The Politics of Portraiture

June 24-August 27, 2016

The exhibition is accompanied by an essay by Pamela Lee: Download PDF


Jessica Silverman Gallery is pleased to present “The Politics of Portraiture,” a group exhibition featuring the work of Kenneth Bergfeld, Cécile B Evans, Matthew Angelo Harrison, Jamian Juliano-Villani , Josh Kline and Lynn Hershman Leeson.

In the age of social media, when the demand to represent our “selves” has become a daily imperative, portraiture is mutating. The genre has always involved a tension between artist and sitter, but their dialogue is shifting in relation to the fast-changing landscape of new art and media technologies. As Pamela Lee writes, identity has become a “work-in-progress, a construction zone in which subjectivity is a pastiche of external applications.” With paintings, photographs, holographic works, ready-made and 3D printed sculptures, the artists in “The Politics of Portraiture” explore the fissures between embodied and virtual identities, technology and power, subjectivity and social relations.

Kenneth Bergfeld (b. 1990, Bergisch-Gladbach, Germany) studied at Kunstakademie Dusseldorf in Germany. He has had solo exhibitions at Galerie
 Max Mayer’s project space (Düsseldorf, Germany) and Kunstverein Leverkusen (Leverkusen, Germany), and his work
 has been featured in group shows at the Museum Abteiberg (Mönchengladbach, Germany), Kunstverein Duisburg (Duisburg, Germany), and Kunsthal Charlottenborg (Copenhagen, Denmark). Last year, Bergfeld’s performance group “Seira’s” curated the Dan Graham Pavilion at K21 Ständehaus Düsseldorf and this summer, his work is included in an exhibition at Museum Abteiberg (Mönchengladbach, Germany). The artist lives and works in Düsseldorf.

Cécile B. Evans (b. 1983, Cleveland, OH) studied at Tisch School of the Arts. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the Kunsthalle Winterthur (Winterthur, Switzerland), De Hallen (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), Serpentine Sackler Gallery (London, UK), Kunstverein Munich (Munich, Germany) and Museum of Post Digital Cultures (Lausanne, Switzerland). Her work can currently be seen in the 9th Berlin Biennale and it has been included in group shows at the Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna, Austria), Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Musée
d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (Paris, France), Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, National Museum of Contemporary Art (Lisbon, Portugal), and Fridericianum (Kassel, Germany). In 2016 she will have solo exhibitions at Tate Liverpool and Kunsthalle Aarhus in Denmark. Evans lives and works in London and Berlin.

Matthew Angelo Harrison (b. 1989, Detroit, MI) has
 a BFA from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. He will have his first museum solo exhibition at MOCAD in Detroit in 2016, curated by Jens Hoffmann. He will also be included in the 2016 group exhibition “Take Me (I’m Yours)at the Jewish Museum in New York, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Jens Hoffmann and Kelly Taxter. The artist lives and works in Detroit.

Jamian Juliano-Villani (b. 1987, Newark, NJ) has
a BFA from Rutgers University. Her work has been shown at MOCAD (Detroit), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), Jewish Museum (New
York) and MoMA PS1 (New York). Most recently she participated in group exhibitions at the Swiss Institute (New York) and the Hammer Museum (Los Angeles). Juliano-Villani has an upcoming solo exhibition at Studio Voltaire (London, UK). The artist lives and works in Brooklyn.

Josh Kline (b. 1979, Philadelphia, PA) will enjoy a solo show at the Portland Museum of Art (opening July 23). His work recently received critical acclaim in “America is Hard to Seeat the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and “Surround Audience” at the New Museum’s 2015 Triennial in New York. His work is in the collections
of MoMA New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Aishti Foundation, Rubell Family Collection and Zabludowicz Collection. He has also exhibited at Modern Art Oxford (UK), Moderna Museet (Stockholm, Sweden), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, DC), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo), Institute for Contemporary Art (Philadelphia), MoMA PS1 (New York) and Fredericianum (Kassel, Germany). The artist lives and works in New York.

Lynn Hershman Leeson (b. 1941, Cleveland, OH) has a career spanning five decades. Described as “the inaugural portraitist of the information age – a supremely astute observer of the protocols and institutions that at once consolidate, mediate and invert the interests of contemporary identity,” Hershman Leeson has enjoyed recent solo retrospective exhibitions at ZKM Museum for Contemporary Art (Karlsruhe, Germany), Sammlung Falckenberg (Hamburg, Germany), and Modern Art Oxford (UK). This year and next, the show travels to the Lehmbruck Museum (Duisburg, Germany) and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco). Hershman Leeson’s work is in the collections of MoMA New York, Tate Modern, LACMA, SFMOMA, National Gallery of Canada, Walker Art Center, Berkeley Art Museum, Seattle Museum of Art, ZKM Museum for Contemporary Art and Museum of Contemporary Art Warsaw. She will also be included in the group shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art and Haus der Kunst (Munich, Germany) in 2016. The artist lives and works in San Francisco and New York.


Press: SFAQ, Artforum