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39 Walker Street
New York, NY 10013
212 727 2050
Bortolami opened in September 2005. The gallery has presented exhibitions by Richard Aldrich, Barbara Kasten, Ivan Morley, Morgan Fisher, and Tom Burr, artists with whom the gallery has had long-standing relationships. The Bortolami program has expanded to include such artists as Daniel Buren, Ann Veronica Janssens, Caitlin Keogh, Ella Kruglyanskaya, Lena Henke, Lesley Vance, Marina Rheingantz, Deborah Remington, Virginia Overton and Renée Green.

In 2017, Bortolami relocated to the Tribeca neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. The program has also expanded regionally with the launch of the Artist / City initiative, which brings evolving yearlong exhibitions to cities across the United States. These projects include Daniel Buren / Miami, Eric Wesley / St. Louis, Tom Burr / New Haven, Jutta Koether / Philadelphia, Ann Veronica Janssens / Baltimore, Barbara Kasten / Chicago, Paul Pfeiffer / Washington, D.C., and Cecily Brown / Buffalo.
Artists Represented:
Richard Aldrich
Robert Bordo
Daniel Buren
Tom Burr
Morgan Fisher
Michel François
Piero Golia
Renée Green
Nicolás Guagnini
Lena Henke
Naotaka Hiro
Madeline Hollander
Ann Veronica Janssens
Barbara Kasten
Caitlin Keogh
Ella Kruglyanskaya 
Ivan Morley
Rebecca Morris
Mary Obering
Anna Ostoya
Virginia Overton
Claudio Parmiggiani
Deborah Remington
Marina Rheingantz
Aki Sasamoto
Paul Mpagi Sepuya
Lesley Vance
Eric Wesley


Installation view courtesy Bortolami Gallery.

Past Exhibitions

Cynthia Talmadge

Goodbye to All This: Alan Smithee Off Broadway

January 13, 2023 - February 25, 2023
Cynthia Talmadge ACT 3: The Loft, 2022 Sand on aluminum panel 97 x 60 in (246.4 x 152.4 cm)

Frieda Toranzo Jaeger, Duane Linklater, Virginia Overton, Kathleen Ryan, Christopher Williams

Junkyard of Dreams

January 13, 2023 - March 4, 2023
Frieda Toranzo Jaeger Feminist review of the Oedipus Complex, 2022 Oil on canvas and wood, rhinestone 74 3/4 x 82 5/8 in (190 x 210 cm)

Leda Catunda


November 4, 2022 - December 24, 2022
Leda Catunda Mapa Mundi , 2022 Acrylic and enamel on fabric, wood, plastic, velvet, voile, flags, rug and foam 90 1/2 x 118 1/8 in (230 x 300 cm)

Lena Henke and Michael Craig-Martin

Apple Red Cranberry House

November 4, 2022 - December 24, 2022
Left: Michael Craig-Martin Untitled (apple red), 2022 Acrylic on aluminum 23 5/8 x 23 5/8 in (60 x 60 cm) Right: Lena Henke Cranberry House after Orsini, 2021 Glazed ceramic on plexiglass pedestal 19 x 16 x 29 in (48.3 x 40.6 x 73.7cm)

Morgan Fisher

New Paintings

September 9, 2022 - October 29, 2022
Morgan Fisher Blue under Green under Red under Yellow/Yellow over Red over Green over Blue, 2022 Acrylic on canvas, Each: 20 x 20 in (50.8 x 50.8 cm)

Faith Wilding

Being like leaves

September 9, 2022 - October 29, 2022
Faith Wilding Leaf Series: Hingham Leaves, 1976-78 Oil on unstretched canvas 84 x 48 in (213.4 x 121.9 cm)(FAW1002)

Claudio Parmiggiani

September 9, 2022 - October 29, 2022
Claudio Parmiggiani, Untitled, 2022 Smoke and soot on board 27 1/2 x 23 5/8 in (70 x 60 cm) (CP9727)

Paul Mpagi Sepuya

D.R.M.P., 55 Walker

May 13, 2022 - May 13, 2022
Paul Mpagi Sepuya, D.R.M.P, Installation View, 55 Walker, New York, 2022

Emily Sundblad


May 13, 2022 - June 18, 2022
Emily Sundblad, Untitled, 2022, Oil on canvas, Artwork: 13 x 9 1/2 in (33 x 24.1 cm), Framed: 17 3/4 x 14 1/4 in (45.1 x 36.2 cm)

Daniel Buren

The Colored Mirrors, situated works, low reliefs

May 10, 2022 - May 18, 2022
Photo-souvenir: Graphic sketch for The Colored Mirrors, April 2022

Fernanda Laguna

Welcome to my show in New York!!!!!! Bienvenidos a mi muestra en Nueva York!!!!!!

March 18, 2022 - April 30, 2022
Fernanda Laguna Sin Título (Untitled), 2016 Acrylic on canvas with cut-outs, metal chain and studs, ribbons, wicker frame 23 5/8 x 22 7/8 in (60 x 58 cm) (FL0009)

Barbara Kasten


March 4, 2022 - April 30, 2022
Barbara Kasten SHIELD I, 2022 Cyanotype on raw linen, steel 24 5/8 x 24 1/8 x 4 in (62.5 x 61.3 x 10.2 cm) (BK9696)

Mika Horibuchi

Watercolors, 55 Walker

February 25, 2022 - March 26, 2022
Mika Horibuchi Watercolor of Cherry Blossom Trees Along a River, 2021 Oil on linen 93 x 72 in (236.2 x 183 cm) (MHO0003)

Mary Obering

Mary Obering: Works from 1972 – 2003

January 7, 2022 - February 26, 2022
Surveying Mary Obering’s prolific output from 1972 to 2003, this exhibition focuses on the artist’s singular approach to Minimalism and geometric abstraction. The exhibition stretches across both floors of the gallery, with the Upstairs dedicated to artworks from the 1970s, a nod to the artist’s SoHo studio in which she took residency in 1971. In the early 1970s, Obering began exploring minimalist painting’s ability to push beyond its internal pictorial space, generating a technique uniquely her own. Works from her Drop Series see cut strips of canvas tacked with finishing nails to the top edge of stretched monochrome canvases, their layering suggesting portals or entryways into landscapes of the artist’s own imagining. Applied in fluttering brushstrokes, the balanced palette of Through Snowy Mountains at Dawn (1973) reveals the artist’s fascination with Eastern art and philosophy, in particular Tang Dynasty poetry. Her Window Series, from this same typology, were one of the first series the artist presented in New York, in an exhibition curated by Carl Andre at Artist’s Space. Within this same decade the artist abandoned her canvas support, beginning to paint on Masonite panels with a variety of approaches. The Arch Series elaborates on the Renaissance invention of painting as a window onto the world. In Dream Plane (1975), titanium white and a vibrant blue splice two equal curved panels, revealing a horizon line in this simple act, and a tension between what the artist thought of as pure abstraction and the compositional elements of landscape. Obering’s thematic exploration found fertile ground with the introduction of mediums which would become the artist’s signature over the next four decades: egg tempera and gold leaf. In employing Old Masters techniques, the artist envisioned a blending of architecture and painting; the antique artworks produced with these materials inevitably recalling the churches and buildings in which they were housed. The paintings created with these unexpected materials were presented by some of New York’s most daring and respected galleries in the 1980s and 1990s, Julian Pretto, Annina Nosei, and John Weber. In Archangel from 1990, a rectilinear arrangement reveals the material process generally concealed in the finished work of art, with untreated Masonite, gesso, gilding clay, and graphite given equal weight to lush aquamarine tempera and brilliant gold leaf. The later production by the artist is represented in a series of jewel-like multi-panel works, Sail On (For Hyde) (1998), Story (1999), and KCB, BKC, CBK (2003). Rhythm is produced through the oscillation and repetition of cascading shapes and tonal shifts across distinct surfaces. An earlier suggestion to push beyond the painting plane is re-visited through the activation of the spaces between the lushly painted panels: the walls themselves. Within the Hanging Series, tempera wraps around the edges and tops of object-like panels, calling to mind Obering’s 1970s invention of draped paintings. The oft-ignored parts of paintings—their edges—are given reverence, gilded and built-up in bright hues, so that the most curious viewer is rewarded in their examination. Mary Obering was born in 1937 in Shreveport, Louisiana. She received a BA in Psychology at Hollins College in 1959. She studied calculus at Radcliffe College (Harvard’s women’s college) and did postbachelor work in experimental psychology with BF Skinner at Harvard shortly after. She received an MFA in painting from the University of Denver in June 1971, and shortly thereafter she moved to NYC. Obering’s works have been included in exhibitions at 1975 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Fine Art, Boston; Artists Space, New York; the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut; The Denver Art Museum and Nelson-Atkins Museum among others. Her works are in the permanent collections of major institutions, including The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Detroit Institute of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Wadsworth Atheneum.

Caitlin Keogh

Waxing Year

November 5, 2021 - December 18, 2021
Caitlin Keogh Waxing Year 9, 2021 Acrylic on canvas 84 x 63 in (213.4 x 160cm)

Ella Kruglyanskaya

Keep Walking

October 29, 2021 - December 18, 2021
Ella Kruglyanskaya Splattered Nap, 2021 82 x 64 in (208.3 x 162.6 cm)

Richard Aldrich Ei Arakawa Virginia Overton

October 29, 2021 - December 18, 2021

Nicolás Guagnini

Heads and Torsos

September 24, 2021 - October 23, 2021
Nicolás Guagnini Head 1, 2021 Oil and acrylic on linen mounted on wood 16 x 16 in (40.6 x 40.6cm)

Marina Rheingantz


September 10, 2021 - October 23, 2021
Marina Rheingantz Suor, 2020 Oil on canvas 122 x 183 in (310 x 465cm)

Roberto Burle Marx and Santídio Pereira

Roberto Burle Marx | Santídio Pereira

September 10, 2021 - October 16, 2021
The Upstairs: Burle Marx | Santídio Pereira 10 September – 16 October 2021 Bortolami is pleased to announce a two-person exhibition with works by Roberto Burle Marx and Santídio Pereira, organized by Ricardo Kugelmas, founder of auroras, São Paulo, in The Upstairs. Though the two Brazilian artists are from different generations, they find commonality creating work that celebrates the richness and complexity of Brazil's natural environment, both organizing and articulating new ways of appreciating the wonder of their surroundings. Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994), a renowned landscape architect and passionate conservationist, was a pivotal figure in Brazilian modernism. In addition to his contributions as a landscape architect, his wide-ranging output included textile design and painting, as well as sculpture, theatrical set and jewelry design. Santídio Pereira (1996) primarily focuses on printmaking. For his woodcuts, he utilizes a distinctive technique in which he favors cutting and joining wood shapes rather than chiseling and carving into a single block of wood. This process results in unique works, subverting the logic of print reproduction. Using different approaches, both artists showcase their unique languages in translating tropical flora into form. Burle Marx studied painting in Germany in the 1920s, later earning large-scale mural commissions all over Brazil. These painted tile murals, replete with organic forms mixed with architectural geometry, served as a basis for his large tapestries. Two of Burle Marx’s rare weavings—he produced just thirty in his lifetime—hang in conversation with Pereira’s woodcut prints. In Pereira’s woodcuts, nature appears not only in the organic forms that the artist carves by hand, but also in the veins of the wood that serves as the basis for his engravings. The artist finds inspiration in the Brazilian biomes, spending hours in the foliage making drawings of abstracted bromeliads, rolling hillsides, and tropical birds. Likewise, Burle Marx searched the same jungles for native plants to incorporate into his landscape projects, discovering over forty species that now bear his name. Roberto Burle Marx Untitled, 1980 Manually woven tapestry 78 5/8 x 103 7/8 in (200 x 264 cm)

Marcia Schvartz

July 16, 2021 - September 11, 2021
55 Walker (Bortolami, kaufmann repetto, and Andrew Kreps Gallery) is pleased to announce the first survey exhibition in the United States of Marcia Schvartz (b. 1955, Argentina). The exhibition spans across five decades of the artist’s practice, from the 1970s to today, and will be accompanied by a full text by art historian Lucy Hunter, supported by the Institute for Latin American Studies (ISLAA). Marcia Schvartz’s practice is grounded in the expressive yet rigorous rendering of the human figure, working with painting, ceramic, textile, sculpture, assemblage, and performance. She is best recognized for her figurative paintings that depict the complexity of cosmopolitan social dynamics. Illustrating the political history of Argentina through personal and populist terms, Schvartz’s work has a recurrent focus on female figures which she represents in a radical anti-patriarchal and decolonial manner. In 1970, she entered the Escuela de Bellas Artes Manuel Belgrano, where she studied under renowned Argentinian artists Luis Falcini, Luis Felipe Noé, and most influentially for Schvartz, Aída Carballo. However in 1976 —during Schvartz’s early development as a young artist— a right-wing coup overthrew Isabel Perón as President of Argentina and a military junta was installed, leading to a 7-year period of state terror led by a military dictatorship (adjoined to the larger Operation Condor campaign in South America) that resulted in their murder of an estimated 30,000 civilians. Schvartz herself was a target, not only for being a militant and uncompromisingly outspoken artist, but also because her family was the owner of Fausto, a prominent bookstore known for disseminating progressive ideas and theories, and publishing radical literature. Because of this, Schvartz self-exiled to Spain in order to continue making her art (and later Brazil), before returning to Argentina in 1983. The loss of so many friends disappeared and murdered at the hands of the junta, combined with the rise of deaths due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the 1980s, became the painful source of inspiration for many works by Schvartz during this period and still today. Although Schvartz has deployed caricaturesque depictions of public figures such as the Peróns and other political subjects, the works in this exhibition focus on people that belong to the Buenos Aires neighborhood where Schvartz lives, works, and teaches —San Telmo. A historically marginal neighborhood near the city’s harbor, San Telmo was later repurposed by artists and the city’s vibrant intelligentsia, creating a radical post-dictatorial underground scene in the 1980s. In the portraits on view, Schvartz depicts her neighbors including shop-owners, taxi and bus drivers, sex workers, bartenders, musicians, other artists, activists, and football fans, among others. While the people in her immediate community are among the most represented in her work, Schvartz has also been creating detailed self-portraits for decades. In the 1990s, her practice expanded to include a dynamic mythical element, incorporating scenes that depict the native people of Argentina without colonial influences (and the subsequent class subjugation experienced by their descendants), alongside powerful, animistic depictions of the country’s flora and landscapes. Marcia Schvartz has exhibited extensively through South America and Spain and was most recently featured in the traveling exhibition “Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985” at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Pinacoteca de Sao Paulo, and the Brooklyn, Museum, 2017-2018. She has received awards and accolades such as the Gran Premio de Honor from the Banco Central de la República Argentina, Buenos Aires, 2015; the Primer Premio at the Salón Hugo Del Carril, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, 1996; and the Primer Premio in the 37th Salón Municipal de Artes Plásticas Manuel Belgrano, 1992. Her work is included in public collections throughout the world, including the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and the Bronx Museum of Arts, among others.

Ivan Morley


June 18, 2021 - July 31, 2021

Renée Green

Excerpts A.1

June 18, 2021 - July 31, 2021
Renée Green Excerpts A.1 18 June – 31 July 2021 Book launch: Thursday, 8 July 2021 Bortolami Gallery is pleased to announce Renée Green’s second exhibition with the gallery, bringing together a series of paintings and gouaches produced between 1985 and 1987. Presented for the first time, these richly layered paintings provide dream-like narratives stemming from the time spent by the artist in Mexico during the 1980s, as well as that decade’s US-backed political violence and societal turmoil in Central and South America. The images call to mind the equivocal storytelling of Green’s 1994 bilingual novel, Camino Road, tracing a New York art student’s illusive reminiscence of a road trip to Mexico. For the past four decades, Green’s process has been accretive, with artworks created through her prolific career combining to generate their own novel systems and taxonomies. Her practice has also been marked by a clear intertextuality, sliding seamlessly between text, film, sound, and art objects. With these strategies in mind, the exhibition is flanked by the presentation of two new books: Pacing (2020), a monograph detailing the artist’s multiyear project at Harvard’s Carpenter Center and a cycle of interrelated exhibitions, and Camino Road (1994), re-printed this year by Primary Information. Bookended by an early novel and a contemporary monograph, the exhibition constitutes a recollection of statements that maintain close associations despite being dispersed in time, so that an excerpt from 1994 informs our reading of artworks from the mid 1980s being viewed today. Renée Green, Camino Road, “Appendix”, 1994: p. 109. “Why Mexico? She tried to think back. A rapid rush of associations and images flooded her vision: (tk) flashback – Her uncle in uniform, young, her mother’s brother, back from Mexico, he says a family wanted to adopt him there, later he used to read in Spanish in Cleveland aloud to workers at the American Greeting Card Company, he was the first artist she’d ever met, she’d met him before she’d known it, he was a beatnik’s age, she didn’t know that until later when she found his Esquire jazz greats photo magazines, his Kent State yearbook, photos with the other hip cats, and a turquoise ring with a missing stone, which she believed to be from Mexico and which she still wears. The flood continued, times and places all jumbled: Freddie Prince (suicide), Geraldo Rivera (sell out), “West Side Story,” Spanish, a usable language in the U.S., Timoteo (Peace Corps hippy), Ms. Fajardo (Cuban debutante via Miami), Spanish eyes, looking Spanish (Are you from the island?) P.R., Ajúa Campos/The Latin House, salsa in CT. and in Mexico, D.F., Ntozake Shange, near rape, my Spanish teacher’s rape, Argentineans in exile, my exiled Argentinean journalist-political economics/Latin American studies professor, my foreign exchange student from formerly Allende’s Chile, me getting lost. She asked herself: Do I want to unpack this dense baggage? Is it too soon still? Maybe I want to be lost a little longer” Renée Green (b. 1959, Cleveland) is an artist, filmmaker and writer. Solo exhibitions of her work have been mounted at the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, Harvard University; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, the Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Maritime Museum, Greenwich; Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne; Portikus, Frankfurt; Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona; Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati; Vienna Secession; Stichting de Appel, Amsterdam; Dallas Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Jeu de Paume, Paris, among many others. Inevitable Distances, a large-scale retrospective dedicated to Green’s decades-long practice, will be held at the KW – Institute of Contemporary Art and daad galeries in Berlin this fall. Green is also a Professor at the MIT Program of Art, Culture, and Technology, School of Architecture and Planning.

Sascha Braunig, Jules Gimbrone, Brook Hsu, Anicka Yi


May 1, 2021 - June 12, 2021
Bortolami Gallery is pleased to announce Transmutations, a group show focused on works which serve as conduits for material transformation and multivalent possibility. The show is titled after a series by Jules Gimbrone, Traps and Transmutations, in which sound interacts with substances such as melting ice and bubbling water serve as analog to the transmutable body and trans experience. In the audio, Gimbrone’s own (highly modulated) voice repeats the words “convex” and “concave,” a reference to the peaks and valleys of soundwaves and an intimation of bodily physique. Piero Golia presents a living artwork: a sleek marble pedestal displaying a wood ikebana whose surface is covered in mushrooms. The orange-red fungi will continue to grow throughout the course of the exhibition, altering and evolving its form. In this sense Golia functions as a choreographer of kinetic experience, providing an initial set of materials and conditions and allowing time itself to sculpt the artwork. Brook Hsu’s painting Sada depicts Sada Abe, a character in the 1976 film In the Realm of the Senses, a meditation on love known for its explicit, erotic content. The film is based on a real geisha and sex worker who strangulated her lover to death and carried his severed genitals with her in the days following his murder. Sada’s likeness is outlined in pearly, opalescent blues over a dense and otherworldly field of green shellac inks. Anicka Yi’s illuminated sculptures question the increasingly hazy taxonomical distinctions between what is human, animal, plant and machine. Undulipodia, a prismatic column constructed in hard maple and silicone, evokes the structure and translucence of a Japanese shoji screen. Within a cubic recess hang suspended beakers filled with green resin, their contents resembling algae. And Inhaling A Million Stars, a large wall sculpture, features a UV print of a bacterial culture beneath a maze-like architectural pattern in clear acrylic, its unique aesthetic suggestive of mycelial hyphae as much as an electrical grid. Sascha Braunig’s painting, Clutches 3, features a composition cinched by the grasp of a clutching, anthropomorphized wire figure, its hoop-like “body” resembling a corset. It captures a dynamic moment in which two dissonant elements merge into a singular form. It is a material translation of an immaterial concept – the power dynamics of societal constructs and the pressure of individuals to conform to larger, hegemonic systems. Image caption: "Transmutations," installation view, The Upstairs, Bortolami, New York, 2021

Deborah Remington

Deborah Remington: Five Decades

May 1, 2021 - June 12, 2021
Deborah Remington: Five Decades 1 May – 12 June 2021 Opening Saturday, 1 May from 11am-6pm Bortolami Gallery is pleased to announce a solo show by Deborah Remington (b.1930, d. 2010) featuring paintings and drawings from each of five decades of her practice. It is the most comprehensive exhibition to date by Remington, a reevaluation of an artist whose biomorphic abstractions defied categorization during her lifetime and remain stridently unique today, over a decade since her passing. Remington began her career in San Francisco, where she studied with artists like Clyfford Still and co-founded the influential 6 Gallery. She was known for thick, gestural oil paintings informed by both her Abstract Expressionist mentors and calligraphy she learned during a stint living and teaching in Japan. Remington moved to New York City in 1965, where she pioneered a hard-edge abstraction which removed all vestiges of brushstroke, opting instead for lush color gradients and a mechanized uniformity of surface. She painted large, centrifugal shapes outlined in thin bands of brilliant, luminescent color. They recall disparate associations of UFOs, television screens, shields, or coats of arms. Truly, though, they resemble nothing of this world. In New York Remington became a force to be reckoned with, both critically and commercially, with gallery exhibitions selling out in Paris, New York and San Francisco and several paintings entering museum collections throughout the U.S. and Europe. Following a mid-career survey in 1983, Remington made a paradigm shift. She returned to expressionistic painting, foregoing hard edges for more organic, botanical abstractions which expand and recede into an indeterminate space. Disillusioned with the vagaries of the art market and a systemic subordination of female artists, she also began to sell work directly from her studio, rejecting gallery representation and exhibiting sparingly with dealers in one-off exhibitions. From the late 1990s until her death, Remington struggled with cancer, a secret to even her closest of friends. Though illness slowed the quantity of her output, she continued to innovate in the studio. In both paintings and drawings such as her Beinen series (1997-2006), Remington re-contextualized the hard-edge motifs from earlier paintings as bodily structures in dissolution; forms break apart and splinter away, a reflection of her own mortality. Deborah Remington: Five Decades features the first public exhibition of Encounters (2007), the artist’s final painting. In it there are aspects from each era of her career – the gesture of her AbEx beginnings, the palette of her hard-edge period and the calligraphic brushwork of her late works. It is the summation of a life’s work rendered in unflinching eloquence. Deborah Remington: Five Decades coincides with Deborah Remington, Drawings 1963-1983, a solo show on view from 4 May – 30 July at Craig F. Starr Gallery at 5 East 73rd Street in Manhattan. The work of Deborah Remington has been widely collected by institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Centre Pompidou; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Carnegie Museum of Art; and the Cleveland Museum of Art, among dozens of other museums. During her lifetime Remington exhibited at such prestigious galleries as the Dilexi Gallery in San Francisco, the Bykert Gallery in New York and Galerie Darthea Speyer in Paris. In 1983 a twenty-year retrospective curated by Paul Schimmel opened at the Newport Harbor Art Museum (now the Orange County Museum of Art) in Southern California, traveling to the Oakland Museum of California. Remington was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant. A new catalog on Deborah Remington is scheduled for release in 2022, spearheaded by The Deborah Remington Trust and Nancy Lim, Assistant Curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Kunle Martins

S3ND NUD3S, 55 Walker

April 24, 2021 - May 28, 2021
Kunle Martins S3ND NUD3S 55 Walker 24 April–28 May 2021 Bortolami Gallery is pleased to announce S3ND NUD3S, an exhibition of New York–based artist Kunle Martins. The history of portraiture is long and rich, and today, in the age of social media, the portrait has yet again transformed and become more ubiquitous than ever. Martins explores this perennial typology with the humblest of means: graphite and charcoal on white cardboard. As the title suggests, the artist requested naked selfies from his friends, and these suggestive self-portraits are the starting point for the works in this exhibition. In previous displays, Martins has used driver’s license and passport photos as his point of departure. The images from which he works now are more personal, individual, and fiercely intimate. While a nude selfie could be seen as the epitome of narcissism, or at least exhibitionism, these portraits lack the boasting and bragging evident in so many selfies we see online. Nor are they Instagram-perfect. Rather, they are understated, delicate, minimal, and profoundly intimate. In addition to six nude drawings, the show also includes a portrait of the artist Dan Colen based on an ID card photo, and a drawn self-portrait of Martins focusing on an intimate part of his body—a detail taken from an existing photograph by artist Jack Pierson. Martins places a great emphasis on his materials. Cardboard of the sort he employs can be found all around New York; most people consider it worthless, and the artist thus finds it everywhere, ready to be collected and carried away. The cardboard thus takes on a somewhat romantic aura and at the same time constitutes an anonymous portrait of the city in which he, and the people he portrays, live. Martins sometimes combines various cardboard pieces of different sizes to create a larger substrate, almost like a simple collage, which when framed creates a poetic sense of deep layering. One might view the exhibition as a group portrait of Martins’s very own New York, from its beauty and glory and its ugliness and iniquity. Viewed together, the works convey something of the streets he grew up on, the buildings that surround him (all of which he has explored as a graffiti artist over the last twenty years), and, most importantly, the friends that have become his family since he left home at age sixteen. Kunle Martins (b. 1980, Manhattan, New York) lives and works in New York. Known for the past two decades as Earsnot, Martins was the founder of the infamous IRAK crew of New York graffiti artists. His work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, including solo presentations at 56 HENRY, New York (2020) and Shoot the Lobster, New York (2019), and group exhibitions at Albert Merola Gallery, Provincetown, Massachusetts (2020), Jeffrey Stark, New York (2019), Bonny Poon, Paris (2015), The Hole, New York (2012), and MOCA, Los Angeles (2011), among others.