Fallout | Jennifer Bartlett, Yayoi Kusama, Atsuko Tanaka

February 15 - June 28, 2020

Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present Fallout, a group exhibition of works by artists Jennifer Bartlett, Yayoi Kusama, and Atsuko Tanaka. The distinctive and experimental approaches taken by all three artists throughout their careers have positioned them as critical and essential voices in the development of art in the Post-War era. Fallout offers an exciting opportunity to see their work in dialogue, highlighting how their use of pattern, color, and form—almost to obsessive degrees—have resulted in singular paintings, sculptures, and installations that brim with energy and vibrant physicality. The exhibition will be on view from February 15 through April 19, 2020, at Marianne Boesky’s location in Aspen, Colorado.


“One of the fascinating aspects of experiencing Bartlett, Kusama, and Tanaka together is the way that their works converge despite the different contexts in and motivations with which they developed. With each artist, there is this sense that she is taking a whole—whether a trauma, a memory, or a feeling—and exploding it into its elements. In their paintings and installations, it produces an almost nuclear effect that causes forms to multiply. This means of processing social, political, and natural environments feels distinctly female to me, and adds to the layers of complexity within the work,” said Marianne Boesky.


Bartlett (b. 1941; Long Beach, California) is known for room-sized installations, ranging in medium, that explore her immediate environments, including houses, mountains, and the ocean. Inspired by Minimalism, she explores complex and layered ideas through systems of grids or other self-imposed structures. Working in both two and three dimensions, her installations, painting, and sculptures often start as controlled, mathematical abstractions that then shift to more painterly realism. The upcoming exhibition features paintings from Bartlett’s Monsters series, which she created in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The works translate the chaos and destruction wrought by the historic event into a system of painterly dots, confined with the grid. The tension between Bartlett’s gestural application of paint and the strict lines of the grid result in works that suggest the feeling of a contained live wire—one that might spark and break open at any moment.


Sensations of energy—bottled and released—are also essential to the experience of Tanaka’s (b. 1932; Osaka, Japan) work. As a member of the Gutai Art Association, the first radical artist collective in Post-War Japan, Tanaka created performances, installations, and objects that examined the relationships between art, technology, and human physicality, which she saw as connected by the intangible elements of light, sound, space, and electricity. Her early works incorporated electric bells, hand-painted light bulbs, and electrical cords and connectors, bringing energy quite literally into her work. Later, she began translating these evocations into paintings produced with industrial enamel paint—a selection of which will be featured in the upcoming exhibition. Depicting intertwining circles and lines, these works served to convey the relationships between body, spirit, and energy through painterly gestures.


Kusama's (b. 1929; Matsumoto, Japan) work straddles the visual and conceptual vocabularies of Pop art and Minimalism. Throughout her career, she has produced paintings, performances, room-sized presentations, outdoor sculptural installations, literary works, films, fashion, design, and architectural interventions. While diverse in medium and approach, Kusama’s works are connected by her interest in creating and referencing microscopic and macroscopic universes. By repeating and producing the patterns of dots, lines, and other geometric forms in extreme scales, she creates an infinite and overwhelming sense of space—an experience that can be defined in moments as both hallucinogenic and spiritually rapturous.