in New York, NY / United States
04.12.2020 - 09.01.2021 00:00
Joy Curtis - Skeleton Woman

Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery is happy to announce Joy Curtis’s new solo exhibition, “Skeleton Woman”. This show comprises anthropomorphic sculptures created from hand-dyed canvas, commercially printed fabrics, and cast bronze. Each work’s multivarious elements carry meaning from their sources and cultural histories, pointing to an agricultural and colonial framework built on extractive capitalism and subjugation. By using an array of history-laden materials, Curtis creates visual fables that point to a wish for reckoning and healing in Western culture. Her practice involves research on the origins of commercial fabrics from Dutch wax cloth and indigo to the original dyes used to make the American flag. She layers and juxtaposes decisively contemporary cloths (spandex printed to resemble blue jeans or snakeskin) with others she has dyed herself using pre-modern techniques from a wide range of cultures, as well as ones using contemporary synthetic dyes.

Many of the works’ titles – for example, “Ghost Dance”, “The Inner Hospital”, and “Plants and Animals” – signal that each sculpture describes a rich inner world, one which can be deciphered through its material references, but not fully understood. A knotting of cultures is evident in “Wonder Valley Channel”, which is made of spandex printed in a snakeskin pattern, sewn into stuffed tubes and snaked through a lattice of natural canvas and looping copper wire. “Animal Medicine” has mammalian shadow puppets peeking up behind screens of indigo-dyed silk. Beneath the menagerie are two figure-like columns made of canvas with feet and hands sewn from Indonesian batik prints and Dutch wax cloth.

Joy Curtis lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She has exhibited recently at Ohio University Art Gallery, Ceysson & Bénétière, and Pelham Arts Center. Her work was included in the “Found Outside” exhibition at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. Her practice has been covered in the New Yorker, Hyperallergic, Time Out New York, and Artcritical.

Gallery hours Wed-Sun 11 am – 6 pm


Klaus Von Nichtssagend Gallery
54 Ludlow Street
10002 New York, NY
United States


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