Mary Heilmann’s exhhibition at Zwirner & Wirth features paintings and works on paper from the last three decades. Heilmann draws inspiration from her own experience, including the Southern California surf culture of her childhood, the San Francisco beatnik era of her teen years, the punk and new wave music scenes of 1970s and early 80s New York, and her formal training as a sculptor and ceramist. The paintings incorporate a complex amalgam of personal references, cultural influences, and craft traditions in an art practice that includes painting, painted ceramics, and constructed furniture. In October, the Heilmann retrospective organized by the Orange County Museum opens at the New Museum. Check out James Kalm’s video of Heilmann’s opening at Zwirner & Wirth.
Also read Dorothy Spears’s profile of Heilmann in the NY Times. “Over time, she said, she has learned ‘not to be cynical and sarcastic all the time, or just plain provocative with the fellas, to get them mad.’ Still, her belated success gives her a longing for just one more round with the big boys. ‘I wish Smithson would come back,’ Ms. Heilmann said of her onetime idol, who died in 1973, ‘and say, �Oh, you�re not such a dumb girl.� ‘�
“Mary Heilmann: Some Pretty Colors,” Zwirner and Wirth, New York, NY. Through Oct. 25.
James Kalm interview with ART21 guest blogger, Hrag Vartanian
Mary Heilmann retrospective: injecting vernacular juice into abstract art