Widely associated with a re-emergence of figuration in contemporary painting, Lisa Yuskavage has developed her own genre of portraiture in which lavish, erotic, angelic, and at times grotesque characters are cast within fantastical landscapes or domestic spaces. Seamlessly blending contemporary cultural imagery and classical pictorial language, Yuskavage marshals color as a conduit for complex psychological constructs. As Christopher Bedford describes, Yuskavage's paintings "are disarmingly present, even naked in their address, laying themselves bare for inspection not because they are exacting and slavish in their depictions, but instead because they hold little if anything back. Yet for all their nakedness, the worlds depicted are just that—worlds—and they are fundamentally distant from our own. The strength of the invitation to look at these paintings and what, in turn, they extend in exchange is exactly as forceful as the world of meaning and implication that is palpable in every brushstroke, yet just slightly out of reach. This collision of clarity of presentation and elusiveness of meaning constitutes [their] central, beguiling axis."1
Born in 1962 in Philadelphia, Yuskavage received her B.F.A. from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, in 1984 and her M.F.A. from the Yale University School of Art in 1986. Since 2005, the artist's work has been represented by David Zwirner. In 2006, two solo exhibitions were concurrently presented at David Zwirner and Zwirner & Wirth, New York, followed by presentations at the gallery in 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2017. Marking her sixth gallery solo show will be a two-part exhibition on view at David Zwirner’s 525 West 19th Street and 34 East 69th Street locations, scheduled to run from early November to late December 2018.
In 2015, The Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, presented Lisa Yuskavage: The Brood, a major solo exhibition spanning twenty-five years of the artist's work. The show traveled to the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis in 2016. A large-scale, comprehensive publication by Skira Rizzoli, published on occasion of the exhibition, created in close collaboration with Yuskavage, includes texts by renowned art historians, curators, and writers including Christopher Bedford, Suzanne Hudson, Catherine Lord, and Siddhartha Mukherjee, as well as an interview with the artist by Katy Siegel.
Yuskavage's work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions worldwide, including the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (2000); Centre d'Art Contemporain, Geneva (2001); Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (2006); and The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (organized as part of the Dublin Contemporary 2011).
Museum collections which hold works by the artist include the Art Institute of Chicago; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Long Museum, Shanghai; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Rubell Family Collection, Miami; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Seattle Art Museum; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Yuskavage lives and works in New York.
1 Christopher Bedford, "Color Theorist," in Lisa Yuskavage: The Brood - Paintings 1991-2015. Exh. cat. (New York: Skira Rizzoli, 2015), p. 13.