Mimi Gross - At the Beach
June 2nd - July 2nd, 2017
Sunbathing is as old as humanity. It is both meditative in its simplicity and a way to pay tribute to a higher power that is neither allegorical nor at risk of debate. The sun charges our planet, both literally and figuratively, grows food and forests, directs the weather, creates seasons and ultimately draws us out from the caves. At the Beach is an exhibition of works by New York City artist, Mimi Gross (b. 1940), that celebrates beach culture and sun worship. The show features a series of individual painted wooden cut-outs depicting sunbathers in various poses, which were first exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum’s show, “Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008” in 2015.
Staying true to Mimi Gross’s vibrant and expressive aesthetic, as well as her background in designing theatrical and dance sets, the gallery’s main space will be transformed into a metaphorical beach. In contrast to the artist’s original tight knit installation of these figures at the Brooklyn Museum, each beachgoer will be given adequate space to breathe to highlight the uniqueness of each work and display Gross’s ability to fluidly transition from robust figuration to subtle abstractions of the human form.
As writer and curator Dan Nadel notes in Art in America, this body of work “is, like so many things Gross does, a deft blending of history, observational portraiture, and ingenious craft.” Her representations of family, friends and strangers are raw, often comic, and always leave viewers with a glimpse into the character and emotions of her subjects. The beachgoers paintings are true to this while also embracing a sense of care-free, easy living. Given the chaotic and often disheartening current world climate, the summer season is the perfect time to take a deep breath and follow Mimi Gross to the beach.
Mimi Gross’s work is in numerous public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Brooklyn Museum, the Jewish Museum, le Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, the Nagoya Museum of Art, the Onnasch Collection in Berlin and the Lannan Foundation.