Laura Owens and Kyle Thurman Discuss the Work of Artist Michel Majerus
Laura Owens and Kyle Thurman Discuss the Work of Artist Michel Majerus moderated by Stephanie Seidel
On the occasion of “Michel Majerus: Progressive Aesthetics” at ICA Miami, artists Laura Owens and Kyle Thurman discuss the impact and ongoing influence of the work of Michel Majerus. Through the lenses of their own work, Owens and Thurman will both reflect on Michel Majerus and the legacy of his work today.
As contemporaries, Owens met Majerus in 1996 in Berlin and exhibited with him in the group exhibition “Wunderbar” at the Kunstverein in Hamburg that year. The artists shared an interest in appropriated images and the radically expanded field of painting in the context of digital images and processing tools. Kyle Thurman first encountered Majerus’s work as a student in 2008 and was specifically intrigued by the late artist’s visual quotations of the Pixar movie Toy Story, along with similar “copy and paste” gestures prevalent in Majerus’s paintings. Thurman has since been fascinated by Majerus’s consistent questioning of pop iconography, accelerated consumerism, and technological advancements through the medium of painting.
Owens (b. 1970, Euclid, Ohio) studied at the California Institute of Arts, Valencia; the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine (both 1994); and the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence (1992). She lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited internationally and was recently the subject of a mid-career survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2017–18), which traveled to the Dallas Museum of Art (2018) and the Geffen Contemporary at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2018–19).
Other recent solo exhibitions include the California College of the Arts Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2016); Secession, Vienna (2015); and Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany (2011). In 2021, Owens presented two exhibitions of new paintings within large-scale wallpaper installations: Laura Owens: Rerun at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Laura Owens & Vincent van Gogh at Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles. For the exhibition in Cleveland, Owens worked in collaboration with high school students participating in the museum’s Arts Mastery program, Currently Under Curation (CUC). In Arles, Owens’s installation hosted seven Van Gogh paintings, made in the last years of his life.
Thurman (b. 1986, West Chester, Pennsylvania) is an artist and educator working primarily with painting and sculpture. Thurman currently lives and works in Brooklyn. He received BA degrees in both film studies and visual arts from Columbia University, New York (2009) and an MFA in painting from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York (2016). From 2011 through 2012, Thurman studied as a guest student at the Kunstakademie, Dusseldorf, in the classes of Christopher Williams and Peter Doig. An installation of drawings from his project Suggested Occupation was included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial, curated by Rujeko Hockley and Jane Panetta, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Recent solo shows include “Parade” at David Lewis Gallery, New York, in September 2022, and forthcoming solo shows will be held at CENTRAL FINE, Miami Beach, in April 2023, and at Sophie Tappeiner, Vienna, in October 2023. Thurman’s work is in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, among other institutions. In recent years, he has taught drawing and painting seminars in the MFA department at the Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University, Philadelphia. Thurman’s Dream Police paintings will be the subject of a forthcoming publication and edition produced in collaboration with General Working Group.