Credit: Courtesy of the artist and Cabinet, London
Release Date: December 12, 2017
First Survey in the United States of the Work of Marc Camille Chaimowicz
Marc Camille Chaimowicz: Your Place or Mine … March 16 – August 5, 2018
New York, NY, December 12, 2017 – The Jewish Museum presents Marc Camille Chaimowicz: Your Place or Mine…, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States. Chaimowicz established himself in the 1970s London art scene as an artist who merged performance and installation art in a manner as playful as it was critical and sensual. This large-scale survey, on view at the Jewish Museum from March 16 through August 5, 2018, will present Chaimowicz’s cross-disciplinary work in painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, installation, furniture, lighting, ceramics, textiles, and wallpaper made over his nearly 50 year career.
Chaimowicz emerged in the early 1970s with a series of groundbreaking, performative installations that engaged debates at the intersection of queer theory and feminism, and infused everyday life with art and politics. In the years that followed, he moved his activities away from the public realm and into his own home, where he endeavored to merge the ordinary with the extraordinary.
Works made between 1978 and the present, including newly commissioned fabric and wallpaper, are arranged to evoke a series of places—a home, library, and park—where interiority and conviviality, contemplation and sociability, are at odds and in flux. Chaimowicz questions such dichotomies throughout his work, which pivots between fine art and design, public and private, masculine and feminine, past and present. The Jewish Museum is housed in what was once the home of Felix M. and Frieda Schiff Warburg. The Warburg Mansion was built in 1908 in a French Gothic style. The Museum’s once lived-in rooms with their ornamental flourishes offers a perfect setting for an artist who has long been preoccupied with the psychological, imaginative dimensions of domestic spaces, objects, and rituals. These act as source, site, and subject of his work, bringing value to decoration, intimacy, and the interior life of the artist.
Here and There… (1978), the earliest work on view, marks the culmination of Chaimowicz’s three-year immersion living and working in a two-room apartment in southeast London. Playing the roles of home, studio, and gallery, his apartment quickly filled with artworks, as well as draperies, wall coverings, and furniture that the artist designed. This key work, a room-filling installation, exemplifies Chaimowicz’s merger of fine art and decoration, and emphasizes his exploration of subjectivity.
The exhibition is organized around dualities and gaps—between artist and viewer, home and exhibition, past and present—that propel Chaimowicz’s lines of inquiry. His biography is similarly schismatic. He was born in Paris just after World War II. His Polish-Jewish father, a mathematician working as a researcher at the Institute Curie, survived the Nazi occupation but never spoke about that difficult time. His French-Catholic mother was a seamstress for the Courtier Pacin. In pursuit of new beginnings, the family moved to England when Chaimowicz was 8 years old. Struggling with a new language and the isolation it caused, he found freedom making art, which he pursued through his graduate studies at the Slade School of Fine Art. In May, 1968 he finally returned to Paris to witness the student uprisings, an experience which deeply affected his thinking and shaped his career. Like the many dualities he fluidly negotiates, the interplay of two cultures, languages, and cities, as well as his rebelliousness enfolded by beauty, resonates across his life and work. The Jewish Museum’s second floor, French-inspired rooms offer Chaimowicz a two-fold return, to both his Jewish and Parisian roots.
The exhibition is organized by Kelly Taxter, Associate Curator, The Jewish Museum.
Marc Camille Chaimowicz: Your Place or Mine… is made possible through support from Toby Devan Lewis and Etant Donnés Contemporary Art, a program of FACE Foundation, developed in partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States. Additional support is proved by the Melva Bucksbaum Fund for Contemporary Art and the Barbara Horowitz Contemporary Art Fund.
The audio guide is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
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