CMA is pleased to announce two new acquisitions, made possible by The Contemporaries. The Contemporaries is a special membership group at the Museum who share an interest in contemporary art and vote to select a new work of art for the collection each year. In honor of their 10th anniversary, the group chose to support the purchase of two works: Victoria Gitman’s Untitled (2015) and Cameron Rowland’s Handpunch (2014-2015).
Victoria Gitman (Argentine, born 1972) makes breathtakingly naturalistic oil paintings that are sensual and tactile works of extreme craftsmanship, and at the same time historically and conceptually sophisticated works of contemporary art. She painstakingly renders beaded and fur handbags, as with Untitled (2015), vintage necklaces and other accessories against shallow, monochrome backgrounds. Her subjects, sourced in thrift stores, flea markets and online, are painted from life at one-to-one scale, and carry the lush aura of Old Master painting. They allude to social concerns with regard to femininity and fashion, and critically engage many central issues in modern painting: the notion style, the material realities of surface and support, and the relationship between form, image and content. Untitled (2015) will be at home in relation to the CMA’s examples of trompe l’oeil painting from the 18th and 19th centuries as well as collection of post-1945 abstract art and art that related to the everyday.
Handpunch (2014–15) is a work consisting of 5 photographs by Cameron Rowland (American, born 1988). Like much of Rowland’s work, Handpunch isolates and re-presents objects by which our society controls the lives of its poor and marginalized, often by preemptively criminalizing them. Each close-up color photograph in the series focuses on the use of the SchlageHandPunch, which relies on biometric data to monitor hourly wage labor. Punching in was previously a rote mechanical operation but now the process brings criminal indexing technology to the workplace. Rowland’s work fits perfectly with CMA’s renowned Schiller Collection and Photo League Collection, which focuses on art that engaged with social issues, particularly as they related to worker’s rights in the 1930s.