In Anticipation of Women's History Month
29.01 — 24.04.16
Opening and inauguration 28.01.16 6 p.m.
Building on an extensive painting lexicon, Rochelle Feinstein employs an array of styles and media, such as silkscreen, photography and assemblage, hard-edged graphic compositions as well as expressionist factures.
These combined manners and processes cross-reference the historical with the vernacular, the mythologies of the avant-garde, as well as popular culture. At once social commentary and autobiographical incidents, her work offers a biting reflection on the role of an artist working in the arena that is painting in America today.
In Anticipation of Women's History Month is the first comprehensive retrospective exhibition of the last 25 years of Rochelle Feinstein's work. It is organized with Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich (7.6 – 18.9 2016); kestnergesellschaft, Hannover (3.12 – 12.2.2017) and the Bronx Museum of the Arts (27.6 – 22.9.2018) in New York City.
Rochelle Feinstein was born in 1947 in New York where she lives and works. In Anticipation of Women's History Month is curated by Fabrice Stroun and Tenzing Barshee.
On November 19, 2002, Michael Jackson held his baby over a Berlin hotel balcony. Three days later, he stated, "I Made A Terrible Mistake". In Rochelle Feinstein's eponymous installation, the "King of Pop" is one of two subjects or "conceptual muses". Barry White, who countered his mistakes with sensual redemption, is the other one. With him, lamentations of regret, longing and desire are trumped by pleasure. There is no space for lengthy apologies. White died in the summer of 2003, while Rochelle Feinstein was staying in Giverny in France. It was there, at Monet's "synthetically articulated" garden, where the possibility of a fall from grace into grace began taking form. "Mistakes are allegories of contemporary life," says Rochelle Feinstein, "whether on an iconic scale or a private one."
In 2009 the economy and everything else was either shutdown or moving backward. Rochelle Feinstein had just consolidated two storage spaces into a single archive. "My Studio was packed," she recounts, "with diverse materials, including paint to make paintings from—usable 'assets' with unrealized potential." She then launched the project The Estate of Rochelle F., which began with the impetus to use these surplus materials to make work. To have a start and end point roll into each other, was another ambition driving this project. Her idea was to consciously create a past, intended as an accumulation of many paintings that would materialize as a corpus sometime in the future.
Rochelle Feinstein has an affinity for clichés and empty phrases. Having A Wonderful Time (1992) is one of those, Love Your Work (1999-2000/2014) would be another one. Her decisive use of language is matched by her programmatic commitment to abstraction. In both cases, she generates access points that broadcast widely recognized tropes. Once established, these points connect to a place where the artist introduces meaning and by doing so, she disrupts ideas of pure abstraction. This results in a broad variety of pictures including a good many interpretations of the modernist grid and depictions of illusionistic space.
As part of her reflections on systems of circulation, it is the the same hand she uses to tackle social phenomena that incorporates private stories into works like Travel Abroad (1999) or Home Study (1999-2013). Whenever the intimately personal is at stake, it is usually accompanied by glittering wit and a deadpan payoff. "The world needs change," says American painter Amy Sillman, "and Feinstein is a motherfucking cashier."