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22 E 2nd Street
New York, NY 10003


Also at:
172 East 2nd Street
New York, NY 10009


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

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 is set to be completed in the summer of 2021.

 
Current Exhibitions

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

 
Past Exhibitions

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