Martha Edelheit: Naked City, Paintings from 1965-1980 was an incredible introduction to me of a painter I had never heard of. The show is gorgeous. Edelheit is 91 years old, largely self-taught, and my current new art crush. I would hang any of the paintings in my home.
“Eric Firestone Gallery is pleased to announce Martha Edelheit: Naked City, Paintings from 1965–80. Opening on January 25, 2023, this is the gallery’s second solo exhibition with the 91-year-old artist. The show will include historic monumental paintings of nude women and men situated on luscious drapery or montaged into familiar locations around New York City; surrealist multi-panel self-portraits; close-ups of torsos with imagined tattoos; and intimate pastels of the body. Edelheit’s practice is transgressive, whimsical, and sensuous all at once. The artist’s output from the mid-1960s through early ‘80s reflects her abiding love of art history and her reimagining of the discipline that was largely created by men, for men.” (Eric Firestone Gallery)
Here is a good informative article about Edelheit in Artnet.
If you’ve made it through the images, your bonus is to watch this amazing video from a conversation with Edelheidt that I wish I had been in town for. I love her, and her work.
I also cannot say enough good things about the gallery. They not only say hello when you walk in the door, have excellent taste in art, but are always generous with their time in answering all my questions about the art, and artist. This show is up through March 18th. If you get a chance to see it in person, you will be thanking me!
“Martha Edelheit (b. New York, NY, 1931) is known as a pioneering feminist artist whose work of the 1960s addresses female desire, the body, and skin as a double “canvas” for tattoo imagery. Edelheit studied at the University of Chicago, New York University, and Columbia University in the 1950s. Important teachers included artist Michael Loew and art historian Meyer Schapiro. She established herself in the center of the downtown avant-garde, becoming a member of the Tenth Street artist-run space, the Reuben Gallery, where her first solo show was held in 1960. By 1962, Edelheit began to explore the subject of tattooing in her work. The flesh of the figures Edelheit depicts become places where the dreams and fantasies of the models emerge. Edelheit’s work implicitly challenges social expectations of women as well as formalist paradigms and traditional notions of figurative painting and the nude.” (Eric Firestone Gallery)