Cary Leibowitz. Courtesy of Alexander Gray Associates.
In his exhibition, I Love Warhol Piss Paintings, Leibowitz’s signature self-effacing humor and art historical references take the form of hand-made, low-tech paintings and mass-produced editions.
Leibowitz has shown extensively since the 1980s, often under the moniker Candyass. Well known for his multiples, which have taken the form of coffee mugs, Frisbees, footballs, clothing, plates, car window screens, and trash cans, Leibowitz’ deadpan humor and cultural references take on identity and persona with bravado and visual impact. Popular culture collides with high culture, Jewish identity translates to kitsch, Queer political sloganeering becomes camp faggotry. His tragicomic artworks poke fun at art history, adolescent angst, fame, and cultural and religious stereotypes, blending aspects of Modernism, Pop, Multiculturalism, design culture and consumer advertising.
In his current exhibition, Leibowitz presents new paintings on wood, with works referencing Post-War American art. Happy Rainbow, Sad Rainbow is a diptych that enhances Frank Stella’s 1970s work with psychological humor, questioning identity politic branding and art market taste; I Love Warhol Piss Paintings turns Leibowitz’ admiration for Warhol’s overlooked late work into a graffiti-like signage. I Feel Like the World is Passing Me By animates Ellsworth Kelly forms with text and color, pushing confidently elegant Minimalism into a confessional gesture. New Candyass multiples continue Leibowitz’ obsession with popular culture, Jewishness, and fine art, including ski caps emblazoned with “Fran Drescher Fan Club,” “Victor Klemperer Book Club;” I Love Warhol Piss Paintings scarfs, chair cushions, and buttons; and appreciations for Gertrude Stein, Marcia Tucker, Cindy Sheehan, and the Museum of Modern Art.