Art Club Preview: Karen Kilimnik at 303 Gallery

by Guy Forget on March 16, 2011 · 2 comments Art Club

Karen Kilimnik, "The Hellfire Club episode of the Avengers", 1989, mixed media. Installation view at 303 Gallery, 2011. Image from 303 Gallery website.

Every few weeks here at AFC we pick a show to commit to seeing and thinking about, and after two weeks we come back to discuss what we've seen. This time it's Karen Kilimnik's current show at 303 Gallery. The exhibition is a tableau of new and old works centered around the re-staging of her 1989 installation “The Hellfire Club episode of the Avengers.” Although best known for her paintings, for this show Kilimnik has employed a variety of methods and materials: paintings, photographs, photocopies, props, drawings, all complete with soundtrack.

“The Avengers,” which figures so prominently in the iconography of the exhibition, was a hugely popular '60s British television series, and the “Hellfire Club episode” is a reference to the relatively infamous “Touch of Brimstone” episode in which the comely Emma Peel (played by Diana Rigg) donned the ensemble of a dominatrix, transforming into the “Queen of Sin.” (Notably, the episode was banned in the US at the time.) New paintings — expressly or implicitly British in theme — and new photographs — nearly impenetrable nightscapes and portraits of an Emma Peel doppelgänger — complement the installation.

In two weeks (Monday, March 28) I'll start the discussion by posting some observations and questions, and every one will throw in their two cents (or more) and we'll have a real bona fide conversation.

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Carol Diehl March 22, 2011 at 2:06 am

Last week on my blog I posted a list of art impulses from the last century that should be retired, and Karen Kilimnik is still working most of them–sometimes several in one piece. Interesting how the 1915 Malevich paintings at Gagosian uptown still appear crisp and new, while this work from so much later looks worn and dated.

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