80 Washington Square East, NYU


Curated by David Rimanelli

February 2 – March 12, 2010


DENIM, an exhibition curated by David Rimanelli, NYU Faculty and Artforum contributor, features an eclectic mix of historical and contemporary artists including Knut Åsdam, Tom Burr, VALIE EXPORT, K8 Hardy, Hanna Liden and Klara Liden, Jack Pierson, Rob Pruitt, Michael Smith, Andy Warhol, and Karlheinz Weinberger.
The artists in DENIM explore the multifarious connotations of a material that began its life as a fabric for work clothes, but has become, over the past few decades, a material for fashion, both instant and high-end couture. For Rimanelli, however DENIM does not refer only to fashion but functions as psychic material, sheathing ideas that range from the erotic to the implicitly revolutionary.
Denim’s cult status as a rebel uniform emerged in the public mind largely through classic Hollywood cinema—fir instance, Marlon Brando in The Wild One, James Dean in Rebel without a Cause, and Marilyn Monroe in The Misfits, and later as the preferred style for certain subcultures, for example gay subculture, as can be seen in Kenneth Anger's Scorpio Rising and Kustom Kar Kommandos; or, returning to Hollywood, William Friedkin’s controversial Cruising.
DENIM, these cinematic references commingle with denim’s "high-art" associations, which have become ingrained through the '60s image of the "artist-worker," exemplified by minimalists like Robert Morris, or by Carl Andre, habitually attired in overalls. Andy Warhol is a key figure in this respect, both in his own sartorial inclinations but particularly in his art and films.

Gallery installation view of left and right wall. On the left is a blue, abstract line sculpture on the wall. On the right is a painting, portrait of a man with a mustache whose gaze stares straight into the viewer.
Installation view featuring a still from a video screening. Four chairs sit in front of a black and white image of a mans face in a dark room.
Installation view with four artworks, with two sculptures on the floor, a painting on the left wall, and a painting on the back right wall. The front sculpture features two pairs of jeans, filled with cement. On pair is supporting the other pair with folded legs at the knees. Behind the work, is another jean sculpture. On the left wall is a blue gradient painting. Behind, on the right wall is a collage of old portrait photographs and images.
Close-up image of a sculpture featuring two pairs of jeans filled with cement. The first pair is front facing on the ground, bent at the knees holding the other pair up by its buttocks. The second pair of jeans also has its legs bent at the knee.
Installation view of the gallery featuring two walls. On the right wall is a collection of nine framed works. On the right wall is a black and white painting of a woman with an afro, sitting on a chair.
Up close image of nine framed black and white photographs.
Installation view of the gallery. On the left, a television is on a pedestal featuring a still from a video. The still is mostly green and blue and featuring a single figure in a kitchen-like room. On the right is a small table, with a tray. On the tray is a bowl.
Image of a catalogue holder holding multiple works. The first work is a picture of a woman.