Cathy Wilkes at the MoMA

By Cassandra D’Amico-Mazza

    Founded in 1971, MoMA’s PS1 is one of the biggest contemporary exhibition spaces in the United States, and devotes its space to the most thought provoking exhibits and international artists. Its latest exhibit is no exception. On until March 11th 2018, PS1 in conjunction with the Maria Lassnig Prize, a biennial prize for established artists and awarded to Wilkes in 2016, presents artist Cathy Wilkes’ first monographic exhibition in the United States. Spread across the PS1 space, Wilkes examines questions of birth, death, and of life in between.Encompassing over fifty works from private and public collections and new oeuvres created for the PS1 exhibition, this is the most comprehensive showing of Wilkes’ work since 2004.

Wilkes’ examination of the duality and interplay of the intimate and universal is expressed in recreations of birth and child rearing, marriage, and death.  Her creations combine painting, sculpture, drawings, and repurposed objects from her everyday life in Glasgow, and disassemble traditional modes of framing, preferring to create within loosely defined boundaries.This approach allows Wilkes’ to create installations that demand interaction with her work; visitors should question their own roles and interactions with the rituals of life.

Often repurposing and rearranging older works into new ones Wilkes directly confronts the notion of a mid-career retrospective by folding past and present into each other. Wilkes continuously challenges the art establishment that categorizes her work and dares them to try and pin her down.

Images from moma.org, courtesy of the artist

Edited by Jennifer Mancini