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Justine Kurland

Justine Kurland, Independent Art Fair, New York
September 9 – 12, 2021
Battery Maritime Building

After two decades of life on the road Kurland delves into her family biography and her personal library. This installation of collages and photographs continues Kurland’s refutation of a family of men. Here she imagines holes, cuts, rivers and locks, as social, sexual, and spiritual conduits to psychic emancipation.

Kurland’s latest series of gelatin silver photographs were taken in New York City and her hometown of Fulton, New York from 2014–2021. Bodies, skin, sex and the water’s surface—placid and shimmering or dark and frothy—exude a latency of emotion and sexuality.

The photographs are shown together for the first time with Kurland’s collages, inspired by the radical feminist and writer Valerie Solanas’ 1967 SCUM Manifesto. Started in 2019, Kurland’s SCUMB Manifesto (Society for Cutting Up Men’s Books) is an object-based, tactile imagining of matriarchal paradise, which she explored in her earliest body of work, Girl Pictures (1997–2002), and in Mama Babies (2004–07). Seeking and picturing freedom, at the core of much of Kurland’s work, is located here in the artistic act itself: Kurland is purging her own cherished library of photography books authored by straight white men. These canonical figures have their pictures chopped up and reauthored by Kurland: each collage a reclamation of history, a dismemberment of the patriarchy, a gender inversion of the usual terms of possession, and a modest attempt at offsetting a lifetime of income disparity.

Justine Kurland (b. 1969) studied photography at the School of Visual Arts and Yale University. Recent exhibitions include Bruce Kurland & Justine Kurland – Two Worlds: Illusion & Document (2020-21) at the University of Buffalo Art Galleries and the 2020 Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie, Mannheim, Germany. Kurland’s monograph, Justine Kurland: Girl Pictures, was published by Aperture in 2020; The Stick was published by TIS in 2021; and a new monograph on the SCUMB Manifesto is forthcoming from MACK.

Kurland is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the New York Public Library; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Morgan Library & Museum among many others.