Current Exhibition

  • Spencer Sweeney

Perfect

Greenwich May 10th to September 10th, 2022

The Foundation’s double height gallery will feature several large-scale variations of the nude in repose. In these musings on the classical motif, Sweeney distills the figure down to its essence, conveyed through shape, hue, and line. Monochromatic paintings such as Before Behind (2019) and Moonlit Lady (2012) create a bold feminine figure in outline and emphasize a lyrical playfulness.  Improvisations such as Woman with Metronome (2019) is an exploration in the boundaries of abstraction and form. Sweeney refines the expression in his ongoing engagement with the characteristics of the feminine.

In addition to his paintings, music is central to Sweeney’s practice, and the artist has been a vital presence and performer in his own right in the nightlife and music scene of New York City. Further galleries will feature announcement paintings from various events, parties, musical shows, and concerts that Sweeney helped organize. The posters feature names of performers and artist collaborators such as Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, Peter Doig, Telfar Clemens, Afrika Bambaataa, Craig Harris, Pete Drungle, Kai Althoff, Pheeroan akLaff, and Jay Rodriguez, among others.

Paintings produced to announce Headz, a collaborative art and music performance salon initiated by Sweeney, Urs Fischer, and Brendan Dugan, will also be on view. Headz was conceived as an open studio where artists – both established and amateur – could come together to draw, paint, or sculpt, and also became a hub for live improvisational music performances. The salon’s collaborative space shifted the act of art making into a shared experience.

About Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney was born in 1973 in Philadelphia, and lives and works in New York. Collections include the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and Museum of Modern Art, New York. Group exhibitions include the Whitney Biennial, New York (2006); and That Was Then, This Is Now, MoMA PS1, New York (2008). Performances include Hey, You Never Know (curated by Carol Greene and Kenny Schachter), 534 LaGuardia Place, New York (1998); and CrissCross: Some Young New Yorkers III, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (1999). In 2015, Kitto-San published Spencer Sweeney, a retrospective monograph featuring interviews with fellow artists and other figures from Sweeney’s diverse cultural circles.

About The Brant Foundation Art Study Center

The Brant Foundation Art Study Center has a mission to promote education and appreciation of contemporary art and design, by making works available to institutions and individuals for scholarly study and examination. The Brant Foundation Art Study Center presents long-term exhibitions curated primarily from the collection. The collection is remarkable in that scores of artists are represented in depth, including works from the earliest period of their practice through their most recent works. Currently, The Brant Foundation, Inc., established in 1996, lends works to more than a dozen exhibitions per year. The Brant Foundation Art Study Center is located at 941 North Street, Greenwich, Connecticut.

In March 2019, The Brant Foundation presented a solo exhibition of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat to celebrate the inauguration of its new space in New York City’s East Village. Located at 421 East 6th Street, the space occupies a century-old building originally designed as a substation for Consolidated Edison. The building subsequently served as the home and studio of famed artist Walter De Maria from the mid-1980s until his death in 2013. Richard Gluckman of Gluckman Tang Architects renovated the former substation to create a 16,000-square-foot building that features 7,000 square feet of exhibition space arrayed across four floors. The project includes two new gardens adjacent to the structure and a landscaped roof terrace.

Join in the conversation with The Brant Foundation on Instagram via @TheBrantFoundation.

Media Contact

Anika Zempleni

Third Eye

Anika@hellothirdeye.com

212-355-9009

 

Artist Biography

Spencer Sweeney

Spencer Sweeney

In addition to making paintings, drawings, and collages characterized by infectious exuberance and raw materiality, Spencer Sweeney produces immersive multimedia environments that transform gallery spaces into open workshops and performance stages, exposing the traditionally private realm of the artist’s studio to public scrutiny.

Born in Philadelphia, Sweeney graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1997. He then moved to New York, where, in concert with his visual practice, he helped establish the nightclub Santos Party House and worked as a DJ. He also cofounded the seminal noise-art group Actress (1997–2001) with Lizzi Bougatsos of Gang Gang Dance, performing as its drummer at gallery and museum events including Criss Cross: Some Young New Yorkers III at MoMA PS1 in 1999. Sweeney cites jazz as having influenced his reliance on improvisation, and alongside frequent references to popular culture in his work, he alludes to the history of art. His reclining nudes, portraits, and self-portraits, for example, reverberate with the amplified and distorted voices of Pablo Picasso, Édouard Manet, and Henri Matisse, while also combining the extemporaneous vigor of Neo-Expressionism with the knowing repetition of signature motifs.

In 2015 Spencer Sweeney, a 500-page book of conversations between the artist and some of his myriad inspirations from the worlds of cinema, literature, music, New York nightlife, and contemporary art, was published, testifying to his fundamental investment in context and open exchange. Sweeney’s painting and drawing salon Headz (2017–)—a collaboration with Urs Fischer—hosts performances by experimental jazz musicians such as Pete Drungle, Craig Harris, and Jay Rodriguez, and has received international stagings in Berlin, Mexico City, and Paris. In his current work, Sweeney continues to invoke the spirit of “availablism” (a term coined by performance artist Kembra Pfahler to describe making art with materials to hand), interweaving images of disarming psychological directness with a fluid and multilayered examination of the creative process itself.

SOLO

2017

Viva Las Vegas, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany

2016

The Grey Leg, Gavin Brown’s enterprise & Cahiers d’Art, 15 rue du Dragon, Paris, France

2015

TRAMPS, curated by Parinaz Mogadassi, London, UK Karma, New York / Wake Up and Make Love, Gavin Brown's enterprise, 291 Grand, New York

2014

She, C-l-e-a-r-i-n-g, Brussels, Belgium / Monads and Party Paintings, The Modern Institute, Glasgow, UK

2013

Berlin Paintings, Veneklasen Werner, Berlin, Germany

2012

Twig Gallery, Brussels, Belgium

2011

The Pharaoh’s Lounge – Party Paintings and Sauna, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York / Nudes, The Green Gallery, Milwaukee, WI

2010

Egyptian Diving Board Part II, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York / Teatr Laboratorium, Veneklasen Werner, Berlin, Germany

2009

Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York

2008

Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco / Our Gang, The Modern Institute, Glasgow, UK

2006

AMT Gallery, Como, Italy

2005

The Modern Institute, Glasgow, UK / Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York

2003

Works on paper, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York

1999

Lawing Gallery, Houston

GROUP

2017

HeatWave, UTA Artist Space, Los Angeles

Peace Pieces, Brian DeGraw with Spencer Sweeney, Hysteric Glamour, Shibuya, Japan

Animal Farm, The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT

2016

Don’t Look Back, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany
Olympia, Carte blanche exhibit to Karma, Galerie Patrick Seguin, Paris, France
Outside, Karma, Amagansett, New York (curated by Matthew Higgs) Goulding the Lolly, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Grand Street, New York (curated by Brian Belott)
The Great Figure Two, The Journal gallery, New York
Lost For Words, Murray Guy, New York

2015

What’s Wrong With Me, Martos Gallery, Los Angeles
Feed the Meter, Bernard Ceysson Galerie, Luxembourg

2014

Painter's Painters: Gifts from Alex Katz, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

2013

PIZZA TIME!, Marlborough Broome Street, New York

2012

Do Your Thing, White Columns, New York
Portrait of a Generation, The Hole, New York

2010

Paintings From England and America, Crisp Gallery, London, UK To NY with Love, Don’t Projects, Paris, France

2009

Le souci de soi, Don’t Projects, Paris, France
The living and the dead, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York
Frenz, Fleisher/Ollman, Philadelphia
From NY with Love, Galeria Candela, San Juan, Puerto Rico (curated by Glorimarta Linares)

2008

That Was Then...This Is Now, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City

2006

Day For Night: Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

2005

Looking at Words: The Formal use of Text in Modern and Contemporary Works on Paper, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York The Early Show, White Columns, New York
Drunk Vs, Stoned 2, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York
Red White Blue, Spencer Brownstone Gallery, New York

2004

Subway Series Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York

2003

My People Were Fair and Had Cum in their Hair, Team Gallery, New York Today’s Man, John Connely, New York
Karaoke Death Machine, Daniel Reich, New York

2002

20th Anniversary Exhibition, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York Paintings: Steve DiBenedetto, Spencer Sweeney, and Joe Zucker, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York

2001

American Fine Arts, New York Hysteric Glamour, Tokyo, Japan
21st century group show, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York
Legal Paper Work, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, Los Angeles

1999

XXX-Mas Show, American Fine Arts, New York (curated by Colin Deland) CrissCross: Some Young New Yorkers 3, PS1 Contemporary Arts Center, Long Island City, NY
Paradise 8, Exit Art, New York
Preview Party for John Waters’ opening, American Fine Arts Gallery, New York
(curated by Colin Deland)
Preview Party for Gary Gross, American Fine Arts Gallery, New York
Free Coke, Greene Naftali gallery, New York (curated by Carol Greene)

1998

Beyond the Matter of Space, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center
Hey, You Never Know, New York (performance curated by Carol Greene)

1997

Gift Land, Printed Matter, New York

1993

Subculture Gallery, Philadelphia

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