Artists Take On Mental Health

Auction photographs of a dead woman’s jewels, anti-social media paintings that de-romanticize the joy of life, and an exhibition that documents a woman’s inevitable meltdown while striving for perfection- galleries go on a morbid trip into mental health.

Not up for the grim? Don’t read any further.

New York

Catherine Opie

201 Chrystie Street
January 14–February 20

536 West 22nd Street
January 14–February 20


Catherine Opie, The Emeralds, 2010–11, pigment print, 16 1/2 x 22″. From the “700 Nimes Road Portfolio,” 2010–11.

The exhibition “700 Nimes Road” is named for the address of Elizabeth Taylor’s Bel Air home, which Catherine Opie—who shared an accountant with the star—gained access to in November of 2010 and photographed over a six-month period beginning that December. The project took on new significance when Taylor, who had fallen ill, died: Opie’s fifty-print portfolio shows the contours and eccentricities of a life she never directly observed. The works also subtly chart the transition of the house from a home to something else—a memorial, an archive, or a complicated asset—as, for example, Taylor’s jewelry collection is aired and inventoried. The Emeralds, 2010–11, shows her famous Bulgari “green set,” a gift from Richard Burton. Shot in the sun, maybe by the pool, it’s out of focus, like Opie’s seductively generalized landscapes on view now at the gallery’s Chelsea space.

San Francisco

Quintessa Matranga and Rafael Delacruz

620 Kearny Street
January 8–February 13

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Rafael Delacruz, Scooge 3, 2015, oil pastel, 11 x 14”.

The rabbit hole of pop apotheosis, where Jerry Garcia, Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, Elvis, and the Mad Hatter reside, threatens us with a question: Where do we go from here? Quintessa Matranga and Rafael Delacruz, in their dual exhibition, “100% Stupid,” take on the impossible task of drawing out how one can wrest subjectivity and creativity in the force of unattainable perfection.


Benjamin Senior

Via Francesco Viganò 4
December 3–February 27

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Benjamin Senior, Northen Arcade, 2015, oil on linen, 47 1/4 x 59″.

In “Parade,” English artist Benjamin Senior feature dynamic and multi-ethnic scenes, of the mundane urban and suburban life. Senior portrays refined and vivid urban architectures, in which pedestrians can be seen engaged in ordinary acts such as reading or taking walks. The artist has always hewn to classical pictorial models, and he connects drawing to painting using chiaroscuro to define, in subtle shades, the volumes of figures arrested in time.

The faces of the figures in his tableaux vivants on canvas are often turned away or hidden by hair, thereby becoming structural layers perfectly linked to the background, while the texture of clothing becomes incorporated into the paintings’ overall visuals. Here the skin tones and the shapes of the bodies activate a decorative divertissement with the objects that surround them, allowing numerous details and interactions to slowly emerge.

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Nichelle Cole is the founder & editor-in-chief of The Fashion Plate magazine. A respected writer, stylist and influencer, she has been published in fashion magazines around the world.

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