29 June – 12 August 2023
Josh Lilley is pleased to present ANTI-ICON: APOKALYPSIS, a daring new body of work by artist Martine Gutierrez. The series continues her exploration of identity across the cultural landscapes of gender, race and celebrity. In 17 new works, Gutierrez has transformed herself into a multitude of idols. Costumed by the barest of essentials, Gutierrez’s figure is the catalyst, reflecting dystopian futurism upon the symbols of our past. Through each metamorphosis, Gutierrez re-envisions a diverse canon of radical heroines who have achieved legendary cultural influence over thousands of years in both art history and pop culture.
The project’s cult following began in 2021 when first commissioned by Public Art Fund. Ten images from the original series were chosen to circulate on bus shelters normally used for advertising. Pedestrians encountered the larger-than-life figures on their daily commutes in 300 locations across New York, Chicago, and Boston. Gutierrez adapted these images by veiling the publicly hung nude self-portraits, both delegating her autonomy and struggle in the ongoing political restrictions placed on women’s bodies in the United States. The larger-than-life portraits were encountered by pedestrians on their daily commutes, reproduced on over 300 locations across New York, Chicago and Boston.
This summer, Gutierrez will reveal ANTI-ICON: APOKALYPSIS in three distinct selections set to preview across three venues: RYAN LEE Gallery, New York; Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco; and Josh Lilley, London. The three-gallery exhibition will be accompanied by a new artist book, published by RYAN LEE, entitled APOKALYPSIS. The full collection of 17 portraits will be presented in its entirety for the first time in a traveling museum show, organized by Polygon Gallery, Vancouver slated for 2024.
Gutierrez is the sole performer in the series, portraying all 17 groundbreaking figures: Aphrodite, ancient Greek goddess of love, desire and beauty, identified by the Romans as ‘Venus’; Ardhanarishvara, composite male-female figure of the Hindu god Shiva together with his consort Parvati; Atargatis, Syrian mother goddess of fertility and the moon; Cleopatra, Egyptian ruler famed for her influence on Roman politics; Queen Elizabeth I, England’s second female monarch when the country asserted itself as a major power in politics, commerce and the arts in the 16th century; Gabriel, angel in the Abrahamic religions believed by many to be able to take on any physical form; Helen of Troy, Greek beauty seen as the cause of the Trojan war; Joan of Arc, sainted heroine of France, revered as a holy person for her faithfulness and bravery in battle, burned at the stake by the church; Judith The Slayer, courageous biblical widow who used her charm to save her people from an Assyrian general; Lady Godiva, bold noblewoman from the Medieval peri- od who fought for justice for everyday people; Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mesoamerican Catholic title of Mary, who appeared to the Indigenous mon Jan Diego and imprinted herself on his cloak as proof of her visitation; Mary Magdalene, ‘Magdalene’ means tower, as she is an early tower of the Christian faith, cited in the four canonical gospels as a follower and companion of Jesus Christ, a witness to his crucifixion and resurrection; The Virgin Mary, a young Jewish virgin from Nazareth, chosen by God to conceive Jesus through the Holy Spirit; La Madonna, Italian for ‘Lady, Virgin Mary’, central figure of Christianity, celebrated as the ‘Virgin Queen’ in procetions of Samana Santa, throughout Spain and Latin America; Hua Mulan, famed warrior of Chinese folklore who disguised herself as a man to fight in battle; Sacagawea, Shoshone interpreter and guide of the expedition to discover routes through pre-colonial America, journaled by Lewis and Clark; Queen of Sheba, Ethiopian queen, known for her wit, power and wealth, her romance with King Solomon is documented in the Kebra Nagast.