The first American survey of one of the UK’s most influential artists.
Over the past 30 years, Sarah Lucas (b. 1962, London, UK) has created a distinctive and provocative body of work that subverts traditional notions of gender, sexuality, and identity. Since the late 1980s, Lucas has transformed found objects and everyday materials such as furniture, cigarettes, vegetables, and stockings into absurd and confrontational tableaux that boldly challenge social norms. The human body and anthropomorphic forms recur throughout Lucas’s works, often appearing erotic, humorous, fragmented, or reconfigured into fantastical anatomies of desire.
Initially associated with a group known as the Young British Artists (YBAs), who began exhibiting together in London in the late 1980s, Lucas is now one of the UK’s most influential artists. Bringing together more than 150 works in photography, collage, sculpture, and installation, Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel reveals the breadth and ingenuity of the artist’s practice. The exhibition addresses the ways in which Lucas’s works engage with crucial debates about gender and power--with a particular attentiveness to the legacy of surrealism—from her clever modifications to everyday objects to her exploration of sexual ambiguity and the tension between the mundanely familiar and the disorientingly strange.
Alongside new sculptural works created for the exhibition, Au Naturel features some of Lucas’s most important projects, including early sculptures from the 1990s that substitute domestic furniture for human body parts and enlarged spreads from tabloid newspapers from the same period that reflect objectified representations of the female body. In addition to the photographic self-portraits that Lucas has produced throughout her career, the exhibition features biomorphic sculptures including her stuffed-stocking Bunnies (1997–ongoing) and NUDS (2009–ongoing), the Penetralia series (2008–ongoing), and selections from her installations at the Freud Museum in London (2000) and the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2015). These works, which complicate inscribed codes of sexual and social normativity, have never been shown together in the United States.
Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel is organized by the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. The exhibition is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director, and Margot Norton, Curator. The Hammer’s presentation is organized by Anne Ellegood, senior curator.