Ellen Gallagher: Don’t Axe Me
June 19 – September 15 2013
Opening this summer, the New Museum will present the first major New York museum exhibition of the work of Ellen Gallagher.
Spanning the past twenty years, “Don’t Axe Me” will provide one of the first opportunities to thoroughly examine the complex formal and thematic concerns of one of the most significant artists to emerge since the mid-1990s. The title of the exhibition, “Don’t Axe Me,” evokes her radical approach to image, text, and surface—drawing equally from modernism, mass culture, and social history. This focused survey at the New Museum will run concurrently with Gallagher’s exhibition at the Tate Modern, London (May 2013).
The exhibition traces the transformations, excavations, and accumulations of Gallagher’s practice through a number of her iconic paintings, drawings, prints, and film installations. A major new series of paintings will be presented alongside some of the artist’s most celebrated works. These include several of her early paintings, comprised of intricate drawings rendered on penmanship paper and collaged onto the surface of the canvas, as well as a selection of works on paper using watercolor, ink, cut paper, and other diverse materials. “Don’t Axe Me” will also feature the first New York presentation of Osedax (2010; made in collaboration with Edgar Cleijne)—an immersive environment consisting of 16mm film and painted slide projections inspired by a species of undersea worm that buries into the bones of whale carcasses.
The exhibition highlights the humor, historical depth, psychological complexity, and formal inventiveness inherent in Gallagher’s rich oeuvre.