Contemporary Art Museum
10:27 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

Artist ‘Killed Kenny’ But Is Mainly Having Fun At CAMSTL; Eisenman Brings 'Nemesis'

Our preview of the exhibits opening Friday at CAM includes video of artist Joyce Pensato doing what she loves most: playing with paint, and a look at the work of  Nicole Eisenman.

photo of Pensato at work
Joyce Pensato at work.
Credit Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

The title “I Killed Kenny” smacks of death in its reference to the recurring demise of the "South Park" icon. But the exhibit's more about Brooklyn artist Joyce Pensato bringing new life to animated characters ranging from Homer Simpson to Mickey Mouse.

Pensato worked all last week on an 56-foot-long mural suggestive of Mickey for her first museum survey, opening this Friday, Jan. 24, at the Contemporary Art Museum in Grand Center. At 7 p.m. on Tuesday night, Jan. 21, Pensato will give a public talk about the mural and her collection of charcoal drawings, paintings and collages.

St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon caught up with Pensato in the early stages of her mural-making at CAM last week. She told us that while her work does nod to cartoon characters, she puts her own spin on these well-known faces.

Of Love and Dykes

Like Pensato, painter Nicole Eisenman also features a recurring cast of characters. Eisneman's “Dear Nemesis,” is among the Friday night openings at the Contemporary.

The title alludes to "the opening salvo of a letter," Eisenman said. The word "Nemesis" refers to the feeling she sometimes has about her work but it can also pertain to certain intimate relationships. One particular painting depicts a face trained on smartphone in a rendition of a breakup text.

"That's how we do it now in the 21st century -- these major life shifts can happen over a text conversation," Eisenman told St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon.

Her Saturday, Jan. 25 artist talk about "Nemesis" at CAM is free and open to the public.

Eisenman employs elements of impressionism, German expressionism and 20th-century social realist painting in her work, some of which can be found in the collections of institutions including MoMA and San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art.

In the 1990s, Eisenman often focused on lesbian relationships. She's co-organizer of another show opening at CAM Friday night that also examines love and other feelings between women. “Ridykeulous: This Is What Liberation Feels Like” is a collection from more than three-dozen artists and activists. The exhibit includes printed material from something called the “Ridykeulous Patriarchives” and five videos.

Joyce Pensato’s ‘I Killed Kenny’ Artist’s Talk
Where:
Contemporary Art Museum, 3750 Washington Blvd., 63108
When: 7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 21
How much: Free
Information: CAM website

CAM Exhibition Openings
Where:
Contemporary Art Museum, 3750 Washington Blvd., 63108
When: Opening reception 7-9 p.m., Friday, Jan. 24; runs through April 13
How much: Free
Information: CAM website

Nicole Eisenman's 'Dear Nemesis,' Artist Talk
Where:
Contemporary Art Museum, 3750 Washington Blvd., 63108
When: 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 25
How much: Free
Information: CAM website