‘Provocateurs’ brings Dalí, Mickalene Thomas, Warhol to West Chelsea Contemporary – Austin

West Chelsea Contemporary (WCC) welcomes the public to Provocateurs, an arresting exhibit running to May 9, 2021 in the heart of downtown Austin at 1009 W 6th St. Open to the public at no charge, Provocateurs is the third exhibition from WCC since its reopening last fall. The show creates space for mystery by inviting the beholder to generate meaning and construct new context.

Provocateurs provides a unique opportunity for visitors to see, discover, and collect internationally recognized artists like Raphael Mazzucco, Andy Warhol, Mickalane Thomas, The Connor Brothers, RETNA, Jenny Holzer and more. This show entices viewers to choose their own adventure and delve into a world where power lies in the interpretation and the art dares to look back. 

Universal symbols – like beauty, fame, and conflict – are refreshed through a contemporary lens. While these symbols transcend boundaries of time, their depiction and interpretation within the art historical canon has transformed from signification prescribed by the artist to context created by the viewer.

Provocateurs highlights artists who create work that mystify, enchant, challenge, and fascinate through overt forms and hidden meanings.

Salvador Dalí, Mickalene Thomas, Andy Warhol

Salvador Dalí and Raphael Mazzucco transfix the viewer with posture and pose in surrealist and dream-like sequences.

Female contemporary artists such as Mickalene Thomas, Sofia Cianciulli, and Lisa Yuskavage use the naked body as a means to subvert the male gaze, defying traditional positioning of the female form.

Bob Gruen, Kate Garner, and Andy Warhol immortalize the influence of celebrity, prompting reflection on the instinctive appetite for fortune, fame, and legacy.

Through real and invented language, text is used and obscured by The Connor Brothers, Jenny Holzer, Ed Ruscha and RETNA, left deliberately vague to prompt internal dialogue within the viewer.

John Baldessari, Robert Longo, and Yue Minjun’s referential images depict and abstract explosive detonations while purposefully withholding the conflict’s context. Damien Hirst, Shepard Fairey and Cleon Peterson incorporate loaded symbols to comment on society’s desire to numb, alter, and challenge the status quo.  

“We are excited for this show, especially to be able to include Cori Teague who’s an emerging contemporary artist and also one of our art consultants,” said WCC founder Lisa Russell. “Cori has worked directly with us to bring this exhibition to fruition – from the wall designs and show activations to the lighting and curation direction. We are thrilled with how this show has taken shape, and look forward to sharing it with the city of Austin. Guests can expect to find artworks that challenge and engage our predisposed notions of the provocative.”

In this exhibition, West Chelsea Contemporary’s white walls and bright lights are transformed into an immersive reverie of glamour, fame, romance, and mystery. Left deliberately vague with context stripped away, the works in this show offer limitless readings.

Lisa Yuskavage, Hippies (13/23). Eight color giclée with offset lithography in two colors. 36.50 x 32.50 in

About West Chelsea Contemporary – Austin

Initially founded in 2002 by Lisa Russell as Russell Collection, the revamped gallery launched in the fall of 2020 as West Chelsea Contemporary with the highly successful street art show Concrete to Canvas that featured some of the biggest names in street art, like Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Basquiat, KAWS, and more alongside local contemporary street artists. WCC will continue to feature premier street art in its collection, and each exhibit since its reopening has reiterated the breadth of the gallery’s wide curatorial scope and what it has in store for Austin — a city that’s grown in recognition for its public art and museum offerings in recent years. The Austin art scene is poised to continue to gain traction with the unparalleled curation of art from WCC.

In addition to Blue-Chip names, West Chelsea Contemporary represents a selection of regional artists including Hayley Mitchell, Gil Bruvel, Cody Hooper, and Ash Almonte.

Visitors will enter through The Gift Shop at West Chelsea Contemporary, which features items for the art enthusiast and art collector alike. The store makes contemporary art accessible, complete with KAWS companions and Kusama pumpkins, as well as art books covering Alex Katz, Takashi Murakami, and more. Smaller art tokens such as magnets, toys, mugs, and tea towels highlight artists ranging from David Shrigley and Keith Haring to the Guerilla Girls and Jean-Michel Basquiat. 

Gallery hours are Monday-Saturday from 10-6 and Sundays from 12-6. In order to maintain a safe experience for all, visitors are encouraged to wear face coverings in the space and to practice social distancing. 

For more information on West Chelsea Contemporary and the opening of Provocateurs, please visit wcc.art and follow the gallery on Instagram @wcc.art and Facebook @wcc.gallery

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