Lisa Yuskavage: The Brood

Lisa Yuskavage, Wilderness, 2009. Collection of Liz and Eric Lefkofsky. Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, New York:London

Lisa Yuskavage: The Brood surveys 25 years of painting by an artist whose work traverses styles, theories, thresholds and histories, advancing a boldly unique vision for the figurative tradition in painting and the potential relationship of the medium to contemporary culture. The Brood will be Lisa Yuskavage’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States in over 15 years, and is not so much a comprehensive survey of Yuskavage’s career but a story of notable apexes of creativity that together advance an account of her development and identity as a painter. The exhibition will invite the viewer to focus on relational concepts, specifically relationships between panels, between figures, and by extension and implication, their own bodies, through the images Yuskavage coaxes to life. From the earliest works in the exhibition, painting and the female body are both presented as sites of defiance and decadence. Painting historically has been used as a platform for wild invention and misbehavior—an anarchy of the imagination—and feminist artists since the 1970s have posed the female body as a site to be manipulated for the purposes of challenging social conventions. What distinguishes Yuskavage is her willingness to merge the high-craft refinement and grand tradition of oil painting with the expansive vocabulary of female transgression and empowerment. The boisterousness of her palette and paint application reiterate and amplify the same characteristics found in her subjects to produce paintings that assault the viewer’s eye and tempt the imagination. As the artist has said, “no one likes to be punched in the face by a woman.”