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Cristin Tierney Gallery

The Optimates

  • Melanie Baker
  • 4de8361b 6d71 40ae e18a 8982e1213cac
    Melanie Baker, Mouthpiece, 2018

Press for The Optimates

Current Exhibitions at Cristin Tierney Gallery


Contemplation

  • Joe Fig,
  • Opens: Sep. 01, 2020
  • Closes: Oct. 17, 2020
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

The First 30 Years Viewing Room

  • John Wood and Paul Harrison,
  • Opens: Jun. 15, 2020
  • Closes: Aug. 23, 2020
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Black/Red/Ribbon

  • Tim Youd,
  • Opens: Mar. 06, 2020
  • Closes: Apr. 18, 2020
  • Reception: Mar. 06, 2020
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

The Optimates

  • Melanie Baker
  • Opens: Jan. 10, 2020
  • Closes: Feb. 22, 2020
  • Reception: Jan. 10, 2020
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Space Film

  • T Kelly Mason,
  • Opens: Nov. 01, 2019
  • Closes: Dec. 14, 2019
  • Reception: Nov. 01, 2019
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Menu

  • MK Guth,
  • Opens: Sep. 13, 2019
  • Closes: Oct. 26, 2019
  • Reception: Sep. 13, 2019
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Inside Baseball

  • Melanie Baker
  • Joe Fig,
  • Neil Goldberg,
  • MK Guth,
  • Malia Jensen,
  • John Wood and Paul Harrison,
  • Opens: Apr. 26, 2019
  • Closes: Jun. 01, 2019
  • Reception: Apr. 25, 2019
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

VOTE IN THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS

  • Neil Goldberg,
  • Opens: Oct. 25, 2018
  • Closes: Dec. 15, 2018
  • Reception: Oct. 25, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Under Construction: Photography, Video, and the (Re)presentation of Identity

  • Janet Biggs,
  • Victor Burgin,
  • Peter Campus,
  • Neil Goldberg,
  • Malia Jensen,
  • Anselm Kiefer,
  • Martha Rosler,
  • Cindy Sherman,
  • Opens: Sep. 06, 2018
  • Closes: Oct. 17, 2018
  • Reception: Sep. 06, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Out West (Back East)

  • Malia Jensen,
  • Opens: Jun. 07, 2018
  • Closes: Jul. 20, 2018
  • Reception: Jun. 07, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Curvilinear

  • Lorser Feitelson,
  • Opens: Apr. 24, 2018
  • Closes: May. 25, 2018
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Hard Edges

  • Lorser Feitelson,
  • Elise Ferguson,
  • Alois Kronschlaeger,
  • Opens: Mar. 01, 2018
  • Closes: Apr. 07, 2018
  • Reception: Mar. 08, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

"Inhibited Bites" Performance

  • Neil Goldberg,
  • Opens: Jan. 14, 2018
  • Closes: Jan. 14, 2018
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

pause

  • Peter Campus,
  • Opens: Jan. 11, 2018
  • Closes: Feb. 17, 2018
  • Reception: Jan. 11, 2018
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Sign of Abandonment

  • Jorge Tacla,
  • Opens: Nov. 02, 2017
  • Closes: Dec. 16, 2017
  • Reception: Nov. 02, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Classic Attitude

  • Helen Lundeberg,
  • Opens: Nov. 03, 2016
  • Closes: Dec. 17, 2016
  • Reception: Nov. 03, 2016
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Ecstatic Reading

  • Tim Youd,
  • Opens: Jul. 13, 2017
  • Closes: Aug. 18, 2017
  • Reception: Jul. 13, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Inside the Artist's Studio

  • Joe Fig,
  • Opens: Sep. 10, 2015
  • Closes: Oct. 24, 2015
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: 32

Slow Boom

  • Richard Galpin,
  • Opens: Oct. 29, 2015
  • Closes: Dec. 12, 2015
  • Reception: Oct. 29, 2015
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Slideshow

  • Francisco Ugarte,
  • Opens: Jul. 07, 2016
  • Closes: Aug. 19, 2016
  • Reception: Jul. 07, 2016
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Surface Tension

  • Jean Shin,
  • Opens: Feb. 25, 2016
  • Closes: Apr. 02, 2016
  • Reception: Feb. 25, 2016
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

within touching distance

  • Janet Biggs,
  • Opens: Jan. 07, 2016
  • Closes: Feb. 20, 2016
  • Reception: Jan. 07, 2016
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Do Androids See Electric Paintings?

  • Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins,
  • Opens: May. 06, 2016
  • Closes: Jun. 11, 2016
  • Reception: May. 06, 2016
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Tracks, Symptoms, and Designations: Art and the Index

  • Jennifer Marman,
  • Daniel Borins,
  • David Ellis,
  • Roberto Lange,
  • Ana Mendieta,
  • Juan Muñoz,
  • Gabriel Orozco,
  • Jean Shin,
  • Opens: Apr. 06, 2016
  • Closes: Apr. 30, 2016
  • Reception:
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Shout, Recount, Get Drunk

  • MK Guth,
  • Opens: Jun. 21, 2016
  • Closes: Jul. 01, 2016
  • Reception: Jun. 21, 2016
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Midwest

  • Victor Burgin,
  • Opens: Sep. 08, 2016
  • Closes: Oct. 22, 2016
  • Reception: Sep. 08, 2016
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Three Lines, One Square

  • Francisco Ugarte,
  • Opens: Jun. 01, 2017
  • Closes: Jul. 08, 2017
  • Reception: Jun. 01, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

peter campus, circa 1987

  • Peter Campus,
  • Opens: Jan. 19, 2017
  • Closes: Mar. 04, 2017
  • Reception: Jan. 19, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Indirect Representations

  • Joe Fig,
  • Janet Biggs,
  • Ellen Carey,
  • Adam Cvijanovic,
  • Kate Gilmore,
  • Neil Goldberg,
  • Nina Katchadourian,
  • Byron Kim,
  • Ryan McGinness,
  • Danica Phelps,
  • Tim Youd,
  • Opens: Mar. 16, 2017
  • Closes: Apr. 15, 2017
  • Reception: Mar. 16, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

Endurance

  • Janet Biggs,
  • Regina José Galindo,
  • Opens: Apr. 27, 2017
  • Closes: May. 27, 2017
  • Reception: Apr. 27, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

New Work

  • Alois Kronschlaeger,
  • Opens: Sep. 14, 2017
  • Closes: Oct. 28, 2017
  • Reception: Sep. 14, 2017
  • Hours: 6 - 8pm
  • Admission: free

When

Jan 10 - Feb 22, 2020

  • Reception: Jan 10, 6 - 8pm

Where

Cristin Tierney Gallery

  • 219 Bowery, Floor 2, New York NY 10002 Map
  • 212.594.0550

About

Cristin Tierney Gallery is pleased to present Melanie Baker: The Optimates, the artist’s first New York solo exhibition in nearly a decade. It opens on Friday, January 10th with a reception from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, and continues through Saturday, February 22nd. The artist will be present at the opening.

The Optimates presents four distinct scenes: two separate men stand at podiums; a man, seen from behind, speaks to someone unknown; and a group of men huddle in conversation at a window. The works are large in scale; some exceed life-size. All are made with charcoal, graphite and pigment on paper. Two are mounted on panels, and the other two are presented loose, pinned to the wall.

Baker crops her images to draw attention to specific details. The way a hand grips a podium in Sixteen Words, the overgrown haircut in Pomp and Sycophants, and the framing of Assembly of Elders around an illuminated cross in the window all stand out as a result of Baker’s careful composition. It isn’t immediately apparent in every work who the subject is, but signifiers indicate the immense power the subject wields. They wear dark suits and crisp white shirts, and several are pictured in richly adorned rooms. These are the people, we are meant to intuit, who possess wealth, class, and authority. They are also, clearly, all middle-aged or older white men, and Baker provides just enough context clues to suggest that they are either the focus of attention, or the ones cutting the back room deal. The exhibition title is a further nod to their status; the Optimates in ancient Rome were conservatives who favored rule by oligarchy and opposed immigration and assistance for the urban poor.

Although Baker presents these men as anonymous, her works are based on actual photos of real politicians: Presidents, senators, and others from both sides of the aisle make appearances. Their facelessness is a comment on the mutability of their identities. Political movements rise and fall, and regimes change; but the symbols of power—and the institutions that concentrate that power in the hands of a few—remain the same. In this respect, the dark outlook offered by The Optimates is echoed by Baker’s flat, depthless expanses of matte black charcoal. Power has infinite potential to corrupt—regardless of the subject.

Melanie Baker (b. 1955, Columbus, OH) makes charcoal drawings that deal with the concepts of power and masculinity in politics, history, and finance. Baker’s work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, Jersey City Museum, NYU’s Gallatin Galleries, Ramapo College, Keene College, and Lehman College. In 2003 the artist received a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship as well as the New York Foundation for the Arts Prize. Residencies and fellowships include the Art Omi International Artists’ Colony; Sacatar Foundation in Bahia, Brazil; Tyrone Guthrie Center at Annaghmakerrig, Ireland; Valparaiso in Mojacar, Spain; and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace program. Baker lives in Pawling, NY.

For more information please contact Candace Moeller at candace@cristintierney.com.


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