(Beverly Hills, CA — February 28, 2020) — UTA Artist Space is pleased to present Thirsty for Myself, an exhibition of new paintings by New York-based artist Julia Wachtel. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles, despite many of her paintings using images culled from Hollywood film and television.
Wachtel is best known for collecting images from pop culture and the public domain and repurposing them into paintings encoded with new meanings. She scrambles and reconfigures the language of image to powerfully yet playfully address urgent political, social, and environmental issues. On view in the exhibition are 13 mostly new and previously unseen works, continuing Wachtel’s tradition of layering and juxtaposing cartoons, logos, photographs, and stock images, and dividing them into segments that establish a dialogue with the formal languages of Modernism and Postmodernism.
One of the exhibition’s central paintings, Thirsty for Myself (2019), addresses the extreme pervasiveness of anxiety and narcissism in contemporary American culture. Two cartoon figures stand apart at opposite ends of the canvas while also chaotically layered on top of one another, both caught in a storm of hearts that look akin to social media “likes”. This painting is technically unique for the artist and is the first time she has screen printed directly on hand painted panels.
In Marine Park (2019), Wachtel uses an image found from a commercial Chinese website depicting a plastic indoor activity zone superimposed on top of an image of the seaside. She was drawn to the irony of plastic—the enemy of our global ecosystem—being overlaid on this natural beach scene. Paired with this are two images of Chuck E. Cheese, who is arguably of the same colorful, commercial world fragmented in multiple panels. Wachtel’s method of repeating and overlapping the image in this painting creates a mutation that challenges the coherence of a fixed image. Another painting, Hole (2019), is a response to the lack of political will to address the overwhelming array of critical issues confronting us, illustrated by two white male figures burying their heads in their surroundings. Baby Blue (2019) is an intentional perversion of language; there is no blue in the painting and Wachtel instead addresses commonplace gender color coding.
The exhibition will also include two earlier paintings from Wachtel’s practice. The largest work at 5-foot tall and 13-foot wide is Stone (2015), which tackles America’s deep-rooted negative racial stereotypes and corporate marketing campaigns; Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Colonel Sanders is depicted next to a screen printed young black man throwing a stone in a comparison to the biblical tale of David and Goliath. In another painting, Communication (2016), Wachtel uses stills from American Cold War comedy TV series Get Smart as a pointed take on our current parallel political climate.
In celebration of Thirsty for Myself, UTA Artist Space is proud to collaborate with New York fashion line Lingua Franca and artware editions company Prospect to produce a collection of limited edition products, available in-person at UTA Artist Space and on UTA Artist Space’s website.
ABOUT JULIA WACHTEL
Julia Wachtel has exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide since the 1980s. In the last five years she has had solo exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Kunsthall Bergen, Norway, Super Dakota Gallery, Brussels, Mary Boone Gallery, NYC, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, NYC, and Vilma Gold Gallery, London. She has been in numerous group exhibitions institutional and gallery, including the Migros Museum, Zurich, The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MOCA LA, The Zabludowicz Collection, London, The Saatchi Gallery, London, Gavin Brown Enterprise, NYC, Super Dakota, Bruxelles, and Foxy Production, NYC. In 2017 Wachtel was featured in the exhibition, Fast Forward: Painting from the 80s at the Whitney Museum and in 2018 in the exhibition Too Much Is Not Enough: Art and Commodity in the 80s at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Her work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, NYC, The Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, The Cleveland Museum of Art and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Wachtel lives and works in CT and NYC.
ABOUT UTA ARTIST SPACE
UTA Artist Space is an exhibition venue in the heart of Beverly Hills that is committed to showcasing art by globally recognized talent. Since its establishment in 2016, UTA Artist Space has presented notable exhibitions with interdisciplinary artists and creatives, including Ai Weiwei, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Derrick Adams, Petra Cortright, The Haas Brothers, Larry Clark, Carpenters Workshop Gallery, and Mariane Ibrahim. Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm. Open Monday by appointment. For more information, please visit utaartistspace.com.
ABOUT LINGUA FRANCA
Lingua Franca is a line of sustainably-sourced, fair trade luxury cashmere sweaters, all hand- stitched by women in NYC. Each piece is hand-embroidered with a phrase, intended to promote discussion around issues of cultural and social relevance. The signature sweaters have garnered a strong following among leaders in the fields of entertainment, art, and politics.The company works with a variety of organizations to support and give back to their causes, all while promoting ethical manufacturing practices. linguafranca.nyc/
Prospect collaborates with a growing roster of highly esteemed contemporary artists to design and develop small batch collections and makes them shop-able through its online store and network of retailers and institutional partners. The team searches the globe for the highest quality materials and most refined techniques, bringing to life exclusive art and design products that are true to the artist and are celebrated by an expanding audience of collectors and non-collectors alike. Each collection features an array of objects that embody everything today’s discerning consumer loves—actionably priced, high-quality pieces with an undeniable style. prospectny.com/
President, Cultural Counsel
Senior Account Executive, Cultural Counsel