Allison Zuckerman

How to make art the star

New York It-girl Allison Zuckerman tells VAULT why she makes paintings for the age of social media and how she took the art world by storm.

feature by Emma O’Neill AUG 2018

It was 1989: the year artist collective Guerrilla Girls rented advertising space on the buses that roamed New York city and loudly asked, “Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into the Met. Museum?” The poster was based on Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres’ Odalisque and Slave and featured a reclining nude wearing a gorilla mask and a footnote stating that fewer than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art section of The Met were women, but 85% of the nudes were female.

Almost 30 years later, the collection hasn’t changed much (in a 2016 count there were 1% fewer female artists, but more naked males) and history still tells us that, for the most part, women have earned their place in museums as muses and not as makers. Unlike the Hollywood #MeToo movement, there is no ‘inclusion rider’ in the telling of art history and its main male characters remain centre stage.

Rejecting the irreverence of the Western canon, 28-year-old Allison Zuckerman creates an alternative narrative by remixing the female sitters of prominent male artists into a feminist 21st century. The New York-based artist digitally collages photographic imagery, her own paintings and found imagery and prints them onto canvas or cardboard cut-out sculptures before painting over the top. In the words of art critic Jerry Saltz, her resulting oeuvre is “an orgy of art history”.

The works pack a powerful punch. “Each one is a dizzying mélange of Picasso, Lichtenstein and Manet bombarded with Snapchat filters, Walt Disney illustrations and emojis”. Though they straddle histories and reject any... Subscribe to read this article in full

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