Carl Kostyál Stockholm is delighted to present Gina Beavers ‘MoMA Bra’, the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery and her first solo in Sweden.
“I bought a Champion sports bra in the MoMA shop with the MoMA letters emblazoned on it in a collegiate font. It felt like a ridiculous but inevitable product and I wondered what extra layers there would be when an artist put it on. With charm necklaces of a brain, a heart and a palette around my neck, I did and took pictures of myself. Once you take a selfie, you’re in the realm of the attentions, vanities and insecurities of social media. Not any less so as an artist, a painter, a ‘female’ painter. As Jia Tolentino says in an essay from her book ‘Trick Mirror’,“Women—who, as John Berger wrote, have always been required to maintain an external awareness of their own identity—often navigate online conditions so profitably. It’s the self-calibration that I learned as a girl, as a woman, that has helped me capitalize on ‘having’ to be online.”
I’ve been interested in fan art online for a while, specifically that which takes the work of famous artists as it’s subject. A talented or skilled artist makes a work in homage, to show off and to draw a kind of line from one world to another. For me it’s aspirational, like a kid throwing around a baseball hoping to play for the Yankeees one day. Throw in a lifetime of going to museums, going to MoMA, loving certain works the way other people love songs. And then that’s what you do, you’re an artist, you make paintings, you’re a fan, you’re a competitor, so close, so far.
The words together ‘MoMA’ and ‘Bra’ started to ring in my mind like a bell. One from one world, one from another. High-low. Lofty-practical. Masculine-Feminine. And together, a bit snarky and sardonic but then again I didn’t invent the MoMA Bra, someone did and that was probably smart merchandising.
I read an interview with Laurie Simmons once where she said making real art was like being in the studio with your pants down. That if you weren’t mortified and embarrassed by your efforts, you weren’t doing it right. So there’s that and there’s also all the history of painting haunting you, all the most famous works and then your history, your old works, your old shows and then, just you. On social media, we’re liable to look at ourselves as much as we look at others.
But always, as a female painter, be baring your soul, putting it all out there for other people to consume. Paintings can only do that symbolically. ‘Moma and Me thighs’ and ‘Moma Bra Reveal’ are baring it all in the best way they know how, ‘here are all of my most private parts’ they say. Shamelessness as currency.
This show has favorite famous paintings of MoMA’s, of mine (well they’re famous to me) It has brains, it has heart, palettes appear. The paintings are self-concious, anxious, hilarious and sad, hilarisad and sometimes they’re doing what the world expects of them: ‘Always re-apply your lipstick after a meal.’ Other times they’re fan-girling and pursing, mugging for the camera.
American artist Gina Beavers (b.1974, Athens, Greece) lives and works in Newark, New Jersey. She holds a BA in Studio Art and Anthropology from the University of Virginia (1996), an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2000) and an MS in Education from Brooklyn College (2005).
Her most recent institutional exhibitions include ‘Autofiction’ at the Neuer Essener Kunstverein, Essen, 2021 and ‘The Life I Deserve’ at MoMA PS1, New York, curated by Oliver Schultz, 2019. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions in the USA and abroad, among them several in Sweden: ‘Works from the Gullringsbo Konstsamling’ at Carl Kostyál Stockholm in 2022, ‘Friends and Friends of Friends’ at the Schlossmuseum Linz, Austria, curated by Oli Epp in 2020, ‘Malmö Sessions’ at Carl Kostyál in collaboration with Erika Hellman and Svenska Has AB in 2019 and ‘Summer Show’ at Carl Kostyál Stockholm, curated by Johan Deurell & Oscar Carlson in 2017.