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Past Exhibition Deborah Kass: Before and Happily Ever After

October 27, 2012–January 6, 2014


Deborah Kass, Before and Happily Ever After, 1991

Deborah Kass:Before and Happily Ever After is a major mid-career retrospective of paintings, photographs and sculpture by New York artist Deborah Kass.

The exhibition, featuring approximately 75 works, showcases Kass’ achievements over the course of her three-decade career.  After a successful decade of showing landscapes and abstract paintings during the 1980s, Kass startled the art world by appropriating the work of Andy Warhol.  Beginning in 1992, Kass presented this grouping of Warhol’s well-known celebrity paintings for a contingent of her own heroes, among them Gertrude Stein, Sandy Koufax, and Barbra Streisand (the subject of The Jewish Jackie series).  Kass’ Warholesque paintings of Streisand in Yeshiva drag from the film Yentl, titled My Elvis, are an example of the artist’s genre-and gender-bending sensibility.  This retrospective features Kass’ early landscapes, as well as her geometric abstractions.  The Art History Paintings series presents playful quips on iconic artworks and pop culture.  The exhibition concludes with the recent series, feel good paintings for feel bad times. Using nostalgia in a new way, these works incorporate lyrics borrowed from The Great American Songbook and some of the greatest hits of post war American painting. They address history, power, gender and ethnicity, which have been themes of her work for over 20 years.

Deborah Kass: Before and Happily Ever After is made possible through the generous support of PNC Financial Services.