Joan Semmel: Skin in the Game

Exhibition Info
Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building
Curated by
Jodi Throckmorton, Curator of Contemporary Art
The first retrospective of Joan Semmel’s work—sixty years of the iconic artist’s groundbreaking paintings, from her early abstract-expressionist paintings through her movement-defining feminist art and activism to the vital work that she is making of her own mature body today.

Joan Semmel: Skin in the Game brings together almost sixty years of Semmel’s groundbreaking paintings, including important institutional loans; a selection of her rarely-seen drawings and collages; and a robust grouping of her current work, which foregrounds the exhibition in her still active studio practice.

The exhibition will include approximately 40 paintings that show the remarkable continuity and assiduity of Semmel’s practice, and focus on four main themes—erotic abstraction; the self; expressive figuration; and photography and painting—that traverse five decades of work and reveal a strong counter narrative to the traditional telling of the history of painting in the United States from the late 1960s to today.

Semmel’s work reflects the ongoing struggle for women’s equal representation and power to make decisions about their own bodies and sexuality while centering female empowerment through the self. In Semmel’s own words: “I do not pretend to address the problems of all women in the world. My work is personal and I speak for myself. Women artists have to speak for themselves and then unite to fight the political fight.”

Exhibition Highlights

Joan Semmel, Skin in the Game, 2019
Skin in the Game, 2019
Oil on canvas
96 x 288 in.
Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York © Joan Semmel/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Joan Semmel, Disappearing, 2006
Disappearing, 2006
Oil on canvas
54 x 46 in.
Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York © Joan Semmel/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Joan Semmel, Centered, 2002
Centered, 2002
Oil on canvas
48 x 53 in.
Private Collection © Joan Semmel/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Joan Semmel, Double Take, 1991
Double Take, 1991
Oil on canvas
68 ¼ x 60 in.
Carnegie Museum of Art, Purchase, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard M. Scaife and gift of Paul Chanin, by exchange, 2018.33
© Joan Semmel/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Joan Semmel, Zoom Lens, 1979
Zoom Lens, 1979
Oil on canvas
78 x 107 in.
Courtesy Alexander Gray Associates, New York © Joan Semmel/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Indian Erotic, 1973
Indian Erotic, 1973
Oil on canvas
54 x 72 in.
Collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Museum Purchase, 2017.18

Exhibition Support

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Joan Semmel: Skin in the Game is generously supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

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