Sarah Lucas, Au naturel, New Museum september 26, 2018 - January 20, 2019

“Egg Massage” (2015). Video, sound, color; 4:59 min (photo by author)

“Egg Massage” (2015). Video, sound, color; 4:59 min (photo by author)

Au Naturel is satisfying at every turn. It’s tough. It’s hilarious. It’s beautifully done. And it’s absolutely true to its maker, a proud spitfire—a “rude girl” sensitive to her working-class background and eager to stick it to any mofo who shows her gender disrespect, be it in the workplace, at home or in the tabloids. 

From the start of her career in the early 1990s, when she was aligned with the Young British Artists—fellow Goldsmiths graduates like Damien Hirst, Fiona Rae and Gary Hume—Lucas has made art that playfully, and deliberately, countered male depictions of the female body, then went on to pierce the priapic consciousness of so much that came before her. (The show is replete with references to Dada, Surrealism and Minimalism too.) She’s an artist who can evoke sexual relations in witty, scabrous sculptures that simultaneously comment on class and consumerism while paying heed to formal considerations as well. 

As curated by the New Museum’s artistic director, Massimiliano Gioni, and his associate, Margot Norton, the show—Lucas’s first in an American institution—unfolds across three floors in displays of sculpture, photography, photographic wallpaper and video that adhere to their original configurations in galleries or in international shows like the Venice Biennale, bringing the work as a whole into sharp focus.

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