Archives for MOMA

Cathy Wilkes Wins the Maria Lassnig Prize For 2017

THE Maria Lassnig Foundation in Vienna announces the Scottish artist, Cathy Wilkes as the first winner of the Maria Lassnig Prize for 2017. The inaugural award is named after Maria Lassnig, the Austrian portrait painter renowned for her pioneering theory on body awareness. As Lassnig received recognition only later in life, the Foundation’s inaugural art prize is awarded specifically for the achievements of mid-career artists.

Maria Lassnig Prize, art, Cathy Wilkes, winnerMaria Lassnig, Der Tod und das Madchen Der letzte Tango, 1999, Courtesy of Maria Lassnig Foundation

Cathy Wilkes is an installation artist and painter whose subject matter concerns everyday life and human experience such as motherhood, gender roles and sexuality. These assemblages recall the imagined lives of people connected with the Possil Pottery, a nineteenth century Glaswegian company that produced stoneware goods such as bottles for Tennents brewers. Poised between their time-worn household relics, the artists’ scantily clad folk cower under their tattered rags. Like treasured samplers, Wilkes’s evocative scenarios expose her frayed emotions woven falteringly within another time.

Maria Lassnig Prize, art, Cathy Wilkes, winnerCathy Wilkes, Installation view, LENTOS Kunstmuseum, Linz, 2015, Courtesy of the Artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow. Photograph: Reinhard Haider

Wilkes represented her country at the Venice Biennale in 2005 and was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2008. Since presenting at a survey exhibition at the Tate Liverpool in 2015, Wilkes has exhibited at several solo shows in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Munich. Peter Eleey, MoMA PS1 chief curator explains, “Wilkes’ art enacts an exercise in empathy, exposing deeply felt subjective experiences to reach beyond herself while also insisting upon the fundamentally private nature of art making.”

Maria Lassnig Prize, art, Cathy Wilkes, winnerCathy Wilkes, Installation view, LENTOS Kunstmuseum, Linz, 2015.Courtesy of the Artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow. Photograph: Reinhard Haider

As winner of the Maria Lassnig Prize, she receives 50,000 euros and the opportunity to mount a solo exhibition at the prestigious contemporary art institution, MoMA PS1 in New York. Members of this year’s inaugural Maria Lassnig Prize selection committee included Peter Eleey, MoMA PS1 Chief Curator and Peter Pakesch, Chairman of the Foundation. Other members included the curators Matthias Mühling and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine Gallery, Laura Hoptman, Curator of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art and Sheikha Hoor Al-Quasimi, President of the Sharjah Art Foundation and New York-based artist, Zoe Leonard.

by Miranda Charalambous

Front Page image: Maria Lassnig, June 1983, Photograph Courtesy of Kurt-Michael Westermann, Maria Lassnig Foundation

Photographs by Yousuf Karsh Open at Beetles And Huxley, London

BEETLES and Huxley mount the first major London exhibition in 30 years of work by Yousuf Karsh, one of the greatest and most respected portrait photographers of the 20th century later this month. The show highlights many of his high-profile commissions including Karsh’s famous photograph of a defiant Winston Churchill, minus a cigar, the gorgeous Audrey Hepburn, Pablo Picasso in his studio and a mystical portrayal of Jacques Cousteau to name a few.

The show will highlight Karsh’s extraordinary ability to capture his subjects’ personalities which he achieved through sophisticated lighting techniques developed initially through studying the work of great master painters, Rembrandt and Velázquez.

Audrey Hepburn, 1956 © Yousuf Karsh / Camera PressAudrey Hepburn, 1956 © Yousuf Karsh / Camera Press

Armenian Karsh was one of the greatest and most respected portrait photographers of the 20th century. Renowned for his iconic photographs of the rich and famous, Karsh’s successful and prolific career lasted nearly 60 years. Fascinated by “greatness” himself, Karsh was attracted by the persona of celebrities, royalty, politicians and scientists maintaining that
“… it is the mind and soul of the personality before my camera that interests me most, and the greater the mind and soul, the greater my interest.”

The photographs on display also reveal the theatricality of Karsh’s formal studio-based approach to composition, developed from his experimentation with theatrical lighting at Ottawa Theatre in Canada.  Often without the addition of scenery or accoutrements, the success of his images relied entirely on the sitters’ posture and expression in which he believed. “There is a brief moment when all there is in a man’s mind and soul and spirit is reflected through his eyes, his hands, his attitude. This is the moment to record,” he said.

Ernest Hemmingway, 1957 © Yousuf Karsh / Camera PressErnest Hemingway, 1957 © Yousuf Karsh / Camera Press

Ever more remarkable is the photographer’s determination to achieve perfection despite the harsh realities of his upbringing when he was forced to flee the atrocities committed by Turkey during World War One before his family sought refuge in Syria.

The work of Yousuf Karsh can be found in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, MOMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

by Miranda Charalambous

The photographs of Yousuf Karsh will be on display from September 20 – October 15 2016 at Beetles and Huxley, 3 – 5 Swallow Street, London W1B 4DE
Tel: 020 7434 4319