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October 23 – November 21, 2021 (EXTENDED)

KuBe Art Center, 211 Fishkill Ave, Beacon NY

Saturdays, Sundays 12 – 6 PM

Booking a time slot is required.

BEACON, NY – The KuBe Art Center and Monira Foundation are proud to present Contemporary Portraiture: “Artist As Subject,” a significant exhibition with the participation of a number of prominent collections. On view at the KuBe Art Center October 23 – November 21, 2021, Artist as Subject is an exhibition that explores the rich diversity of how artists approach portrait making today.

How do we make sense of Yayoi Kusama, Aboudia, Ida Applebroog and  Yigal Ozeri splayed together on one wall? By re-orienting the artist as the subject. By re-orienting the artist as a willing subject we can draw a likeness to the origins of painting - specifically the myth of Narcissus. The artist is transfixed by--and transfixes us via--their own vision as it appears upon a flat surface. The KuBe Art Center and Monira Foundation invite the public to contemplate the notion of portraiture as a quasi-distorted reflection of reality, the canvas as a mirror, the subject as reified by the gaze of the artist.

Contemporary Portraiture: Artist As Subject explores the rich diversity of artistic approaches in today's portraiture. Drawing from four collections: Eileen S. Kaminsky Collection, Doron Sebbag Collection, The Mana Collection, and Ethan Cohen Collection, co-curated by Ysabel Pinyol Blasi, Executive Director and curator of the Monira Foundation, and Ethan Cohen, Director of Ethan Cohen Gallery, and Founder of the KuBe Art Center, the show aims repositions portraiture as a context based and driven practice. The Mana Collection, contributing a rarely seen 20-minute film, Self Portrait (1980), by Jonas Mekas, the godfather of avant-garde cinema, offers 360° views of his face, with and without his hat, and speaks directly to the camera, describing his “personal, autobiographical, real-life” approach to filmmaking.

The Ethan Cohen Collection includes portraits by leading artists from China and Africa. Among the works on view, a highlight is a 1980 self-portrait by Yuan Yunsheng, depicting the artist seated, paint-spattered trousers crossed at the knee, arms folded behind his head, limbs jutting into each of the four corners of the canvas. His expression of subdued triumph would have been justified: just a year prior to the painting’s completion, Yuan had unveiled a mural, Water-Splashing Festival: An Ode to Life, that was heralded as a symbol of China’s new freedom from the aesthetic mores of the Cultural Revolution and its emergence into contemporaneity. The self-portrait, painted in oil, is one of the masterpieces of Contemporary Chinese Art of the 1980s. Pieces from the Ethan Cohen Collection also highlight works by leading Ivorian artist Aboudia that depict portraits of the street children of Abidjan. Among the leading African artists today, Aboudia takes inspiration from graffiti, tribal art, and from his own childhood growing up in poverty on the streets of Abidjan as a young street artist. His vivid paintings with vibrant strokes of color, elements of collage, and wordplay depict street scenes of his hometown and its children in his trademark ‘nouchi’ style.

Another segment of the exhibition contains works contributed by Eileen S. Kaminsky’s figure-based collection including Yayoi Kusama, Ida Applebroog and Yigal Ozeri. Israeli-born artist Yigal Ozeri's painted portraits of the Collection of Eileen S. Kaminsky artists, which are presented alongside figurative works by the hand of the subjects themselves. One vignette pairs Ozeri’s painting of George Condo with a drawing of a woman’s head, and links it to its stylistic antecedent, a drawing of a woman by Pablo Picasso. Condo’s admiration for the late Spaniard is evident both in the neo-Cubist paintings depicted in the background of Ozeri’s portrait and in the geometric similarities between the two drawings, from the rigid spindles of the figures’ eyelashes to their cuneiform noses. Ozeri’s portrait of Picasso is also included in the exhibition.

"Leon Battista Alberti famously linked the origins of painting to the myth of Narcissus: like the ill-fated youth, the artist is transfixed by--and transfixes us via--their own vision as it appears upon a flat surface. I invite the public to contemplate the notion of portraiture as a quasi-distorted reflection of reality, the canvas as a mirror, the subject as reified by the gaze of the artist." ––Ysabel Pinyol Blasi, Curator and Executive Director of the Monira Foundation


Artist List




Ai Weiwei

Akito Nara

Alex Katz

Ali Shrago-Spechler

Alejandro Dron

Allison Schulnik

Anna Navasardian

Anne Muntges

Angela Gram

Antonio Murado

Armand Boua

Austin Stiegemeier

Avelino Sala

Basmat Levin

Ben Degen

Benjamin Keating

Bernard Williams

Bill Viola

The Blue Noses

Carroll Dunham

Catheris Mondombo

Chi Ming

Chie Fueki

Christian Vincent

Chris D'Acunto

Cindy Sherman

Claudia Coca

Clayton Brothers

Dana Schutz

David Wakstein

Edwin Schlossberg

Emil Alzamora

Erika Harrsch

Eugene Lemay

Fang Lijun

Ferran Martin

Frederic Bruly Bouabre

Gabriel Shuldiner

Gan Yu

George Condo

Gerhard Richter

Gu Dexin

Gunter Brus

Hannah van Bart

Helen Frankenthaler

Hermann Nitsch

Huang Yan

Innocent Nkurunziza

Isaac Aden

Ida Applebroog

Jac Lahav

Jamie Diamond

Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave

Jeannie Weissglass

Jerry Robinson

Jim Peters

John Newsom

John Aslanidis

Johan Wahlstrom

Jon Kessler

Jonas Mekas

Joseph Ayers

Julie Heffernan

Katya Kan

Lara Birgit Kamhi

Li Daiyun

Li Quanwu

Lili Almog

Liu Xiaodong

Liu Xiaohui

Malick Sidibé

Matt Saunders

Max Ferguson

Michal Rovner

Milan Prokes

Mina Cheon

Naoto Nakagawa

Osvaldo Romberg

Pan Xing Lei

Peng Yu and Sun Yuan

Qi Zhilong

Ray Smith

Ron English

Sandro Chia

Sante D’Orazio

Shen Ling

Sherry Kerlin

Shi Chong

Sigalit Landau

Sui Jianguo

Xiao Lu

Tang Hui

Ushio Shinohara

Vincent Michea

Wang Yuping

Wu Junyong

Yigal Ozeri

Yayoi Kusama

Zhang Dali

Zhang Hongtu

Zhang Xiaogang

Zhang Xiaomao

Zhou Xiaohu

Zhang Yanzi