Public Opening Friday, January 26, 2024 6-8 PM
125 Newbury is pleased to present Animal Watch, a group show exploring the intimacies, affects, and subjectivities of animals. The exhibition opens on Friday, January 26 with a public reception from 6pm to 8pm and will remain on view through Saturday, March 2.
How does it feel to be the object of an animal’s gaze? What happens in the instant an animal looks upon us, meeting our eyes with theirs? The philosopher Jacques Derrida once reflected on the unsettling experience of being observed by his cat while naked in the bathroom. “It is as if I were ashamed,” he wrote, “naked in front of this cat, but also ashamed for being ashamed.” Like Derrida in his bathroom, this exhibition explores the architecture of feelings that enmeshes us in the world of animals.
The exhibition, which brings together an intergenerational group of artists working across a wide range of mediums, includes works by Gertrude Abercrombie, Alexander Calder, Ann Craven, Julie Curtiss, Jean Dubuffet, Natalie Frank, Robert Gober, Nan Goldin, Emilie Louise Gossiaux, Edward Hicks, Morris Hirshfield, Peter Hujar, Joan Jonas, Nina Katchadourian, Allison Katz, Jon Kessler, Lyne Lapointe, Robert Longo, John Lurie, Diana Michener, Yoshitomo Nara, Robert Nava, Richard Pousette-Dart, Lucas Samaras, Kiki Smith, Carolee Schneemann, Nolan Simon, Saul Steinberg, Bill Traylor, Mose Tolliver, and Jonas Wood. Through fantasy, fiction, fabulation, and fact, works by these artists celebrate, investigate, and make visible the deep entanglements between animals and us.
Traversing a diversity of generations, geographies, mediums, styles, and points of reference—from the medieval bestiary to postmodern photography, from the folk aesthetic of Gertrude Abercrombie, Morris Hirshfield and Bill Traylor, to the surrealist imaginings of Robert Gober and Julie Curtiss, to the verité immediacy of Robert Longo and Peter Hujar, to the intimate encounters of Kiki Smith, Joan Jonas, Nan Goldin, and Carolee Schneemann—the artists in the exhibition depict animals as a locus for affect, questing after their vivacity, intelligence, and otherness. Confronting both the strangeness and the familiarity of the creaturely world around us, these artists teach us what it means to be the animal we call “human.”
Artists in the Exhibition
Emilie Louise Gossiaux