Collection: "Karen May: Artforum Interventions" organized by Jess Frost of The Arts Center at Duck Creek

a marker drawing made on top of a square magazine advertisement. the image shows a gallery space with dark paintings on the white wall. the artist has added pink and blue marks to the walls and floor and signed their name, "Karen May" in red

About the Exhibition

The Arts Center at Duck Creek is pleased to present a two-part exhibition in collaboration with NIAD Art Center, showcasing works by Karen May at Duck Creek in East Hampton, NY, as well as in NIAD's archive of curated online exhibitions. 

Karen May has been a prolific member of NIAD's studio program for over a decade, and this exhibit features a selection of her drawings on Artforum advertisements. 

Artforum, known for its iconic 10.5 x 10.5 inch square format since 1962, is instantly recognizable to contemporary art enthusiasts. Jerry Saltz once described Artforum as "where the art world does its peacocking," noting that advertisements constitute 70 percent of the magazine.

Karen May's drawings and paintings are vibrant, dynamic abstractions, often densely packed with color, pattern, and mark making. But in response to the Artforum ads, her approach becomes more complex, complementing and contrasting the underlying imagery.

In one ad, her activation of the negative space between Silke Otto-Knapp's paintings forms a sculptural mass in the interior view of Mary Boone's Gallery. In another, two paintings by Forrest Bess and Joan Snyder are further merged by May's marks and her additions of her own name to the exhibition ad. 

This contrast between the magazine's clean precision and May's voracious, instinctive drawing underscores the gap between the genuine urge to create art, and the glossy presentation of that urge when it's been packaged for sale. 


About the Organizer

The Arts Center at Duck Creek is located on seven acres of bucolic land known as Historic Duck Creek Farm in East Hampton, NY, and operates as a nonprofit organization, recognized as a 501(c)(3) entity in New York State. Since 2018, we have been dedicated to the stewardship of historic Duck Creek Farm as a place to inspire our community with free creative programming that supports artists, celebrates diversity, and honors the East End's cultural legacy. Our operations are sustained solely through grant allocations and generous donations from the community, and our programming is always free and open to all. 

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