Unrealism: New Figurative Painting

Monday, March 2, 2020, 6:30 - 8pm

Add to Calendar


Figuration is one of the oldest art forms, but it continually evolves, along with our changing understanding of human identity. Aria Dean, Sam McKinniss, Ebecho Muslimova A’10, and Tschabalala Self discuss contemporary figurative painting of the last five years in a free, public event. Alison Gingeras moderates.

The featured artists often source imagery from the Internet, and draw on aesthetics developed in Internet-first channels. Digital techniques and affordances are incorporated into rendering processes with traditional media: brushstrokes are more precise, lines are sharper, and color is more highly keyed. In these works, expressionism is located more in the composition than in the paint handling.

This event launches Rizzoli’s Unrealism: New Figurative Painting. Copies will be available for sale by The Strand.

The event is free and open to the public. General public, including the school community, should reserve a space here. Please note first come, first seated; an RSVP does not guarantee admission as we generally overbook to ensure a full house.

About the panel:

Aria Dean (b. 1993) is an artist, writer and curator based in New York and Los Angeles. She is Editor and Curator at Rhizome. Dean’s writing has been featured in Texte zur Kunst, e-flux, Artforum, Art in America, Kaleidescope, Spike Magazine, and other publications. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include (meta)models or how i got my groove back, Chapter NY; Aria Dean, Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo; lonesome crowded west, Chateau Shatto, Los Angeles; Gut Pinch, The Sunroom, Richmond; and White Ppl Think I’m Radical, Arcadia Missa, London. Dean has also participated in group exhibitions internationally at Greene Naftali, New York; Tai Kwun, Hong Kong; The MAC, Belfast; ICAVCU, Richmond; Het Hem, Amsterdam; ICA Philadelphia; Higher Pictures, NY; Bodega, NY; Schinkel Pavilion, Berlin. She has lectured and presented work at various institutions such as MMK Frankfurt; Yale University; Swiss Institute, NY; Serpentine Galleries, London; Centre d’Art Contemporain Genéve; Cranbrook Art Museum; La Casa Encendida; Transmediale Festival; and Atlanta Contemporary.

Brooklyn-based artist Sam McKinniss, who recently was the subject of an ARTFORUM cover story (September, 2019), has an upcoming new solo exhibition at JTT, New York, in February 2020. Past solo exhibitions include "Neverland" at Almine Rech Gallery, Brussels, "Daisy Chain" at Team Bungalow, Los Angeles, and "Egyptian Violet" at Team Gallery, New York. His work has appeared in numerous group exhibitions at Sadie Coles HQ, London, Almine Rech Gallery, New York, MASS MoCA, North Adams, Gladstone 64, New York, and others. In addition to his work in painting, McKinniss writes regularly about art for various publications. Most recently, he contributed catalog essays discussing the work of Marsden Hartley for "The Earth Is All I Know of Wonder" at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, as well as on Piotr Uklański recent show "Ottomania" at Luxembourg Dayan, New York. 

Ebecho Muslimova (Makhachkala, Russia) has had recent solo exhibitions at Magenta Plains, New York; White Flag Projects, St. Louis; and Room East, New York. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Galerie Maria Bernheim and Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; Kunsthalle St. Gallen, Switzerland; Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin; and Ellis King, Dublin. Muslimova participated in the thirty-second Biennale of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 2017. Her exhibitions have been reviewed in the New York Times, Artforum, Forbes, Artnet, and Hyperallergic, among others.  

Tschabalala Self received her BA from Bard College and her MFA from the Yale School of Art. Selected solo exhibitions include Bodega Run, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2019); Tschabalala Self, Frye Art Museum,Seattle  (2019);  Bodega  Run,  Yuz  Museum,  West  Bund,  Shanghai  (2018);  Tschabalala Self, Tramway, Glasgow (2017); and Tschabalala Self, Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London (2017). Venues of recent group exhibitions  include  Crystal  Bridges  Museum  of  American  Art,  Bentonville,  Arkansas; New Museum, New York; and Art + Practice, Los Angeles. Self is currently an artist-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Alison M. Gingeras is a curator and writer based in New York and Warsaw. Her curatorial history spans the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Palazzo Grassi, Venice, to East Village storefront curatorial space, Oko.  She was recently a guest curator for a new series of talks at The Drawing Center entitled “Bellwethers: The Culture of Controversy.” Her recent exhibitions include the “ Oscar Wilde Temple” a public artwork by McDermott & McGough at Studio Voltaire in London and a show that explores masculine identities in the work of John Currin in a show entitled "My Life as a Man” at Dallas Contemporary. Her critical writing regularly appears in such periodicals as Artforum, Tate Etc., Spike, and Mousse. Since 1996, she has authored scores of essays for artist monographs, critical theory compendiums, and exhibition catalogues.  



Located in The Great Hall, in the Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.