Gallery Hopping: The Brash Pop Appropriations of Deborah Kass at Brand New, Milan

The artist gets her first solo show in Italy.

New York artist Deborah Kass currently has her first solo show in Italy at the Milanese Brand New Gallery. A sampling of works from the past 25 years, “Deborah Kass: Art Histories” spans her career—from her early Warholian depictions of Barbra Streisand, to her recent screenprint, Vote Hillary, an update to the 1960s Pop artist’s Vote McGovern. 

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Deborah Kass at Brand New Gallery
Deborah Kass, Vote Hillary (2015). Image courtesy Brand New Gallery.
Deborah Kass at Brand New Gallery
Deborah Kass, "Art Histories," installation view. Image courtesy Brand New Gallery.
Deborah Kass at Brand New Gallery
Deborah Kass, 4 Barbras (The Jewish Jackie Series) (1993). Image courtesy Brand New Gallery.
Deborah Kass at Brand New Gallery
Deborah Kass, "Art Histories," installation view. Image courtesy Brand New Gallery.
Deborah Kass at Brand New Gallery
Deborah Kass, Blue Deb (2000). Image courtesy Brand New Gallery.
Deborah Kass at Brand New Gallery
Deborah Kass, "Art Histories," installation view. Image courtesy Brand New Gallery.
Deborah Kass at Brand New Gallery
Deborah Kass, Silver Yentl (My Elvis) (1993). Image courtesy Brand New Gallery.
Deborah Kass at Brand New Gallery
Deborah Kass, "Art Histories," installation view. Image courtesy Brand New Gallery.

Kass isn’t quite an appropriation artist—or at least, she doesn’t use appropriation to the extent of an artist like Elaine Sturtevant, who copied the work of her male contemporaries brushstroke for brushstroke. Kass’s pop imagery only mimics the style of postwar American artists, swapping their common subjects for those that relate more closely to her own identity.

Besides the Warhol-style works, Brand New Gallery is also exhibiting a trio of paintings in the style of Ed Ruscha’s iconic 1963 painting, “OOF.” Kass changes Ruscha’s three letters to “JOY,” “OM,” and the sure to be a millennial favorite, “OMG.” The works rely on the eye-catching simplicity of the original work, but update the comic-strip-inspired painting to something smartly informed by internet speak.

Deborah Kass: Art Histories” is on view at Brand New Gallery in Milan until November 12, 2016.


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