous, intentionally—and delightfully—gauche paintings that unsettle facile notions of misogyny, femininity and the female gaze.” — Julia Felsenthal
“This wonderful, almost overpoweringly virtuosic retrospective of nearly ninety small paintings spans her career… Love it or hate it, the breadth, rigor, and all-in commitment of Yuskavge’s vision is undeniable.” — Johanna Fateman
“The wild art star of the 1990s, known for her candy-colored voluptuaries with distorted faces and poses, ups her game.” — Jerry Saltz
“More than thirty years of underage popsies rendered in Jordan-almond pastels and smoldering shades of red, gold, and acid green were on parade in ‘Babie Brood: Small Paintings 1985-2018.’” — Zoë Lescaze
“By blending realism and fantasy, Yuskavage challenges conventional expectations surrounding figurative painting.” — Sarah Cascone
“Lisa Yuskavage’s art continues to defy characterization.” — Thomas Gebremedhin
“As usual, dark humor and acrid color are mitigated by luminosity and sensitive execution.” — Margaret McCann
“The most scandalous thing about which wasn’t their sexual explicitness–much of the imagery was safely PG-13– but their style: a luminous, lowbrow Mannerism, rendered with such self-evident technical brilliance that the works’ tackiness begins to feel like an affront.” — Rachel Wetzler