press release

Painter Marlene Dumas, born in 1953 in Capetown, South Africa, has lived and worked in Amsterdam since 1976. In her work, she breaks away from the modernist abstract impulse, using the human figure as her subject matter. Both the physical reality of the human body and its symbolic value are emphasized in Dumas’s works. She traces the cycle of life from birth to death to probe a complex array of human emotions€”love, sexual desire, despair, and confusion. She also grapples with the “burden of the image” and the symbolic weight of classical modes of representation in Western art, such as the portrait and the nude; however, by working within and also transgressing these historical antecedents, Dumas effectively uses the human figure to explore and critique contemporary ideas of race, sexuality, and social identity.

The exhibition, Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave, will be the first mid-career survey of this critically acclaimed painter’s work to be mounted in the United States. The exhibition will include approximately 65 paintings and 25 drawings and will be installed thematically in order to emphasize the serial nature in which the work was conceived and realized. Opening in June 2008 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the exhibition, curated by Connie Butler, The Robert Lehman Foundation Chief Curator of Drawings at The Museum of Modern Art, will travel to MOMA before coming to The Menil Collection. Franklin Sirmans, Menil curator of modern and contemporary art, working with Connie Butler, will select a condensed body of work spanning the years from 1980 to the present for presentation.

Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave is organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) in association with The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The exhibition will be accompanied by a major, fully illustrated catalogue, which provides a scholarly examination of the artist’s career. The publication will feature newly commissioned texts by Exhibition Curator Connie Butler, MOCA Director of Publications Lisa Mark, art historian Richard Shiff, artist Matthew Monahan, and writings by the artist.

Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave

Kuratorin: Cornelia H. Butler

22.06.08 - 22.09.08 Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
14.12.08 - 16.02.09 Museum of Modern Art, New York
26.03.09 - 21.06.09 Menil Collection, Houston