Mary Beth Edelson

"The Devil Giving Birth to the Patriarchy

Mary Beth Edelson "The Devil Giving Birth to the Patriarchy | Events Calendar
Mary Beth Edelson, Red Kali (from the Woman Rising series), 1973, ink, oil, and china marker on silver gelatin print, 8 x 10 in, 20.3 x 25.4 cm

E Village / LES

Opening from

On View

David Lewis | 88 Eldridge Street

These photographic images were defining images - not who I am but who we are. The images were presented aggressively as sexuality, mind and spirit comfortable in one body...Woman Rising symbolizes the joy and exuberance of our new freedom as well as making a political statement for women that says I am, and I am large, and I am my body, and I am not going away.
-Mary Beth Edelson*

I think of Mary Beth Edelson as a priestess looking for a goddess to worship, and confusing this goddess with herself. This is not a case of the new narcissism, but of the old mythological mode of selfhood: no self-discovery without discovery of the primordial source of selfhood - no becoming a particular self without recognition of the general idea of self. That this self is female shows its dialectical rootedness, its urgency through opposition; it is a self that exists in defiance of the masculine self's appropriation of completeness, and that aims at a wholeness of its own. Mary Beth Edelson's Goddess is as much a product of revolt as a recognition of a neglected fate - as much the result of a new female assertiveness as a reminder that old myths never die, they just determine us unawares. The Goddess has taken over Edelson's being, and thereby recovered Her own Being.
-Donald Kuspit**

Mary Beth Edelson (b. 1933, Indiana) was the subject of a celebrated retrospective in 2006, mounted by the Malmö Kunstmuseum, Sweden, which traveled to Migros Museum, Zurich; as well as the traveling retrospective Shape Shifter: the Art of Mary Beth Edelson (1988-1990). Edelson has had numerous solo shows internationally and was included in important survey exhibitions including Painting 2.0, Museum Brandhorst, Munich; WACK! Art of the Feminist Revolution, MOCA, Los Angeles; NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star, New Museum, NY, Greater New York 2015, MoMA PS1, New York; Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography, MoMA; Mothers of Invention, Mumok Museum of Contemporary Art, Vienna; Coming to Power: 25 Years of Sexually X-Plicit Art by Women, David Zwirner Gallery, New York; and most recently Feminist Avant-Garde of the 1970s: Works from the Verbund Collection, the Photographers' Gallery, London. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NY; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY; Walker Art Center, MN; the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.; National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, MI; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Malmö Kunstmuseum, Sweden; and Sammlung Verbund, Vienna, among others.

For more information, please contact Dmitry Komis at dmitry@davidlewisgallery.com.


*Edelson, Mary Beth. "Woman Rising 1973-1974". In Seven Cycles: Public Rituals, 1980.
**Kuspit, Donald. "Mary Beth Edelson: An Introduction". In Mary Beth Edelson--New Work: An Ancient Thirst and A Future Vision, 1983.