Painting is Painting’s Favorite Food: Art History as Muse at South Etna Montauk

“Asger Jorn, the great Danish artist and mastermind of the CoBrA movement, always had a zinger up his sleeve. He famously sent a mordant telegram to Harry F. Guggenheim, refusing the Guggenheim Prize with a single sentence: ‘Go to hell with your money, Bastard!’ Jorn titled one of his most famous modifications—his term for painting on top of anonymous thrift store canvases—The Avant Garde Won’t Give Up. And in speaking about the voracious cultural consumption required of the creative act, he declared, ‘Painting is painting’s favorite food,’ encapsulating the vital role that art history plays in most artists’ practice.

Jorn’s quip serves as both inspiration and exposition for Painting is Painting’s Favorite Food: Art History as Muse, the debut presentation at South Etna Montauk, opening July 16, 2020 in the Village of Montauk on the East End of Long Island. Curated by Alison M. Gingeras, this exhibition riffs on Jorn’s cheeky turn of phrase to explore the various ways artists deploy art history as their central muse. The show includes works by Derrick Adams, Glenn Brown, Scott Covert, John Currin, Jesse Edwards, Hadi Fallahpisheh, Rachel Feinstein, Luis Flores, Doreen Garner, Clarity Haynes, Lyle Ashton Harris, Jane Kaplowitz, Karen Kilimnik, Dennis Kardon, Chris Oh, Borna Sammak, Peter Saul, Sally Saul, Betty Tompkins, Piotr Uklański, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.” — South Etna Montauk


Derrick Adams, Four Women 1, Aunt Sarah, 2015, Acrylic, graphite, fabric, on paper, 24 x 18 in, 61 x 45.7 cm. Courtesy the artist, Luxembourg & Dayan, Salon 94, and South Etna Montauk.


Glenn Brown, God Speed to a Great Astronaut, 2007, Oil on panel, 63 7/8 x 48 in, 162.2 x 121.9 cm. Private collection, courtesy South Etna Montauk.


Scott Covert, Untitled, N.D., Acrylic and pastel on canvas, 53 x 46 in, 134.6 x 116.8 cm. Courtesy the artist and South Etna Montauk.


John Currin, Untitled, 2020, Oil on canvas, 18 x 12 in, 45.7 x 30.5 cm. Courtesy the artist, Gagosian, and South Etna Montauk.


Rachel Feinstein, Untitled, 2020, Oil on plaster, Dimensions TK. Courtesy the artist, Gagosian, and South Etna Montauk.


Doreen Garner, After Her Harvest, 2020, Urethane foam, silicone, hair weave, pearls, steel pins, 38 x 29 x 7 in, 96.5 x 73.7 x 17.8 cm. Courtesy the artist, JTT, New York, and South Etna, Montauk.


Andrew LaMar Hopkins, Creole Tête-à-tête, 2020, Acrylic on canvas board, 12 x 16 in, 30.5 x 40.6 cm. Courtesy the artist and South Etna Montauk.


Dennis Kardon, Illusions of Security, 2005, Oil on linen, 24 x 36 in, 61 x 91.4 cm. Courtesy the artist, Massimo De Carlo, and South Etna Montauk.


Karen Kilimnik, My Nephews in Germany by Winterhalter, 2009, Signed, dated and titled on verso, Water soluble oil color on canvas, 18 x 14 in, 45.7 x 35.6 cm. Private collection, courtesy South Etna Montauk.


Maryan, The Seated Painter (After Vermeer), 1966, oil on canvas, 40 x 30 in, 101.6 x 76.2 cm. Courtesy Venus Over Manhattan and South Etna Montauk.


Chris Oh, Citrus, 2020, Acrylic on faux fruit, 16 x 8 x 6 1/2 in, 40.6 x 20.3 x 16.5 cm. Courtesy the artist, Fortnight Institute, and South Etna Montauk.


Peter Saul, Untitled (Dear Dali), 2003, Synthetic polymer paint, ink, and colored pencil on board, 40 x 30 1/8 in, 101.6 x 76.5 cm. Courtesy the artist, Venus Over Manhattan, and South Etna Montauk.


Sally Saul, High and Low, 2020, Clay and glaze, 18 x 12 1/2 x 6 1/2 in, 45.7 x 31.8 x 16.5 cm. Courtesy the artist, Rachel Uffner, and South Etna Montauk.


Betty Tompkins, Women Words Painting (Artemisia Gentileschi #1), 2020, Acrylic on digital print on canvas, 33 x 25 1/2 in, 83.8 x 64.8 cm. Courtesy the artist, P.P.O.W., and South Etna Montauk.


Piotr Uklanski, Untitled (Fanny Cornforth), 2020, Oil and acrylic on polyester canvas, 19 x 14 in, 48.3 x 35.6 cm. Courtesy the artist and South Etna Montauk.


Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Clematis, 2014, Oil on canvas, 23 1/2 x 21 7/8 in, 59.7 x 55.6 cm. Courtesy Salon 94, and South Etna, Montauk.

Alison Gingeras remarked: “By separating us from physical access to the trove of treasures we normally take for granted as accessible at museums and galleries, this unprecedented period of confinement has made us more aware of how much we feed on art history as part of our regular visual and intellectual diet. This inaugural exhibition at South Etna Montauk – whose Kilimnik-esque faux Tudor facade is a manifestation of ‘architecture is architecture’s favorite food’ – pays tribute to our collective need for the nourishment provided by art and art history.”

Title image: Exterior night view of South Etna Montauk, featuring hand-painted sign by Julian Schnabel. Courtesy the artist and South Etna Montauk.

Images courtesy South Etna Montauk.