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188 East 2nd Street
New York, NY 10009
212 390 8290

Also at:
22 East 2nd Street
New York, NY 10003


172 East 2nd Street
New York, NY 10009


Karma Bookstore
136 East 3rd Street
New York, NY 10009
212 390 9279
Founded in 2011 by Brendan Dugan and currently located in NY’s East Village, Karma represents a diverse roster of multi-generational artists. The gallery hosts twenty exhibitions each year, many of which are accompanied by Karma-published monographs and artist books. In 2018, Karma opened its standalone bookstore that presents artist books and rare ephemera alongside the gallery's publications.

Works by the gallery’s artists are featured in numerous public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, among others. In addition to its two gallery spaces, Karma’s third gallery location opened in the summer of 2021.

 
Current Exhibitions

Ouattara Watts

Paintings



April 23, 2022 - June 4, 2022
Karma is pleased to present the gallery’s first solo exhibition by Ouattara Watts, Paintings. The show is on display at the gallery’s 188 E 2nd street and 172 E 2nd street locations from April 23rd to June 4th, 2022. Ouattara Watts paints as if he is searching for a common root shared by all living things. The mathematics of a fractal are positioned next to abstract forms. Textile patterns, belonging to traditions from across the globe are studied and layered between paint. Strings of numbers are interspersed with symbols used in Vodou divination. Ancient knowledge collides with contemporary philosophy. Modigliani converses with Shango of the orisha pantheon. Watts identifies himself as a “citizen of the world,” a term which both expresses his life experience and his artistic practice. He grew up in the Ivory Coast, spent a decade in Paris and has lived in New York City for the past twenty five years, considering himself an American painter; his work makes a home for itself in the tumult of cultures and histories in the United States. Ouattara’s works are frequently composed on a large, even monumental scale. Expressionist sweeps are patterned in all directions on his canvases, which are symphonies of texture—collaged together from a variety of fabrics, patterns, and found materials. Photographs peek through washes of pigment, a hat floats above a sublime collision of signs and gestures. Music is always present in Watts’s studio, where it is also a subject. Inside the Piano (2019) arranges a molecular form next to a geometric one, suspended across vertical strokes of paint, recalling the piano strings; patterns of shapes become percussive. In Sigui (2002), Watts presents a planetary, universal scope, placing a six pointed star with numbers, like mathematical values, at its intersection. This gaze is furthered in a number of works, such as Traveler in the Cosmos #2 (2018) in which the years are stacked against a figure and a gray background is pierced by white paint, as if by a beam of light. Robert Farris Thompson describes Watts as an architect building a city of the 21st century, a space of “reunion, of association, and not of division”: a much needed place, where cultures, languages, and critical modalities are bridged, in which ancient traditions and distant futures weave through a vibrant present. Karma’s exhibition of Watts’s work is accompanied by a forthcoming catalog.

Ouattara Watts

Paintings



April 23, 2022 - June 4, 2022
Karma is pleased to present the gallery’s first solo exhibition by Ouattara Watts, Paintings. The show is on display at the gallery’s 188 E 2nd street and 172 E 2nd street locations from April 23rd to June 4th, 2022. Ouattara Watts paints as if he is searching for a common root shared by all living things. The mathematics of a fractal are positioned next to abstract forms. Textile patterns, belonging to traditions from across the globe are studied and layered between paint. Strings of numbers are interspersed with symbols used in Vodou divination. Ancient knowledge collides with contemporary philosophy. Modigliani converses with Shango of the orisha pantheon. Watts identifies himself as a “citizen of the world,” a term which both expresses his life experience and his artistic practice. He grew up in the Ivory Coast, spent a decade in Paris and has lived in New York City for the past twenty five years, considering himself an American painter; his work makes a home for itself in the tumult of cultures and histories in the United States. Ouattara’s works are frequently composed on a large, even monumental scale. Expressionist sweeps are patterned in all directions on his canvases, which are symphonies of texture—collaged together from a variety of fabrics, patterns, and found materials. Photographs peek through washes of pigment, a hat floats above a sublime collision of signs and gestures. Music is always present in Watts’s studio, where it is also a subject. Inside the Piano (2019) arranges a molecular form next to a geometric one, suspended across vertical strokes of paint, recalling the piano strings; patterns of shapes become percussive. In Sigui (2002), Watts presents a planetary, universal scope, placing a six pointed star with numbers, like mathematical values, at its intersection. This gaze is furthered in a number of works, such as Traveler in the Cosmos #2 (2018) in which the years are stacked against a figure and a gray background is pierced by white paint, as if by a beam of light. Robert Farris Thompson describes Watts as an architect building a city of the 21st century, a space of “reunion, of association, and not of division”: a much needed place, where cultures, languages, and critical modalities are bridged, in which ancient traditions and distant futures weave through a vibrant present. Karma’s exhibition of Watts’s work is accompanied by a forthcoming catalog.

Alan Saret

Allies



April 21, 2022 - June 4, 2022
Karma is pleased to present Allies, a solo exhibition of sculptures and drawings by Alan Saret. The show is on display at the gallery’s 22 E 2nd Street location. In a light-filled studio in South Williamsburg, Alan Saret studies the thin web that an intruding insect had spun across the spines of a cactus. The constellation of almost invisible threads harmonizes with the sculptures of wire arranged around the room—hanging from the ceiling, tacked to walls, and stretched across the floor. This is where Saret has lived and worked for more than forty years, where he has relentlessly meted out his artistic practice and personal philosophy, influenced by his travels in India, his study of spirituality from around the world, geometry and environmentalism. Saret creates sculptures with flexible materials, composed of wire and other “non-art” mediums, alongside colored pencil drawings, time pieces and language studies. Saret focuses on the ways inorganic materials can seemingly take on organic qualities, a focus which elides easy definition within the art world. Sculptures are representative, but not by artist intent alone. In Flame Aura (1986), hundreds if not thousands of brilliant wires are looped repeatedly. The sculpture was never intended to be representational, rather its form flowed from the chorus of loops, to become like a tongue of flame. Similarly, in Zinc Cloud, (1967/1990) sheets of chicken wire, folded over one another imbue a sharp and angular material with lightness. For Saret, archetypal methods of joining materials, such as looping, twisting and knotting, unlock infinite possibilities. Wire networks emerge with an organic logic, recalling chemical bonds, synapses, and constellations, among many others. To Saret, these sculptures develop intimate alliances with the space in and around them, and with each other. It is as if Saret conjures life from his inanimate materials: this process can be described as “ensoulment,” a term he has used in titles of numerous works on paper. In his drawing, Saret is similarly attuned, searching for a balance between spontaneity and artistic intent. In the process of “gang drawing,” Saret grips a “gang” of colored pencils. His movements with the pencil are as elemental as his sculptural construction methods, at times sweeping across the paper, or making angular, geometric marks, other times rolling the pencils in his hand, producing clusters of marks. In this encounter, order and chaos engage. The pencils seem to have a will of their own. Saret can choose the color and paper, but, as in all of his work, he divests himself of total artistic control—instead, he becomes a participant in a life cycle of the material and spiritual world; a student of its rhythms and secrets. The exhibition will be accompanied by a new publication of Saret’s poetry, Alphabetaka, and a reprint of Alan Saret: Matter Into Aether, (1982) which features an essay by Klaus Kertess.

 
Past Exhibitions

Mungo Thomson

Time Life



March 5, 2022 - April 16, 2022
Karma is pleased to present Time Life, a solo exhibition of seven short videos by Mungo Thomson. This is Thomson’s first exhibition with the gallery. Mungo Thomson is a multidisciplinary artist whose work approaches material culture through a lens of deep time and cosmic scale. In Time Life, Thomson debuts a body of work that has occupied the artist for almost a decade: a series of stop-motion animations that use reference encyclopedias, photo books, how-to guides and production manuals as their raw material. The project imagines these books being scanned by a high-speed robotic book scanner, the type used by universities and tech companies to archive libraries, and proposes such a device as a new kind of filmmaking apparatus: a machine making flip-book-like animations, spitting out short anthropological essays while digitizing books for the Internet. Presented as distinct chapters, Thomson’s videos take as their subjects a wide array of human activity, from cooking to exercise to gardening to art. Highly choreographed, their thousands of images are displayed at a high frame rate, just faster than the brain can process: food is prepared; people stretch, run, dance and do yoga; flowers wheel and magnify; sculptures revolve; fingers tie decorative knots; printed color guides pulse in and out. Analog publications are reconsidered in the context of contemporary technologies. Thomson documents the passage of these documents into their digital afterlife. Thomson exploits the dualities of the digital and the analog, the video and the book, and the automated and the handmade, binding them together. He exposes the moment of digitization as a moment of transformation, in which information is sublimated into a new mode, like a solid becoming a gas. This moment is frozen, opened up and zoomed in on, and is revealed as an entry point into a startling and profound conversation about history, cultural material, technology and perception. Time Life features soundtracks by Andrea Centazzo and Pierre Favre, Laurie Spiegel, Sven-Åke Johansson, Lee Ranaldo, Ernst Karel, Pauline Oliveros and Adrian Garcia.

Tabboo!

Cityscapes



March 3, 2022 - April 16, 2022
Karma and Gordon Robichaux are pleased to present Cityscapes, a solo exhibition of paintings by Tabboo!. The expansive show will be on view across Karma’s 188 and 172 East 2nd Street locations and Gordon Robichaux at 41 Union Square West. This joint exhibition presents the most comprehensive survey to date of Tabboo!’s cityscape paintings from the last three decades. In these works, Tabboo!’s beloved stomping ground of New York City takes center stage, giving the viewer a chance to see the city through his eyes—a vantage imbued with possibility. The city has anchored Tabboo!’s practice across works on paper and on canvas. Rendered in quick, impressionistic gestures and a vivid palette, gray skies and iconic skyscrapers attest to its stoic beauty. In describing his turn to the city as muse, Tabboo! has said, “I made art about what was around me, what I knew… I know my plants. I know all my tchotchkes, my puppet collection, and New York City…. So that’s my subject matter.” These sweeping cityscapes are reminiscent of the backdrops Tabboo! painted for his drag performances in the 1980s. Dramatic colorfields render the city in moments of transition, from day into night and back again. Gleaming windows are sprinkled with glitter, scattering the sun’s brilliance as it sets. An indelible energy soaks these cityscapes, many of which depict the view from Tabboo!’s apartment windows. “I paint from my Alphabet City apartment, which I’ve lived in for forty years,” Tabboo! explains. Here’s my big fancy artist statement: I don’t have one! I just do what I do.” The exhibition is accompanied by a forthcoming fully-illustrated catalogue, featuring newly commissioned essays by Ksenia M. Soboleva, Jonathan D. Katz, and Eileen Myles.

Tabboo!

Cityscapes



March 3, 2022 - April 16, 2022
Karma and Gordon Robichaux are pleased to present Cityscapes, a solo exhibition of paintings by Tabboo!. The expansive show will be on view across Karma’s 188 and 172 East 2nd Street locations and Gordon Robichaux at 41 Union Square West. This joint exhibition presents the most comprehensive survey to date of Tabboo!’s cityscape paintings from the last three decades. In these works, Tabboo!’s beloved stomping ground of New York City takes center stage, giving the viewer a chance to see the city through his eyes—a vantage imbued with possibility. The city has anchored Tabboo!’s practice across works on paper and on canvas. Rendered in quick, impressionistic gestures and a vivid palette, gray skies and iconic skyscrapers attest to its stoic beauty. In describing his turn to the city as muse, Tabboo! has said, “I made art about what was around me, what I knew… I know my plants. I know all my tchotchkes, my puppet collection, and New York City…. So that’s my subject matter.” These sweeping cityscapes are reminiscent of the backdrops Tabboo! painted for his drag performances in the 1980s. Dramatic colorfields render the city in moments of transition, from day into night and back again. Gleaming windows are sprinkled with glitter, scattering the sun’s brilliance as it sets. An indelible energy soaks these cityscapes, many of which depict the view from Tabboo!’s apartment windows. “I paint from my Alphabet City apartment, which I’ve lived in for forty years,” Tabboo! explains. Here’s my big fancy artist statement: I don’t have one! I just do what I do.” The exhibition is accompanied by a forthcoming fully-illustrated catalogue, featuring newly commissioned essays by Ksenia M. Soboleva, Jonathan D. Katz, and Eileen Myles.

Louise Fishman

1960's: Darkness and Light



January 14, 2022 - February 26, 2022
Karma is pleased to present 1960s: Darkness and Light, a solo exhibition of nine never-before-seen historical paintings by Louise Fishman. The exhibition will be held at Karma’s 22 East 2nd street location, and is the gallery’s second solo exhibition with Louise Fishman. Widely known for her gestural markmaking and atmospheric spaces, Fishman’s paintings from 1962 and 1963 showcase some of the artist’s earliest forays into abstraction, beginning with her first abstract painting in 1961. Drawn to nonrepresentational art, Fishman “felt that Abstract Expressionist work was an appropriate language for me as a queer. It was a hidden language, on the radical fringe, a language appropriate to being separate.” The nine works on display were finished between Fishman’s last year at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and her first year of graduate school at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. They are imbued with the passionate gestures that in the coming years would unfurl into the saturated grid compositions for which she would become widely known. These paintings register the academic sensibilities of Fishman’s surroundings at the time: glass bottles, set tables, and other figurative elements ubiquitous to still lives and art school morph into nascent abstract formations. She often referenced the professors she held dear throughout her formal training, such as Herman Gundersheimer, an art historian and prior director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin. After a gap year, Fishman graduated from Tyler with a dual degree in art and education, encouraged by her father to obtain a practical certification. During these early years, her identity as a woman in the arts was particularly influenced by her proximity to two professionally active female painters: her mother and her aunt. Fishman would later note that she was “most influenced by their determination and love of painting more than by any particular style.” The works in 1960s: Darkness and Light were created under formative conditions, when Fishman was learning about herself as an artist as well as first encountering the professional expectations and limitations that she confronted for the rest of her career. In these early works, Fishman departs from the world of recognizable forms, often cloaking her compositions with black and burgundy to throw focus onto the more abstract elements. Fishman’s early defiance against the painterly norms of her academic setting contains the same energy that she would carry throughout her practice: a breaking with convention that was informed by her identities as a woman, a lesbian, a feminist, and lifelong student of painting. Here, for the first time, the foundations that Fishman laid can be seen and felt—a home built from abstraction, according to the requirements that she alone set for herself. This exhibition is accompanied by a forthcoming fully illustrated catalogue featuring newly commissioned essays by Rachel Haidu, Archie Rand, and Carter Ratcliff.

Maja Ruznic

Consulting With Shadows



January 13, 2022 - February 26, 2022
Karma is pleased to present Consulting With Shadows, a solo exhibition of paintings by Maja Ruznic. The exhibition will be held at 188 and 172 East 2nd street, and is Ruznic’s inaugural solo exhibition with Karma. Ruznic invokes the profundity of shadows with her palette, evidencing the beauty and clarity that can emerge from literal—and psychological—darkness. “Noticing color at night is like receiving an unexpected gift,” she explains. Formed in the crucible of sleepless nights after the birth of her daughter, while struggling with postpartum depression, Ruznic’s recent work depicts permutations of a family unit: Father; Daughter; Mother & Child; Mother & Father; Father Daughter Mother. Blurred forms bleed into one another on deep, jewel tones. So too, personal and ancient history blends with Ruznic’s treatment. The real night intermingles with the psychological night of anguish and melts into the mythic underworld. Personal experiences of motherhood are saturated by her own exploration of the Sumerian goddess Inanna, who journeys to a world of shadows. Ruznic begins with rich pigment on linen, layering translucent stains to produce a diaphanous and almost magical quality. She pulls out figures from the surface, using opaque oils to further detail the found forms. The final product is the result of deep looking: through her delineation, indistinct forms take the shape of torsos and bodies, assembled in individual and group portraits. In Mother (Green Hand), (2021), a female figure glances downward, her hands clasped in her lap, while a spectral, disembodied hand hovers above her left shoulder. Father & Child (Ochre), (2021) depicts a standing man holding a baby in one arm, a version of her own husband and child. Their faintly described purple and teal figures echo a similarly-toned gridded backdrop, and a dimly glowing iridescent handprint on the man’s torso indicates the presence of an invisible ‘other’—one that has visually, and perhaps symbolically, left their mark on the pair. These idiosyncratic inclusions reflect how Ruznic has come to view the roles of her new family unit: interrelated and interdependent. In more abstract works, Ruznic teases the senses with texture and color: faint forms barely peek through large swaths of deep-hued paint, evoking the comfort and darkness of the womb. Two paintings show the influence of Rothko through brushy sweeps of one color group, and engender the spiritual through their titles of Re-Birth. In several works titled Father Daughter Mother, a sequence of triangles evokes Ruznic’s own tripartite family structure, and points to the universality of this structure through the form’s repetition. Around the time of her daughter’s birth, Ruznic considered the Sumerian myth of the goddess Inanna, and her turbulent yet rehabilitating journey to visit the Queen of the Night in the underworld. Drawing comfort from this allegory of courage during her own tempestuous, sleepless nights, Ruznic came to view her insomnia as a psychological pilgrimage: nocturnal excursions into the self that provided reflection, cleansing, and ultimately renewal. To be sleepless at night is to touch the shadow of the self, to commune more honestly with desire, and to bear witness as personal hardships converse with their archetypal forms. For Ruznic, it is the dark that reveals this vibrant world, where colors bloom, in which all things are reborn. The exhibition is accompanied by a forthcoming comprehensive, fully-illustrated monograph, featuring a newly commissioned essay by Anne Boyer and a conversation between Jordan Kantor and Maja Ruznic.

Maja Ruznic

Consulting With Shadows



January 13, 2022 - February 26, 2022
Karma is pleased to present Consulting With Shadows, a solo exhibition of paintings by Maja Ruznic. The exhibition will be held at 188 and 172 East 2nd street, and is Ruznic’s inaugural solo exhibition with Karma. Ruznic invokes the profundity of shadows with her palette, evidencing the beauty and clarity that can emerge from literal—and psychological—darkness. “Noticing color at night is like receiving an unexpected gift,” she explains. Formed in the crucible of sleepless nights after the birth of her daughter, while struggling with postpartum depression, Ruznic’s recent work depicts permutations of a family unit: Father; Daughter; Mother & Child; Mother & Father; Father Daughter Mother. Blurred forms bleed into one another on deep, jewel tones. So too, personal and ancient history blends with Ruznic’s treatment. The real night intermingles with the psychological night of anguish and melts into the mythic underworld. Personal experiences of motherhood are saturated by her own exploration of the Sumerian goddess Inanna, who journeys to a world of shadows. Ruznic begins with rich pigment on linen, layering translucent stains to produce a diaphanous and almost magical quality. She pulls out figures from the surface, using opaque oils to further detail the found forms. The final product is the result of deep looking: through her delineation, indistinct forms take the shape of torsos and bodies, assembled in individual and group portraits. In Mother (Green Hand), (2021), a female figure glances downward, her hands clasped in her lap, while a spectral, disembodied hand hovers above her left shoulder. Father & Child (Ochre), (2021) depicts a standing man holding a baby in one arm, a version of her own husband and child. Their faintly described purple and teal figures echo a similarly-toned gridded backdrop, and a dimly glowing iridescent handprint on the man’s torso indicates the presence of an invisible ‘other’—one that has visually, and perhaps symbolically, left their mark on the pair. These idiosyncratic inclusions reflect how Ruznic has come to view the roles of her new family unit: interrelated and interdependent. In more abstract works, Ruznic teases the senses with texture and color: faint forms barely peek through large swaths of deep-hued paint, evoking the comfort and darkness of the womb. Two paintings show the influence of Rothko through brushy sweeps of one color group, and engender the spiritual through their titles of Re-Birth. In several works titled Father Daughter Mother, a sequence of triangles evokes Ruznic’s own tripartite family structure, and points to the universality of this structure through the form’s repetition. Around the time of her daughter’s birth, Ruznic considered the Sumerian myth of the goddess Inanna, and her turbulent yet rehabilitating journey to visit the Queen of the Night in the underworld. Drawing comfort from this allegory of courage during her own tempestuous, sleepless nights, Ruznic came to view her insomnia as a psychological pilgrimage: nocturnal excursions into the self that provided reflection, cleansing, and ultimately renewal. To be sleepless at night is to touch the shadow of the self, to commune more honestly with desire, and to bear witness as personal hardships converse with their archetypal forms. For Ruznic, it is the dark that reveals this vibrant world, where colors bloom, in which all things are reborn. The exhibition is accompanied by a forthcoming comprehensive, fully-illustrated monograph, featuring a newly commissioned essay by Anne Boyer and a conversation between Jordan Kantor and Maja Ruznic.

Nicolas Party

Watercolor



November 18, 2021 - January 8, 2022
Karma is pleased to present Watercolor, a solo exhibition of around fifty recent watercolor paintings by Nicolas Party. The exhibition will be on view at Karma’s 22 East 2nd Street location. Party’s perennial subjects are familiar yet uncanny: the sunsets and treescapes in Watercolor are transformed through vibrant jewel-toned palettes and unorthodox compositions. His colors are saturated and evocative, more focused on optical effects than verisimilitude. Elongated forms and smooth textures distill landscapes to their essential geometry. Party’s idiosyncratic approach conjures an immersive and surreal environment that is at once steeped in reference and extraordinarily distinctive. Nicolas Party describes trees as “nature’s alphabets,” finding in this subject an “infinite flexibility…which makes its execution endlessly playful.” From Party’s vantage, the known world is tilted off its axis. An emerald forest of overlapping foliage is fashioned from stains and blots of pigment. Clouds become amoeba-like, melting into dark miasma; willowy subjects rustle in unheard breezes. Party honors watercolor’s alchemical properties. “Water creates natural movement that forms shapes on the paper,” he explains. “You have to let the fluid element of the paint do its part—the painting is moving and alive for several seconds.” Party’s mastery unites his technical sensibility with his thematic approach. The compositions themselves are alive, shimmering upon first glance. Their forms waver between the natural order of things and the spontaneous, hidden grammars of the unconscious. For Party, sunrises and sunsets are markers of the cosmic. They are, as he puts it, “a great poetic reminder that we belong to longer cycles of time.” Throughout his seascapes a vermilion sun stands vigil: in a vignette where a wave surges high into the clouds, the sun peeks through a wash of blues. A minimally-colored work with no horizon line is stained with a grey sweep and a conflagrant red circle at center. Landscape and context are scaled against deep time, rendered immaterial by the cyclical perpetuity of daybreak and sundown. Party’s sunrises and sunsets simultaneously capture the momentary and the ephemeral. Party reads trees and landscapes as “constant markers, essential ingredients which always need to be used,” referring to their storied lineage in visual culture. Party’s watercolors emerge from this historical thicket: as he explains, “I like imagining a forest made of all the trees ever painted.”

Keith Mayerson

My American Dream: This Land is Your Land



November 16, 2021 - January 8, 2022
Karma is pleased to present My American Dream: This Land is Your Land, a solo exhibition by Keith Mayerson. “This Land is Your Land is the latest chapter of a personal project called My American Dream, a narrative series that I began twenty years ago after witnessing the attack in New York on September 11th, 2001. I felt that the 9/11 crisis was a call to action for me to focus on the forces that make American Dreams become realities. I rendered the images that inspired me and gave me hope—the cultural icons, civil rights leaders, family scenes, and sublime landscapes that represent what is at stake for me and family and country. After thirty years with my husband Andrew Madrid (and twelve years of our legal marriage), the narrative continues: My American Dream celebrates the icons that made our domestic dream possible and made America something to cherish and love. The heroes of my life, from childhood to now, give me guidance, faith, and solace. I hope to communicate their spirit to the viewer: they are worthy of memorialization as reminders that our country’s democracy is worth saving. All the works in the show depict philosophers and activists, cultural leaders and icons, and American vistas that have captivated and influenced me deeply. Each of them symbolize how the American Dream is forged by dream seekers of all kinds. I created this series of paintings and drawings to help me process our moment, focusing on the heroic guardian angels that light our way in dark times. Together, as a narrative installation, I think of this body of work as a panoramic tableau: like Duccio di Buoninsegna’s The Temptation of Christ on the Mountain at the Frick Museum (as appropriated in a painting for this exhibition) that was originally just one panel of a huge altarpiece in Siena, I also hope that each work can stand on its own, as in the individual panels of a cathedral fresco. My American Dream is a cosmology of the America we live in. This Land is Your Land focuses on the profound transformational leaders that have made that dream possible today. With inspiration, optimism, and hope, we can learn from our past to continue to build an awesome future.” —Keith Mayerson

Keith Mayerson

My American Dream: This Land is Your Land



November 16, 2021 - January 8, 2022
Karma is pleased to present My American Dream: This Land is Your Land, a solo exhibition by Keith Mayerson. “This Land is Your Land is the latest chapter of a personal project called My American Dream, a narrative series that I began twenty years ago after witnessing the attack in New York on September 11th, 2001. I felt that the 9/11 crisis was a call to action for me to focus on the forces that make American Dreams become realities. I rendered the images that inspired me and gave me hope—the cultural icons, civil rights leaders, family scenes, and sublime landscapes that represent what is at stake for me and family and country. After thirty years with my husband Andrew Madrid (and twelve years of our legal marriage), the narrative continues: My American Dream celebrates the icons that made our domestic dream possible and made America something to cherish and love. The heroes of my life, from childhood to now, give me guidance, faith, and solace. I hope to communicate their spirit to the viewer: they are worthy of memorialization as reminders that our country’s democracy is worth saving. All the works in the show depict philosophers and activists, cultural leaders and icons, and American vistas that have captivated and influenced me deeply. Each of them symbolize how the American Dream is forged by dream seekers of all kinds. I created this series of paintings and drawings to help me process our moment, focusing on the heroic guardian angels that light our way in dark times. Together, as a narrative installation, I think of this body of work as a panoramic tableau: like Duccio di Buoninsegna’s The Temptation of Christ on the Mountain at the Frick Museum (as appropriated in a painting for this exhibition) that was originally just one panel of a huge altarpiece in Siena, I also hope that each work can stand on its own, as in the individual panels of a cathedral fresco. My American Dream is a cosmology of the America we live in. This Land is Your Land focuses on the profound transformational leaders that have made that dream possible today. With inspiration, optimism, and hope, we can learn from our past to continue to build an awesome future.” —Keith Mayerson

Peter Bradley



October 7, 2021 - November 13, 2021

Manoucher Yektai



September 30, 2021 - November 13, 2021
Karma is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings by Manoucher Yektai (b. 1921, Tehran, Iran; d. 2019, New York, NY). The exhibition will take place at Karma’s 188 and 172 East 2nd street locations, and will be Karma’s first show with Yektai. With decadent colors, loose brushstrokes, and heavy-handed impasto, Yektai’s paintings fuse Eastern and Western traditions, synthesizing a unique blend of abstraction and figuration that owed as much to Franz Kline as it did to Cezanne and the poetry of Rumi. Influenced by his early life in Iran, his visits to Paris, and the New York School, Yektai is recognized as one of the few Abstract Expressionists who continued working in the traditional still life genre. An accomplished poet, he approached the act of painting with the melodic sensibility of his own free verse poems. The work on display at Karma charts Yektai’s output over the course of the late 1950s to the early 2000s, spotlighting his novel consideration of form, color, and space. At 188 East 2nd street, the exhibition showcases the evolution of Yektai’s still lifes from the late 1970s to the end of the 1990s. In the 1970s, Yektai’s careful arrangements of still lifes comprising of fruit, flowers, and plants explore the perennial subject of the line using a palette knife; his marks are truncated, intentional, and choreographed in tight, rigid compositions—a departure from the loose brushstrokes he used in the 1960s. The paintings are a radical fusion of expressionism and the representational—short dashes of color evoke the movement of bunched fabric and buoyant flower petals; heavily layered swaths of paint carve out fruits and cutlery set on the grid of the tablecloth. A few years later, Yektai’s still lifes begin to explore a dialogue between the interior and exterior. Strong horizontal structures represent the borders of windows, introducing a motif that would persist in his work throughout the 1980s and 90s. Yektai painted his canvases on the floor, a mode he shared with artists such as Pollock and Frankenthaler, allowing himself a balance of freedom and control. His paintings break up volume into a multitude of planar surfaces, combining the aerial perspective with the traditional frontal view of still lifes. Reminiscent of Cubism, this gesture erodes the distinction between figure and ground while presenting a sculptural third dimension. The paintings in the back room of the gallery from the early 1960s allow for closer examination of his fluid brushwork. Meandering brushstrokes occasionally give way to discernable subjects, exploring the legibility of form. Yektai’s canvases capture the emergence of his visual language, one which, as Media Farzin notes, “never lost sight of the subject as both anchor and catapult of abstraction.” Clumps of yellow dabs evoke piles of lemons. Blue and white dashes chisel out the highlights and shadows in drapery. According to Slifkin, these works were “a decidedly transitive operation: the painter abstracts something, taking a subject, whether it is a human figure, an object, or even an emotional state or affective memory, and through an array of distilling and distorting processes renders it indeterminate, enigmatic, and in a constant state of becoming.” Intimately sized canvases in 172 East 2nd Street center around smaller moments: a petite floral arrangement; a solitary bloom; a cluster of ripening tomatoes. Their small scale holds a narrower focus, highlighting the juxtaposition of thick plasters of paint against thinned satin strokes of color. Ranging from the mid 1950s to the early 2000s, these works are sites of smaller experimentation, illuminating how the smallest gesture can contain an abundance of visual information. They highlight the poetry of Yektai’s gesture, and how abstraction exists at the crossroads of his two practices—both in the transmutation of feelings into the written word, and in the conversion of life into paint. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated monograph featuring essays by Robert Slifkin, Fereshteh Daftari, Media Farzin, and Biddle Duke, as well as a conversation between Hadi Fallapisheh and Tahereh Fallazadeh.

Manoucher Yektai



September 30, 2021 - November 13, 2021

Organized by Hilton Als

Get Lifted!



August 19, 2021 - October 2, 2021
Diane Arbus, Anthony Barboza, Peter Bradley, Jared Buckheister, Alice Coltrane, Somaya Critchlow, Brett Goodroad, Louise Fishman, Marley Freeman, Lee Friedlander, Reggie Burrows Hodges, Andrew Lamar Hopkins, Peter Hujar, Siobhan Liddell, Glenn Ligon, Jesse Murry, Ana Mendieta, Alice Neel, Senga Nengundi, Dan Nicoletta, Edward Owens, Paul Pfeiffer, Ntozake Shange, Gertrude Stein & Virgil Thomson, Tabboo!, Paul Thek, James Van Der Zee, Stacy Lynn Waddell, Kelley Walker, Frank Walter, and Jack Whitten Karma is pleased to present Get Lifted!, an exhibition organized by Hilton Als. In 1951, the painter Dorothea Tanning created Interior with Sudden Joy. In this detailed, haunting piece, the late American-born painter and poet focuses on two female figures, their arms around each other in an unidentifiable space. One of the young women plays with a shaggy dog, while the other looks toward a dark nude figure who clings to a tree or some other biomorphic shape. Beyond these three, there is another person, gender-nonspecific, standing in darkness beyond an open door and holding a light-filled sphere. Rendered with great precision, Interior with Sudden Joy emphasizes how light illuminates darkness and changes it. The painting is a depiction of the surprise and freedom that a work of art—or a dream—can generate. Painted near the start of what feels like our permanent Cold War, Tanning’s work is a detail-rich explosion of energy and insight that grew out of a repressive time. Similarly, Get Lifted! is an examination and celebration of how, in dark times and just after, the artist’s creative process can reaffirm life in its effort to describe it. In this group exhibition featuring artists ranging from Diane Arbus and Peter Hujar to Louise Fishman and Reggie Burrows Hodges, the viewer is treated to works in a variety of media—painting, film, photography—that, essentially, describe faith: in the transgressive body, in political freedom, in ecclesiastical belief, in sexual forthrightness and desire, in the release from the corporeal to the spiritual and, thus, the ecstatic. Ecstasy, from the Greek ekstasis, meaning to “to stand outside or transcend oneself,” can be an opportunity of sorts for artists who are interested in carrying themselves and their audience beyond previously accepted forms of art, music, literature, dance, performance. Hard times can bring about an explosion of change, a view toward transformation. In Get Lifted!, visual artists such as Ana Mendieta and Paul Pfeiffer remake figures into something else, or make the figure disappear, while Jared Buckhiester and Stacy Lynn Waddell use the privacy of isolation as an occasion for their subjects to undergo some sort of transformation. Get Lifted! also showcases the work of creators who not only transformed their genre but mined the ecstatic over and over. The legendary pianist, harpist and composer Alice Coltrane, and the poet, performer, and playwright Ntozake Shange both, in their own way, expressed what Shange described so trenchantly in her 1972 poem, “My Father is a Retired Magician”: my father is a retired magician which accounts for my irregular behavior […] & the reason i’m so peculiar’s cuz i been studyin up on my daddy’s technique & everythin i do is magic these days & it’s very colored very now you see it/ now you dont mess wit me Collectively, these seminal artists had a profound effect on American culture from the 1940s on. Their work is a testament to the ecstatic and to how the ecstatic impulse can change not only art but the society that produces it. The visual artists of Get Lifted! demonstrate how art married to the spirit can lift us up collectively, one at a time. —Hilton Als

Mathew Cerletty

This



August 14, 2021 - September 25, 2021
Mathew Cerletty’s This is an intimate showcase of nine colored pencil drawings made over the past year. Each drawing, on textured cold-press watercolor paper, reverently depicts an emphatically singular subject. This rubber duckie, this flower pot, this bag of groceries, each presented without context beyond their own wish to connect. The familiar objects feature a rich variety of materials, colors and forms that keep the eye searching for visual and conceptual rhymes, like a puzzle with evolving logic. Two of the works, a female pelvis and a model human heart, give a glimpse of the bigger picture and hint at the existential weight we’re all feeling. In a world of relentless urgency, doesn’t it make sense to reach for comfort in something simple and beautiful and correct? There’s sanctuary in Cerletty’s exactitude: the perfect yellow, the perfect edge, the perfect version of itself. But of course there’s no such thing as a line that’s true, and the authority of his authorship ultimately gives way to the shifting meanings that surround us.

The De Luxe Show



August 12, 2021 - September 25, 2021
Darby Bannard, Peter Bradley, Anthony Caro, Dan Christensen, Ed Clark, Sam Gilliam, Robert Gordon, Richard Hunt, Virginia Jaramillo, Daniel LaRue Johnson, Craig Kauffman, Al Loving, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons, Michael Steiner, William T. Williams, and James Wolfe “Art exists everywhere around us. The colors and shapes of paintings and sculptures are seen in our daily lives. The artists in this exhibition depict in their works the urge for complete exploration. These works carry a particular clarity: a window into a new art. Their art is honest and wide open, not burdened with gestures and other clichés. This art should be like the new world we’re all striving toward, free of obstruction.” —Peter Bradley, “The Deluxe Show: Art Goes to the People.” Southwest Art Gallery Magazine, September 1971, 14. Karma and Parker Gallery are pleased to present a contemporary bicoastal tribute to The De Luxe Show, the landmark 1971 exhibition at the DeLUXE theater in Houston, in honor of its 50th anniversary. The show will be on view at Karma’s 188 East 2nd Street location in New York and Parker Gallery’s Los Angeles space. The De Luxe Show was a milestone as one of the first racially integrated shows in the United States. The exhibition was curated by Peter Bradley with the backing of collector and philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil, and featured emerging and established abstract modern painters and sculptors of the time, including Darby Bannard, Peter Bradley, Anthony Caro, Dan Christensen, Ed Clark, Frank Davis, Sam Gilliam, Robert Gordon, Richard Hunt, Virginia Jaramillo, Daniel LaRue Johnson, Craig Kauffman, Al Loving, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons, Michael Steiner, William T. Williams, and James Wolfe. Karma and Parker Gallery will each display work by all of The De Luxe Show’s original artists. A selection of recent and historical works will be on view, including a number of pieces from the original 1971 exhibition. Peter Bradley recognized an institutional preference for figurative works by Black American artists—particularly for imagery depicting narratives of struggle—and found that the bias othered Black artists and excluded them from contemporary art historical conversations. Bradley aimed to counter this curatorial oversimplification, and to promote inclusivity in non-figurative art movements. Bridget R. Cooks describes The De Luxe Show as “a conceptual project that was as much about freedom from the expectation of what art by black artists should look like, as the freedom to make art without content and explore a phenomenological experience of the object.” The visionary show helped pave new avenues of recognition for marginalized artists, and was conceived with the belief that participation in genres should not be limited along racial lines. A seminal example of Caro’s rejection of sculptural convention, The Bull (1970) is placed on the gallery floor rather than on a pedestal, encouraging the viewer to engage with the steel sculpture as an environmental feature rather than as an elevated art object. Sam Gilliam’s Beveled-Edge and Drape paintings, Along (1968) and Drape (1970), register his groundbreaking approach to painting as sculpture by modifying and removing the canvas from its stretcher bars. At nearly ten feet tall, Peter Bradley’s Barbantum (1972) is monolithic: its atmospheric washes of browns and blues are interrupted by thickly plastered acrylic paint. Titled with GPS coordinates of ancient cultural sites, Virginia Jaramillo’s recent “Site” paintings are comprised of planar shapes and muted tones. Site: No. 12 38.4824° N, 22.5010° E (2018) alludes to the ancient theater at Delphi, conceptually linking the architectural landmark to hard edge color field abstraction. Karma and Parker Gallery’s exhibition pays tribute to the pioneering legacies of the De Luxe artists, continuing the dialogue they started fifty years ago—one that remains relevant today. The show will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue containing the works on display and installation views from the 1971 exhibition. The publication will also include texts from the 1971 catalogue, as well as a newly commissioned text by Amber Jamilla Musser and a text by Bridget R. Cooks that expands upon her 2013 essay in Gulf Coast. Thank you to Peter Bradley, Berry Campbell, the Anthony Caro Centre, the Estate of Ed Clark, Garth Greenan Gallery, Sam Gilliam, Robert Gordon, Hales Gallery, Hauser & Wirth, Timothy C. Headington, Richard Hunt, Virginia Jaramillo, David Kordansky Gallery, the Estate of Al Loving, the Menil Collection, Audrey and David Mirvish, Morrison Gallery, Jared Najjar Gallery, N’Namdi Contemporary Fine Art Miami, the Kenneth Noland Foundation, Orange County Museum of Art, Larry Poons, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, Michael Steiner, Frank Stella, William T. Williams, James Wolfe, Yares Art, and all other lenders for your generous support.

Lee Lozano

DRAWINGS 1959-64



July 12, 2021 - August 13, 2021
Karma is pleased to present Lee Lozano: Drawings 1959–64, a solo exhibition of two hundred works on paper. The comprehensive survey inaugurates Karma’s 22 East 2nd Street location. Lozano’s drawings register a social consciousness that was radical for its time and continues to be groundbreaking in the present day. Her transgressive and experimental illustrations dissect institutionalized power, behavioral propriety, and gender socialization with zealous intensity. Challenging norms of respectability, Lozano’s works are “anti-skill, antisocial, antithetical, a “manly,” macho display, figured in the touch and tone as much as in the innuendos and imagery,” as Tamar Gabar aptly notes. The works on display span from early traditional studies made while enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago to the provocative iconography that emerged once she moved to New York. Early work from 1959 shows her experimenting with the formal elements of her classical education. Sequences of ghostly self portraits are introspective and sentimental. Lozano renders sunken eyes and folded hands using delicate parallel hatch marks, evoking Renaissance masters such as Albrecht Dürer and Raphael. Cavernous faces gradually hollow out into hastily inked skulls and macabre anatomical studies. After relocating to New York in late 1960, her works become aggressive and mercurial. Urgent crayon sketches—which she referred to as ‘comix’—meld together traffic lights, mechanical devices, electrical systems, and human parts, blurring the division between machine and body. Around 1962, Lozano begins to incorporate airplane imagery. The planes fly into bodily orifices and bob alongside dollar bills, with male sexual organs dangling from their undercarriages. Iris Müller-Westermann proposes that these forms act as “metaphors for a kind of thought energy—for ideas circulating, being heard and taken in, processed, produced, and sent out again. One could regard these airplane pictures as investigations of the raw material necessary for every sort of creative activity.” In 1963, Lozano’s visual vocabulary settles on absurd humor, introducing overtly sexual iconography. Through pictorial puns and wordplay, anthropoid illustrations of masculine and feminine-charged tools and objects examine gender conventions by engaging in what Molesworth calls a “a veritable porno of protrusions and holes, screaming with the electric energy of screwing, boring, plugging, and drilling.” In drawings more humorous than lecherous, Lozano severs phallic representations from their historic associations with potency and eroticism. She recuperates imagery often thought of as undignified and indelicate. The phrases “man cocking his ear” and “man with cocked head” are juxtaposed with graphic, literal interpretations of those words, and the caption “BLOW!” is scrawled next to a cartoonish character whose nose and phallus have exchanged places. Quick, barely-modeled pencil sketches show plugs sliding into sockets and an oversized wrench protruding out of the unzippered fly of a pair of blue jeans. A virile hammer gyrates on a nail alongside the text “ride ride,” playing off the idiomatic implication of a ‘tool.’ A hand grasps a crucifix, the top end of the symbol resembling a phallus—a recurring motif that conflates pious fervor and lust. More deliberately shaded and modeled than their ‘comix’ counterparts, later drawings of screwdrivers, scissors, and pipe clamps would serve as studies for her 1964 Tool paintings. Aggressive and rebellious, Lozano’s works from this period explore the way structural elements link and interlace, appropriating a masculine vigor to escape socialized gender restrictions. Her pioneering works do not stand at a remove from their subjects; their themes of body politics are intimate and relevant to her lived experience. Blurring the personal and the public, Lozano was, as Lucy Lippard notes, “extraordinarily intense, one of the first, if not the first person…who did the life-as-art thing.” Though relatively unknown during her lifetime, this early body of work has been retroactively lauded as instrumental to understanding the trajectory of Lozano’s practice. The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive monograph of over 500 works created between 1958 and 1964. The publication includes newly commissioned essays by Helen Molesworth and Tamar Garb. Special thanks to Barry Rosen, Jaap van Liere, and Hauser & Wirth for their collaboration on this exhibition and publication.

Andrew Cranston

Waiting for the Bell



June 24, 2021 - August 6, 2021
“A painting by Andrew Cranston is a forest of reeds, going in, or a thick storm of rain, or a cloud of steam: we make out big things, and we get the textures first. We are moist or dry or scared or loved. We stay. We look around. We ask for directions, perhaps, from the people we’ve met. They might be walking a dog or setting a table or even painting a painting. If there is a dog, we play with the dog.” —Stephanie Burt Karma is pleased to present Waiting for the Bell, an exhibition of recent paintings by Andrew Cranston (b. 1969, Hawick, UK). This is the artist’s first New York solo exhibition. Cranston creates transportive images that destabilize our sense of time: they invite the viewer to explore a space between nostalgia and the realm of the dream. Dense blots of oil graze on top of washes of distemper, guiding the viewer’s eye through thick and thin layers of pigment. Kindling the wistful poetics of a distant, perhaps imagined, memory, Cranston’s vignettes remove themselves from the constant rhythm of time. The images in Waiting for the Bell conjure a state of liminality—the feeling of being suspended in a dream before the alarm jolts one back to reality. Dappled brushwork, delicate hues, and cloisonne-like textures dance across the surfaces of Cranton’s still lives, landscapes, and interiors. The imagery draws from stories, poems, images, and experiences that emerge from the artist’s subconscious. Each painting’s layering is guided by intuition: a reference to a Carole King album cover is interlaced alongside allusions to jazz history, the writing of Muriel Spark, and visions of the Scottish coast. Cranston uses both additive and reductive processes in his paintings. He dyes the canvas with pigment, later bleaching over the stain to create negative spaces that evoke figurative forms—what he refers to as “found images.” The resulting compositions are collaborations between chance and intention. For his small-scale works, Cranston uses hard book covers as surfaces, implicating their history and patina in his pictures. He incorporates the unique features of these found objects. Leafy trees in House of the famous poet and a gilt mirror in Madame deux cent are placed over the debossing on the covers, integrating the medium and texture of the novel as picture plane. Harvest of a quiet eye, its title taken from William Wordsworth’s A Poet’s Epitaph, features a table with a corrugated surface, the oil paint thinned to highlight the cover’s decorative grooves. With an ochre palette resembling a sepia-toned picture, the painting’s lyrical trees, mountains, fruits, and vases stylistically reflect Wordsworth’s romantic musings. Shifting from a gem-like scale to a monumental size, Cranston’s larger works are painted, more traditionally, on canvas. Landscape with Rangers players sets the Scottish Football Club in a beachfront vista. Recalling the muted coloring and thin washes in William Blake’s paintings, Cranston uses strokes of varying opacity to indicate the swells of waves and the irregular shapes of clouds in motion and the sky in flux. With mauve and coral hues ambiguously presenting either dawn or dusk, the artist draws attention to the passage of time, binding the ephemeral landscape in pattern, space, and sentiment. In the show’s titular piece, Waiting for the Bell, a lone woman dressed in yellow contemplatively sits in a wicker chair against a panoply of deep and pale reds. The variegated background emerges from a dyed and bleached surface; thick strokes of oil paint and faded striations indicate a thicket of near and far trees, their recessive quality echoed through the physicality of Cranston’s additive and subtractive process. The monochromatic setting mutes the scene, letting the musicality of glowing orbs ring through the scene like twinkling bells. Luminous and meditative, the scene captures the reflective constitution of Cranston’s practice; the lone woman wanders in and out of daydreams, the real world put on pause. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue published collaboratively by Karma and Ingleby Gallery, UK. The catalogue contains newly commissioned essays by Stephanie Burt and Barry Schwabsky.

Kathleen Ryan



May 6, 2021 - June 19, 2021