Sarah Lucas, Me Bar Stool, 2015. Plaster and cigarette stool, 39 3/8" x23" 5/8"x22". © Sarah Lucas. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London.
SARAH LUCAS: AU NATUREL
The British artist has long explored the politic and discourse around gender, identity and sexuality.
Let’s talk about gender. I mean, what else is anyone talking about these days, right? Penises, vaginas, intercourse. The New York Times reports that Bill Cosby’s legal team feel he’s a victim of “sex wars.” Sure, and I’m a victim of straight people’s rights. The point is, some people have got it (“it” being gender) totally right, and some have got it all sorts of wrong. Sarah Lucas’ now ongoing career has long explored the tumultuous politic and discourse around gender, identity and sexuality, and I feel like she’s not far off from what most of the liberal-leaning art-focused society’s idea of “right” is.
Naturally, the New Museum‘s curatorial text denotes her discussion of power as well. It’s true, there is something very powerful about a self-portrait blown to mural size and then plastered on the 4th floor gallery’s gigantic walls. And not for nothing, but this final gallery in her three floor “Au Naturel” (featuring some of the artist’s most important works, and her largest showing in the U.S. to date) is rather anthemic. In the aforementioned mural, Lucas sits with her legs apart, her genital delineated by bunching denim, and two large-scale penis sculptures are positioned in the direction of the artist. It’s not a question of suggestion, it’s obvious Lucas’ phalluses are after her, but the question of power runs amok. In the same gallery is a cigarette Jesus on a cigarette crucifix and a severed Jaguar sedan, which the artist severed herself, that is also accented with her signature cigarettes. I laughed quite a bit. What with God, machinery and dicks, it’s all very masculine, but Lucas and an adjacent mural showing a raw chicken before a feminine waistline signifies who has say in the room. Duh. While her work promotes sexuality and gender and a potential penis envy, but getting past the phallus is only step one to divulging into the richness of the British artist’s work.
Lucas, who works primarily in sculpture and photography, toys a great deal of personality and gusto in this very cheeky exhibition. I’m telling everyone I know to go. Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel is on view until January 20th, 2019.
Sarah Lucas, Au Naturel, 1994. Mattress, melons, oranges, cucumber, and water bucket, 33 1/8″x 66 1/8″x57″. © Sarah Lucas. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London.
Sarah Lucas, Chicken Knickers, 2014. Wallpaper, dimensions variable. © Sarah Lucas. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London.
Sarah Lucas, Complete Arsehole, 1993. C-print, 36 3/8″x26 1/8″. © Sarah Lucas. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London.
Sarah Lucas, Pepsi & Cocky #8, 2009. C-print, 41″x30 7/8″. © Sarah Lucas. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London.
Sarah Lucas, Sex Baby Bed Base, 2000. Bed case, chicken, T-shirt, lemons, and hanger, 70 7/8″x52 1/2″. © Sarah Lucas. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London.
Sarah Lucas, Christ You Know It Ain’t Easy, 2003. Fiberglass and cigarettes, 77″x72″x16″. © Sarah Lucas. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London.
Sarah Lucas, Self-portrait with Fried Eggs, 1996. C-print, 60″x 48″. © Sarah Lucas. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London.
$18, Tuesday-Sunday, 11:00AM-6:00PM, New Museum, 250 Bowery, NY, NY.