in Features | 05 SEP 16
Featured in
Issue 3

Telling Tales - 'Crossover' New York

From Ancient Egypt to Baroque Bologna to avant-garde Moscow, the works at Frieze Masters open up a world of stories

in Features | 05 SEP 16

From a painter’s breakthrough year, a Warhol ‘Superstar’

Sperone Westwater, F4

Susan Rothenberg, Mary III, 1974, acrylic and tempera on canvas, 112×169 cm  

Mary III was drawn from Polaroids Rothenberg took of a friend in crouched poses, deliberately imitating a horse’s posture. It’s rarely exhibited, having remained in the artists’s personal collection since it was painted in 1974 (the same year as Rothenberg’s breakthrough Horse). The friend just happened to be Mary Woronov, one of Andy Warhol’s ‘Superstars’, who appears in his Chelsea Girls (1966), as well as several films by cult director Roger Corman.

The American curator Michael Auping describes the ‘crossover’ aesthetics of this milieu, linking painting, sculpture and performance, and says this particular work ‘suggests the beginnings of a restless energy that would become increasingly apparent in Rothenberg’s subsequent paintings’. But it also looks back: to the previous generation of abstract painting, as well as to Rothenberg’s experience participating in the performance works of Joan Jonas after moving to New York in 1969. ‘I loved dancing and I loved rolling around naked on a mirror with Joan where the mirror might break and cut our bodies in half,’ Rothenberg said.