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FEBRUARY 23 – APRIL 5, 2017

BEVERLY FISHMAN


DOSE

FEBRUARY 23 – APRIL 5, 2017

BEVERLY FISHMAN

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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

ADVISORY COUNCIL

Vernon Church

Lynn Crawford

Theodore S. Berger Thomas G. Devine Thomas K.Y. Hsu John S. Kiely Vivian Kuan

Christen Martosella Brian D. Starer

Gregory Amenoff, Emeritus

Polly Apfelbaum Katie Cercone Ian Cooper

Michelle Grabner Eleanor Heartney

Trenton Doyle Hancock Pablo Helguera Paddy Johnson Deborah Kass

Sharon Lockhart

STAFF

Rossana Martinez

Corina Larkin Executive Director

Juan Sรกnchez

Beatrice Wolert-Weese Deputy Director

Lilly Wei

Shona Masarin-Hurst Programs Director Chase Martin Development Associate Eva Elmore Programs Assistant

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Irving Sandler Andrea Zittel


CUE Art Foundation is a visual arts center dedicated to creating essential career and educational opportunities for artists of all ages. Through

exhibitions, arts education, and public programs, CUE provides artists, writers, and audiences with sustaining, meaningful experiences and resources.

CUE’s exhibition program aims to present new and exceptionally strong work by under-recognized and emerging artists based in the United States, and is committed to exhibiting work of all disciplines from living artists. Exhibiting artists are selected via a hybrid process, featuring solo exhibitions curated by established artists, alongside a series of solo and group exhibitions

selected by an annual Open Call. In line with CUE’s commitment to providing

substantive professional development opportunities, curators and Open Call panelists also serve as mentors to the exhibiting artists, providing support throughout the process of developing the exhibition. We are honored to work with artist Nick Cave as the curator of this exhibition.

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BEVERLY FISHMAN

I explore combinations of optically intense form and color

us form and regulate ourselves. Do the colors that we

the structures of common pharmaceuticals, while colors

juxtaposition and context? And are we ever exclusively

as avenues for social critique. Shapes are derived from

reference skin tones—sold to us through cosmetics—and the realms of technology and industry, as indicated by

non-natural, industrial hues, such as those produced by

fluorescent and automobile paints. Mining the histories of geometric and hard-edge abstraction and pop art, and

re-configuring them through strategies of appropriation and references to living bodies and seductive objects,

I hope to uncover a formal and chromatic politics. Postpainterly forms are linked to real world commodities

that we take to improve health as well as to augment or

transform our bodies and our minds. Abstract hues refer to skin colors, the materials we use to change them, and industries—like Big Pharma and advertising—that help

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assign to our exteriors become different depending on “natural” constructs? Emphasizing contradiction, I choose forms that play between abstract shape and logo—

perception and language—and mix different systems of color, implicating both synthetic and natural worlds. To remain suspended between seduction and critique is

a difficult but productive task. While the permutations derived from the combination of simple shapes can

resemble a cocktail of prescription pills, personalized to

the particular chemistry of the individual viewer, they may also reveal a utopian beyond: a new world where human and machine combine.


ARTIST BIO

Beverly Fishman received her BFA from Philadelphia

Journal, and Art in America. Barbara Maria Stafford wrote

2000, she has presented over three-dozen one-person

Images, as did Joe Houston in Optic Nerve: Perceptual

College of Art, and her MFA from Yale University. Since

about her work in Echo Objects: The Cognitive Work of

exhibitions at galleries in New York, London, Paris,

Art of the 1960s.

and Detroit. She has also exhibited at the Chrysler

Her work may be found in many public collections

Arts; Borusan Contemporary; the Detroit Institute

Chrysler Museum, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

Museum of Art; and the Columbus Museum of Art. Ms.

the PĂŠrez Art Museum Miami, the Columbus Museum of

the Toledo Museum of Art’s Guest Artist Pavilion Project;

the Cranbrook Art Museum, the Maxine and Stuart

Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; a

the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul. Her work is also

Foundation Award; a National Endowment for the Arts

Collection, DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Hallmark Art

Foundation Grants.

Cantor Fitzgerald, and Prudential Insurance Company of

Berlin, Thessaloniki, Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Museum, the Florida State University Museum of Fine

including the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, the

of Arts; the Weatherspoon Art Museum; The Toledo

at Michigan State University, The Toledo Museum of Art,

Fishman has been awarded numerous honors including

Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, Borusan Contemporary,

the Hassam, Speicher, Betts, and Symons Purchase

Frankel Foundation for Art, the Pizzuti Collection, and

Guggenheim Fellowship Award; a Louis Comfort Tiffany

included in the corporate collections of Progressive Art

Fellowship Grant; an Artist Space Grant; and two Ford

Collection, Compuware, UBS Financial Services Inc.,

Her work has been reviewed in numerous art magazines, newspapers, and scholarly publications, including The

New York Times, The Brooklyn Rail, Artforum, Huffington

America, among others.

She is Artist-in-Residence and Head of Painting, at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan.

Post, Modern Painters, Artnet Magazine, Wallpaper*, GLASS Quarterly, NY Arts Magazine, The Wall Street

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NICK CAVE

CURATOR-MENTOR

“Narcotic Euphoria” is the best way to describe Beverly Fishman’s newest body of work. It is a chromium “callto-arms” delivered with conversely sinister subtlety. It engages with the legacies of Frank Stella, Gary Lang,

and Peter Max, all post Joseph Albers, who brought a

hard edge to painting and exploited color to tap into an affective and human motivational state. But in this case, Fishman takes all that happens up in the viewer’s head

and envelops the heart and pushes it through the entire nervous system. This exhibition entitled DOSE uses

the familiar, pharmaceutical shaped, and multi-faceted forms of "the daily dose" as the body for her work, so

that her deceptively logical and internally vetted color

combinations can “sound off” as the voice. Her masterful and continually shifting use of contrasts—color, shape,

and scale—define the spaces, both positive and negative, that seduce and induce the viewer into insensible

understandings of themselves and the world’s exertion upon them.

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CURATOR BIO

Nick Cave is a Messenger, Artist and Educator

Academy of Art and his BFA from the Kansas City Art

through a wide range of mediums inclusive of sculpture,

Professor of Fashion, Body, and Garment at The School

exhibitions have expanded globally from the United

other major awards and honors, most recently receiving

America, and the Caribbean. He has been described as

award.

working between the visual and performing arts

Institute and is currently the Stephanie and Bill Sick

installation, video, sound, and performance. His solo

of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has earned many

States through France, Africa, Denmark, Asia, South

the U.S. Department of State International Medal of Arts

a Renaissance artist and says of himself "I have found

my middle and now ... working toward what I am leaving behind." Cave received his MFA from Cranbrook

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Untitled (Opioid Addiction), 2016 Urethane paint on wood, 36 x 36 x 2.25 inches Photo: PD Rearick


Untitled (Opioid Addiction / Missing Dose), 2017 Urethane paint on wood, 38 x 38 x 2.25 inches Photo: PD Rearick 9


Untitled (Stomach Problems), 2015 Urethane paint on wood 60 x 60 x 2.25 inches Photo: PD Rearick

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Untitled (A + C), 2016 Urethane paint on wood 38 x 47.5 x 2.25 inches Photo: PD Rearick

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Untitled (Opioid Addiction) with detail (left), 2016 Urethane paint on wood 62 x 62 x 2 inches Photo: PD Rearick

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Untitled (ADHD), 2016 Urethane paint on wood 60 x 180 x 2.25 inches Photo: PD Rearick

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Untitled (Stacked Pills) with detail (right), 2016 Urethane paint on wood 59 x 48 x 2 inches Photo: PD Rearick

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Untitled (ADHD / Opioid Cocktail), 2016 Urethane paint on wood 71.75 x 48 x 2 inches Photo: PD Rearick

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Untitled (Anxiety), 2016 Urethane paint on wood 39 x 126 x 2 inches Photo: PD Rearick

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Untitled (Split Pill / Alcoholism), 2016 Urethane paint on wood 67 x 60 x 2 inches Kari and Nick Coburn Collection Photo: PD Rearick

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LEFT Untitled (Opioid Addiction), 2016 Collage on paper, 24 x 19 inches Photo: PD Rearick.

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RIGHT Untitled (ADHD / Opioid Cocktail), 2016 Collage on paper, 17 x 14 inches Photo: PD Rearick.


Beverly Fishman Studio, Chelsea, New York November 10, 2016. Photo: Matthew Biro

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BEVERLY FISHMAN: COLOR CODING BIG PHARMA ZACHARY SMALL

From inside the pillbox, Beverly Fishman chooses her favorite colors with a calculating eye. A master color theorist, Fishman explores the allure of intoxication—the fluorescent highs of addiction and sickly flesh tones of withdrawal. With her vivid and enticingly colored pills, Fishman formulates a response to the role of aesthetics within the pharmaceutical industry. She appropriates the visual vocabulary of post-industrial minimalism to delve into the psychology of addiction. For an addict, the subtle yet familiar color, shape, and packaging of pills can trigger a biological response, a craving for the next fix that soon

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morphs into a twisted sense of brand loyalty. As a result, prescription drugs like Oxycodone, Demerol, and Vicodin maintain a cult following, which leads us to an essential question raised by Fishman’s work: What turns the consumer into the consumed? Fishman wants us to explore the nexus between medical and visual conditioning. What are the sensory responses leading to addiction, and how are they hardwired in the human brain? Works such as Untitled (Opioid Addiction), exemplify the artist’s vibrant color palette—bright, ecstatic,


and neon. Fishman replicates the colors used in advertisements to catch the viewer’s eye. First responses to these colors bring obvious associations. Neon yellows and hot pinks are filled with electricity, a symbolic nod to the highest highs of stimulants. Electric blues and bright greens have a calming effect that visually mimics that of anti-anxiety drugs. Where Fishman excels is in restraint, for the brighter colors are often relegated to the outlines of her pill sculptures. As a practitioner of color theory, she is recalling the lessons of Modernism and Minimalism, exercising restraint for maximum effect. The neon colors she uses are like candy coding for her pills, hiding darker cores that represent the sinister side of addiction and withdrawal. Unlike the colors in the pills she seeks to represent, Fishman’s are not synthetic. Harkening back to the apothecaries of yore, Fishman crafts her pills from scratch, choosing her fluorescent colors based on luminosity and contrast, while working in the painterly tradition of artists mixing their own colors. Evoking the minimalism of Josef Albers, Fishman believes in the power of color as an illusory force. The balancing of color and shape is a perfectionist’s endeavor, and Fishman applies her passion for exactitude to parallel the dosage requirements of many pharmaceuticals; she captures the action of splitting pills by dividing her sculptures into quarters and halves. Untitled (Anxiety), for example, uses its four

parts to explore the subtle shades between pink and white. Resembling an optical illusion, the juxtaposition of slightly different shades allows Fishman to play with the viewer’s eye, capturing the sensation of seeing a color change a shade lighter or darker before our eyes. With the right concoctions, Fishman imbues her work with such vibrancy that her pills envelop viewers into her aesthetic world. The luminescent effects she creates echo her longstanding interest in glow paint, as in her earlier glowin-the-dark ecstasy pills. On the edges of her sculptures—as viewed in Untitled (Anxiety)—and in the empty spaces of pills like Untitled (Opioid Addiction), Fishman allows her sculpture to glow, coating the gallery’s white walls with a wash of color. Here, the artist paradoxically fills a void with nothing, nothing but the slightest suggestion of color—photons invisibly bouncing off a hard surface. Formally, Fishman recalls Mark Rothko and his own investigation of color’s ambiguous relationship with space. In a Rothko painting, color repeatedly unseats itself in the picture plane, shifting between foreground, background, and middle ground. Adapting this idea to wall sculpture, Fishman’s atmospheric pigments test depth in a three-dimensional space, deconstructing through optical illusions our belief that color is a flat phenomenon. More symbolically, the faintness of the glow hints at a dulling of the senses or shift in perception like that experienced by a drug user. The

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colorful haze suggests the correlation between biochemistry and color, reminiscent of ancient alchemy, a Greco-Roman precursor to modern medicine. Following a crude Aristotelian system called the four humors, soothsayers composed a complex dialectic aimed at connecting physical and mental illnesses with imbalances in bodily liquids; in turn, those liquids came to be associated with colors, especially dark green, red, yellow, and a murky blue. Through the signifiers of color, the doctor would prescribe treatment. We see the legacy of this system today in the tones we associate with sickness. At the center of Fishman’s pills are many of the colors mentioned above, along with black, an obvious signifier of death. These colors exert a gravitational pull, sucking up the light radiating from the pills’ coated edges. By tapping into the visual history of medicine, Fishman obfuscates the division between the corporal and the pharmaceutical. She successfully implicates what is at stake in an unchecked medical industry: our bodies. For pill-takers, the fear of unknowingly ingesting dangerous drugs is very real. It underlies society’s overall distrust of the drug industry. Who is to say which specific chemicals in a drug are safe and which are not? How could average consumers know if they are swallowing a placebo or the real thing? Fishman questions the reliability of pharmaceuticals by addressing the mysteries of internal medicine. Even when

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a capsule is split in half, it reveals nothing about the actual contents of its curatives—all we see is a chemical dust. The dull monochrome tones of real pills belie their ability to alter the brain’s chemistry. This irony is not lost on Fishman who relays the divide between manufacturer and consumer. Similar to her color palette’s industrial look, Fishman’s pills themselves are finished with a glossy, plastic sheen. This is yet another red herring, an effect that might lead you to believe her work is mass-produced in an off-site factory. Again, Fishman has deceived us, masking the meticulously chosen shapes and finished woods she uses for her sculptures. Without a trace of natural material, Fishman’s pills refashion Donald Judd’s preference for anonymous industrial objects into a criticism of the pharmaceutical industry’s secrecy—or more acutely—the mystery inside a pill’s capsule. Even when she splits the pills, as in Untitled (Alcoholism), Fishman does not spill their specific contents; she does not detail their specific chemical components or brand names. Instead, she uses the lessons of minimalist abstraction to ask: What are we actually consuming? By alternating between bright and actual bodily hues, Fishman paints what the pharmaceutical industry would rather hide: medicine as risk. The central divide of Untitled (Alcoholism) sees an explosion of color that candy-coats the pills’ somber black and blue cores with a rapid succession of electric colors. The dark interiors


of Fishman’s pills foster a contrapuntal sense of curiosity and dread that matches the short-term highs of drug abuse with the long-term lows of addiction. Fishman draws attention to one of America’s most insidious epidemics: prescription drug addiction, approaching it in a non-histrionic way from the perspective of an artist and art

historian. She explores color’s relationship with medicine and delivers a visual code for addiction through the language of Modernism, through which she offers her viewers an access point into the psychology of addicts and the Big Pharma companies that make them.

This essay was written as part of the Art Critic Mentoring Program, a partnership between AICA-USA (US section of International Association of Art Critics) and CUE, which appoints established art critics to serve as mentors for emerging writers. In 2014, CUE joined forces with Art21, combining the Art Critic Mentoring Program with the Art21 Magazine Writer-in-Residence initiative. Each writer composes a long-form critical essay on one of CUE’s exhibiting artists for publication in CUE’s exhibition catalogue, which is also published by Art21 in its online magazine. Please visit aicausa.org for more information on AICA-USA, or cueartfoundation. org to learn how to participate in this program. Any quotes are from interviews with the author unless otherwise specified. No part of this essay may be reproduced without prior consent from the author. Lilly Wei is AICA’s Coordinator for the program this season. For additional arts-related writing, please visit on-verge.org. Writer Zachary Small is a New York-based genderqueer writer and creator. As an art critic, he has written for many publications including: BOMB Magazine, Hyperallergic, ARTINFO, and HowlRound. As a theatremaker, he has premiered work at Dixon Place, La MaMa ETC, and Off-Broadway. Mentor Barbara A. MacAdam is co-executive editor of ARTnews. She has also worked as an editor for Art + Auction, Review: Latin American Literature and Arts, and New York magazine, among other publications. She has reviewed books on art and literature for such publications as the LA Times Book Review, Newsday, and the New York Times Book Review, and contributed articles on art, design, and literature to various magazines and newspapers. She is also a curator and serves on the board of the International Art Critics Association and is on the advisory committee of the Paris-based Arts Arena.

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CUE Art Foundation’s operations and programs are made possible with

the generous support of foundations, corporations, government agencies, individuals, and its members.

MAJOR PROGRAMMATIC SUPPORT PROVIDED BY Agnes Gund The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Anholt Services (USA) Inc. CAF American Donor Fund Compass Group Management LLC Compass Diversified Holdings Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation The Joan Mitchell Foundation Lenore Malen and Mark Nelkin The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Inc. The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation Squire Patton Boggs William Talbot Hillman Foundation New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts

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All artwork Š Beverly Fishman.

Catalogue design by Shona Masarin-Hurst.


137­WEST 25TH STREET NEW YORK, NY 10001 CUEARTFOUNDATION.ORG

Beverly Fishman: DOSE  

Curated by Nick Cave February 23 - April 5, 2017

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