If ‘Untitled’ is a show about what Eisenman has been doing for two or three years, it is also a show – the clearest demonstration yet – of what they have been doing for three decades: building a world where life and form can finally have it out.
Naturally, the biggest head is home to the smallest brain.
Edie, who is Eisenman’s two-year-old cat, appears severally throughout the show, getting beastlier with each incarnation: first as a kitten whose curiosity causes a hero to collide with his Destiny; later as a symbol – who knows? – of figuration’s ninth life. In her final form (‘Crazy Cat’, (2022)), Edie is all head and no body, molded out of clay and cast in bronze, weighing nearly 400 pounds: a wrecking ball lying in wait.
Edie (The Destroyer)
At the heart of the exhibition is ‘Maker’s Muck’ (2022), a representation of the creative process that is thoroughly evolutionary in spirit. An outsized plaster figure sits hunched over a potter’s wheel, on which a mound of ersatz clay interminably spins. The floor teems with sculptures. Some of the pieces are fully rendered and recognizable: owl, kouros, ketchup bottle. Others are either unfinished or beyond done, i.e. abstracted. A few are still little lumps. (Evolution is not in fact linear.)
The Abolitionists in the Park
Keys, Phone, Wallet
‘The Abolitionists in the Park’ (2020-21) [pictured far left] limns a bigger world than the known one, with more figures engendering more, not less, space for each other; the painting seems to warp and exceed its frame.
Constructivist rigor marks out the newest paintings in the show.
A lone figure – perhaps no figure in Eisenman’s oeuvre has been as lone – in ‘The Ledge’ (2022) looks less like a body than like a walking (not talking) stick. The black box that makes up the whole of the foreground in ‘Reality Show’ (2022) is what some people call a television; it is also what B.F. Skinner called the human mind. Synecdoche serves this artist well: ‘When you can’t think of what to draw,’ they’ve said, ‘draw a head.’ Meaning: the head stands in for the thought. Or vice versa? Eisenman’s heads are getting bigger.
Eisenman’s most noted collaboration is the one they have with the viewer, who is tasked with finishing their stories in her head.
Sailor with Cig #1
Sailor with Cig #2
Head with Hat (Tiff)
Sun In My Eye On The Beach
Econ Prof (working title)
About the artist
Nicole Eisenman lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. They are a MacArthur Foundation Fellow and were inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2018. Their work was included in the 2019 Venice Biennale, 2019 Whitney Biennial, and 2017 Skulptur Projekte Münster in Münster, Germany. Having established themself as a painter, Nicole Eisenman has expanded their practice into the third dimension.
On view in New York
‘Nicole Eisenman. (Untitled) Show’ is on view now through 22 Jul 2022 at Hauser & Wirth New York, 22nd street.
Inquire about available works by Nicole Eisenman