"Pictures Girls Make": Portraitures | A Panel Discussion

September 9, 2023

Video: Dan Finlayson

"Pictures Girls Make": Portraitures 
A Panel Discussion

In celebration of the opening of "Pictures Girls Make": Portraitures, Blum & Poe is pleased to present a conversation between exhibition curator Alison M. Gingeras and artists Clarity Haynes, Andrew LaMar Hopkins, and Chris Oh. 

“Pictures Girls Make”: Portraitures is an exhibition bringing together over fifty artists from around the world, spanning the early nineteenth century until today. Curated by Alison M. Gingeras, this prodigious survey argues that this age-old mode of representation is an enduringly democratic, humanistic genre. “Pictures girls make” is a quip attributed to Willem de Kooning who purportedly dismissed the inferior status of his wife Elaine’s portrait practice. Inverting the original dismissal into an affirmation, “Pictures Girls Make” is a rallying cry for this exhibition which examines how different forms of portraitures defy old aesthetic, social, and ideological norms. 


About Alison M. Gingeras

Alison M. Gingeras is a curator and writer based in New York and Warsaw. Known for her scholarly yet anarchic approach to art history, Gingeras organized several groundbreaking exhibitions, such as Dear Painter, Paint Me: Painting the Figure Since Late Picabia at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2002), and co-curated Pop Life at the Tate Modern, London, UK (2009). Most recently, she curated My Life as a Man: John Currin at Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX, and New Images of Man at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA (2020). Her writing regularly appears in such periodicals as Artforum, Playboy, Tate Etc., and Spike, as well as in scores of books and exhibition catalogs. The cult imprint Heinzfeller Nileisist recently published Totally My Ass and Other Essays—an anthology of Gingeras’ writing.


About Clarity Haynes

Subverting the portraiture tradition, Clarity Haynes paints bodies that express identities across the gender and sexuality spectrum. Her canvases pulse with corporeal detail. They glorify the anatomies of those who are underrepresented in the painting canon. Born in McAllen, TX in 1971, Haynes works generally from life rather than pictures. She paints, however, in a photorealistic style that stems in part from her undergraduate studies: Haynes garnered a BA in Film Production from Temple University in 1995. In teaching herself painterly technique, Haynes attended to every “pixel” of her subjects—achieving a remarkable degree of pictorial verisimilitude. Haynes dresses down this Western art precedent by magnifying what society deems imperfect, unsightly, or taboo about certain anatomies. Haynes also pays tribute to feminist art history by incorporating colors, patterns, or motifs that allude to Georgia O’Keeffe, Louis Bourgeois, Judy Chicago, Miriam Shapiro, Ana Mendieta, and more. 


About Andrew LaMar Hopkins

Andrew LaMar Hopkins paints meticulous depictions of 19th-century life in New Orleans and other Southern cities. Period architecture and furnishings frame the diverse Creole figures who Hopkins portrays. The self-taught artist resurrects their lavish existences while deconstructing the antebellum history of the American South. Hopkins carefully paints the architecture, furniture, clothes, personal possessions, and experiences of both free Creoles of color and white Creoles in New Orleans as well as Savannah circa 1830. As Hopkins notes, “This is what these lives looked like, and no one else was doing it. I wanted to do them justice.” [1] Hopkins creates acrylic paintings in a deliberately faux naïf style—riffing on American folk artists like Grandma Moses, Horace Pippin, and Clementine Hunter. Investigating their intricate racial, gender, and class identities, Hopkins represents 19th-century New Orleans notables such as John James Audubon, Micaëla Almonester (the Baroness de Pontalba), and Marie Laveau. At the same time, the painter invents characters—mixing fact and fiction. Hopkins views the era of his inquiry through a contemporary and even revisionist lens. 

[1] Elizabeth Pochoda, “A Painter Resurrects Louisiana’s Vanished Creole Culture,” New York Times, January 16, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/16/arts/design/Andrew-LaMar-Hopkins-New-Orleans-winter-show-.html.


About Chris Oh

With a startling degree of exactitude, Chris Oh replicates 15th- and 16th-century paintings on an array of contemporary objects. His faithful translations on ordinary materials collapse past and present concerns with authorship, homage, and imitation. Oh reproduces paintings by the likes of Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, Hieronymus Bosch, Leonardo da Vinci, Joos van Cleve, and Caravaggio with exceptional attention to detail. Rather than recreate these works on canvas, Oh does so on reclaimed household items: a bouquet of decorative fruit, a pillow case, sea shells, the sole of a shoe, a shipping envelope, crystals, a fake loaf of bread, and the interior of a soccer ball, among others. Oh’s depictions are almost identical to the original executions, save for their unusual and highly textured painting supports. Some items on which Oh paints carry meaning whereas others are merely detritus that he has defamiliarized. His approach to appropriation collides high art and low kitsch to question the value of commercial objects and challenge the conception of a serious artist. 

Featured artist biographies excerpted from texts written by Julie Reiter Greene. 

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