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Three to see: New York

Three shows of three different visions of domesticity

by Victoria Stapley-Brown  |  16 February 2017
Three to see: New York
The Morning Toilette by Chardin (1740-41).
Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Robert Crumb's exhibition, Drawn Together, at the David Zwirner gallery because you will need to see and read it. The show, which closes this Saturday, 18 February, features collaborative and individual works by the couple, who met in 1971 in San Francisco, where they were both well-known figures in the underground comic book scene. The exhibition gives an intimate—and of course, humourous—look into their lives through works like the collaborative 1994 comic strip Self-Loathing Comics #1: A Day in the Life, which depicts everything from the education of their daughter to the pace of living in the south of France (where they moved permanently in 1991). One section is even about relieving a bout of constipation with prune juice and coffee.

Those who prefer the domestic scenes of artists like Jean-Siméon Chardin should head to the Morgan Library and Museum for the exhibition Treasures from the Nationalmuseum of Sweden: The Collections of Count Tessin (until 14 May). It features 80 works (including six Chardin paintings) from the collection amassed by the 18th-century count. The majority of the works, all presented on a deep purple background, are drawings, with boldfaced names of Italian and Northern European artists from the 15th through 18th centuries, including Ghirlandaio, Van Dyck, Raphael and Rubens. The French paintings are a particular treat in the show. One highlights is François Boucher’s Triumph of Venus (1740), a rosy-cheeked Rococo delight that the count commissioned from the artist.

Meanwhile, a cosy domestic scene morphs into a critical look at otherness in Yinka Shonibare's exhibition Prejudice at Home: a Parlour, a Library and a Room at James Cohan (17 February-18 March). A large-scale installation titled The Victorian Philanthropist's Parlour (1996-97), which resembles a stage set, flips the script on 19th-century ethnographic human zoos by objectifying a philanthropist whose wealth comes from exploitation. Another installation, The British Library (2014), is a cheerful and pleasing arrangement of 6,000 books wrapped in colourful Dutch wax patterned cloth. It makes a powerful statement on the contribution of immigrants: the spines of the books have the names of first and second generation immigrants who have contributed to British culture—from Hans Holbein to Mick Jagger—and the names of vocal immigration opponents like Nigel Farage.

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