This is the first American survey for Karen Kilimnik. Drawing correspondences between romantic tradition and consumer culture, Kilimnik’s work brings a haunting and contrary sense of beauty to contemporary art. The world of the ballet and childhood, romantic painting and pop music, icons of film and fashion, signs of witchcraft, time travel, and murder comprise an imagery that has been culled from the historic and recent past into an unsettling present. In a world where the forces of nature, youth, and terror, have taken awesome hold, Kilimnik’s art rematerializes a quest for the romantic sublime.
Occupying both of ICA’s main gallery spaces, the survey was selected by the curator along with the artist, who typically approaches the exhibition of her work as a form of theatrical mise-en-scène. For this installation, Kilimnik specified that the first floor galleries appear almost empty except for a discrete chamber where her paintings are installed salon style on red walls—a romantic museum framed by the postmodern architecture. This exhibition spans 15 years of painting, drawings, assemblage sculptures, installation, photographs, and video. Curated by ICA Senior Curator Ingrid Schaffner, the exhibition is accompanied by a catalog publication and will be on view April 20–August 5, 2007.
This exhibition premiered at ICA and traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, the Aspen Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.