Bailey's Tumblings

One of the great dangers is familiarity

Rita Ackermann is a Hungarian-born artist who moved to NYC in the 1990s. The early paintings that made her famous, including Should I call the Ambulance? (1994) above,featured overtly sexual “cyberpunk, cat-eyed nymphs,” and are rude, gritty and other-worldly all at the same time. With so many themes, it’s easy to see why the Whitney Bienniale literature called her an aesthetic “magpie.”
Fans of Ackermann’s art often link the pieces back to the grungy streets of New York City right after the tech bubble burst in the beginning of the 1990s. At this time, Ackermann had just immigrated to the city. The vividness of her scenes belies a sense of culture shock she must have been experiencing at the time.
In an interesting side note, Ackermann seems to espouse a sexually overt and grungy self-image much like the paintings she creates. Here are some excerpts from an interview in which Ackermann offers short, frank responses that hark back to her art in both form and content:
AM: What do you find most sexy?RA: My underwear
AM: What is your favorite walk?RA: Down dirt roads
AM: Where do you live?RA: Chinatown in New York (Author’s note: doesn’t get much grungier than that…)
While I like her use of colors, I just can’t get myself to love her work. I wonder if Ackermann’s success relies less on aesthetics and more on her ability to capture the zeitgeist of a NYC moment? If she had focused on the culture of a less artsy city – Chicago for example – would she be as respected? I guess only time will tell.

Rita Ackermann is a Hungarian-born artist who moved to NYC in the 1990s. The early paintings that made her famous, including Should I call the Ambulance? (1994) above,featured overtly sexual “cyberpunk, cat-eyed nymphs,” and are rude, gritty and other-worldly all at the same time. With so many themes, it’s easy to see why the Whitney Bienniale literature called her an aesthetic “magpie.”

Fans of Ackermann’s art often link the pieces back to the grungy streets of New York City right after the tech bubble burst in the beginning of the 1990s. At this time, Ackermann had just immigrated to the city. The vividness of her scenes belies a sense of culture shock she must have been experiencing at the time.

In an interesting side note, Ackermann seems to espouse a sexually overt and grungy self-image much like the paintings she creates. Here are some excerpts from an interview in which Ackermann offers short, frank responses that hark back to her art in both form and content:

AM: What do you find most sexy?
RA: My underwear

AM: What is your favorite walk?
RA: Down dirt roads

AM: Where do you live?
RA: Chinatown in New York (Author’s note: doesn’t get much grungier than that…)

While I like her use of colors, I just can’t get myself to love her work. I wonder if Ackermann’s success relies less on aesthetics and more on her ability to capture the zeitgeist of a NYC moment? If she had focused on the culture of a less artsy city – Chicago for example – would she be as respected? I guess only time will tell.

  1. baileye posted this