Patricia Cronin, Aphrodite and the Lure of Antiquity: Conversations with the Collection

Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL
August 16, 2018 - January 6, 2019

Patricia Cronin (American, b. 1963) is an internationally recognized Brooklyn-based artist uniquely suited to launch the Conversations with the Collection exhibition series. Winner of a Rome Prize in Visual Art in 2006-2007, and past Trustee of the American Academy in Rome, Cronin is deeply interested in the ancient world, which she frequently references in her work. For the first commission in this biennial series, Cronin has created Aphrodite Reimagined, a large outdoor sculpture of Aphrodite inspired by a fragmentary 1st-century AD marble torso of the goddess in the Museum’s collection. Cronin’s sculpture re-envisions the fragment as a monumental “complete” sculpture with a stone torso and translucent head, arms, and legs. Aphrodite Reimagined invites viewers to reconsider the narrative of an ancient artwork heavily restored after its rediscovery, and acts as a metaphor for shifting certainties about human history. On view inside the galleries are a smaller maquette version of Aphrodite Reimagined, together with the Tampa torso and an ancient head on loan from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Although not originally from the same sculpture, the head and torso were joined for many years, probably from soon after their discovery in the late eighteenth century until 1934, when an art dealer detached them from one another for separate sales. Also part of Cronin’s Aphrodite Reimagined series are a two-part cast glass sculpture, her first work in this medium, depicting the forms around an absent Aphrodite sculpture, and a new group of multi-layered paintings creating silhouetted ghosts of famous Aphrodite sculptures from museum collections all around the world.


Shrine for Girls

Solo Collateral Event of the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia
Chiesa Di San Gallo, Venice, Italy
Curated by Ludovico Pratesi
May 6 - November 22 2015

Although the United Nations passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, women and girls around the world continue to be among the most vulnerable members of our global society. Often facing violence, repression, and enforced ignorance, this young female populace is subjected to a horrifying existence on earth.

Inside the exquisite sixteenth-century Church of San Gallo, where Bill Viola showed in 2007, New York-based conceptual artist Patricia Cronin has created a shrine in their honor. For over two decades, critically acclaimed artist Patricia Cronin has created compelling works, many with social justice themes focusing on gender. Here, she has gathered hundreds of girls’ clothes from around the world and arranged them on three stone altars to act as relics of these young martyrs. Commemorating their spirit, this dramatic site-specific installation is a meditation on the incalculable loss of unrealized potential and hopelessness in the face of unfathomable human cruelty; juxtaposed against the obligation and mission we have as citizens of the world to combat this prejudice.


Dante: The Way Of All Flesh

Ford Projects, New York, NY
November 8 - December 21, 2012

Dante: The Way Of All Flesh is a meditation on the human condition, using Dante Alighieri’s Inferno as a point of departure. Comprised of oil paintings and watercolors, Cronin continues Dante’s exploration of justice and revenge using her own expressive language. This new cycle of figurative works are representative of the artist’s response to our current global circumstances. By focusing on the human form, Cronin reinforces the concept of our shared humanity, albeit from the perspective of a disillusioned present.

The painterly figures that Cronin creates take their visual cues from over seven centuries of artistic interpretations, beginning with 14th century illuminated manuscripts up to Italian fashion magazines, in addition to tracings of the artist’s own body and her archive of personal photographs taken throughout Italy. With a deft understanding of her materials, Cronin allows the figures to take shape in natural states and creates surfaces with both bold and meticulous strokes. With an intense palette of reds, oranges, cool blues and purples, the artist depicts the dead and the hell of their own design.


Harriet Hosmer: Lost and Found

Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn NY
June 5, 2009 - January 24, 2010

In this solo exhibition in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn-based artist Patricia Cronin presents watercolors illustrating the work of the nineteenth-century American expatriate sculptor Harriet Hosmer.

Hosmer defied expected roles for female artists of her day and yet achieved an uncommon level of success. However, today she is remembered only by a relatively small group of specialists. Inspired by the dearth of thorough scholarship on Hosmer, Cronin has compiled the definitive Hosmer catalogue raisonné (the publication that comprehensively lists an artist’s complete works). In the book, each of Hosmer’s works is represented by a watercolor painted by Cronin. A selection of these watercolors comprises the exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum.

Hosmer’s neoclassical works depict such historical, mythological, and literary figures as Zenobia, Medusa, and Puck. Cronin’s watercolors capture Hosmer’s noble and playful subjects, as well as the luminosity of the marble carvings. In her research, Cronin has found written references to a handful of Hosmer sculptures that do not appear to have ever been photographed. To represent these pieces, Cronin has made watercolors of what she calls “ghosts”—vague, formless, and ethereal images of sculptures that exist undocumented somewhere in the world, but are lost to art history.


Memorial To A Marriage

Deitch Projects
Cronin-Kass Plot, Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx NY
November 3, 2002 - Eternity

Deitch Projects presents one of its most intriguing artists’ projects, Memorial To A Marriage, a new sculpture by Patricia Cronin. It will be unveiled on Sunday, November 3rd, 2002 at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. A three year project funded by Grand Arts, Kansas City, MO, it is carved in Carrara marble and designed in the manner of a 19th century mortuary sculpture. This over life-size figurative monument depicts the artist and her partner, the artist Deborah Kass, in a loving embrace.

Combining elements from 19th century American Ideal Sculpture and Italian 17th & 18th century sculpture with new 21st century technologies in stone carving, Cronin updates historically traditional forms with contemporary sexual content. Celebrating in death, her "marriage" which cannot be made legal in life, Cronin subverts this sentimental form and breathes new life into it.


Luxury Real Estate Paintings

Yale University Art Gallery
New Haven, CT

In 2000, I created a series of paintings inspired by luxury real estate properties that were offered for sale by Sotheby's International Realty. Each oil painting is very small, no larger than nine by fifteen inches because I wanted to emphasize their intimate, rare quality. The title of each painting is the price and location of the estate.

When I think about them historically, they conjure up images of Dutch seventeenth-century landowners and their houses. Although my 21st century versions have no horizon lines because the vantage point of the source photos are aerial. This requires hiring a plane, a pilot, and a specialized aerial photographer. My feet are on the ground; these properties are otherworldly and beyond reach. In all my work I construct a critical vision of a life and lifestyle that are beyond the means of most Americans, but desired by many.

Luxury Real Estate Paintings were also exhibited in Patricia Cronin, The Domain of Perfect Affection, 1993 to 2003 UB Art Gallery, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.


Tack Room

White Columns, New York NY
April 17 - May 24, 1998

Tack Room is a replica of an integral part of horse a barn. Cronin’s is filled with books and accoutrements of equine training and care, along with sexually suggestive leather saddles, bridles, whips and suede chaps. Images of horse crazy young girls are hung next to pages from Playboy along with Stud magazine’s "Breed of the Month" centerfolds. Tack Room is filled with objects loaded with multiple meanings, begging the question: how much is sport and how much is erotic? It depends on the lens one looks through.

Tack Room was also exhibited in Horse Play (1999) at Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT; Patricia Cronin, The Domain of Perfect Affection, 1993 -2003 (2004), UB Gallery, University at Buffalo, NY and almost 2 decades later was presented in Eric Shiner’s curated section Platform at The Armory Show (2017), New York, NY.


Bronze Horses

UB Art Gallery
University of Buffalo, Buffalo NY
March 26 - May 22, 2004 


Pony Tales

Brent Sikkema - Wooster Gardens, New York NY
January 17 - February 15, 1997

Brent Sikkema- Wooster Gardens presents Patricia Cronin’s first solo show, Pony Tales an exhibition of 50 portraits of specific horses.

Continuing the project of representing her own subjectivity, Cronin goes into territory where few have ventured: representing the female subject without relying on the over-determined image of the female body. Horses, often the center of preadolescent girls’ imaginations, are presented in salon style of 50 portraits, ovals and rectangles. They are inspired by horse magazines whose subscribers are overwhelmingly women and girls, as well as, photos and sketches by the artist taken at stables in Brooklyn and Long Island. Cronin grounds her questions about status, class and female autonomy by combining girlish objects of desire with blue blood class aspirations.

Pony Tales went on to travel and was included in group shows: Horse Play at Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT and Here Kitty, Kitty at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA, as well as solo shows Patricia Cronin: The Domain of Perfect Affection at Allcott Gallery, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC and Patricia Cronin, The Domain of Perfect Affection, 1993 -2003 at the UB Gallery, University at Buffalo, NY.


Erotic Watercolors

Trial Balloon Gallery, New York NY
March 1994

Trial Balloon Gallery presents The Long Weekend, Ellen Cantor, Patricia Cronin, Marilyn Minter.

One of Cronin’s favorite paintings, Courbet’s “The Sleep” was the inspiration for her series of erotic watercolors. Cronin wondered, “What do I do if I’m one of those women AND the cultural producer? What does it look like from within that erotic space?” In this series of watercolors, over life size cropped images of two women making love are uniquely depicted from the perspective of one of the lovers. Cronin subverts the lady-like medium of watercolor with these images of lesbian sex.

Works from this series have been extensively exhibited in museums and galleries in the U.S. including; Sonnabend, Casey Kaplan Gallery, Richard Anderson, White Columns, Exit Art, all New York, NY, UB Art Gallery, University at Buffalo, NY, Arthur Roger, New Orleans, LA Haverford College, Haverford, PA, Irvine Art Gallery, University of California, Irvine, CA , South Florida Art Center, Miami, FL Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, WA, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, TX, Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY and abroad, Galleria Alessandra Bonomo, Rome, Italy, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, Scotland, Cobra Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and ConnerSmith, Washington, DC.


Erotic Polaroids

David Zwirner, New York NY
May 1 – June 12, 1993

Sexual imagery created by and for women has a recent but powerful history. Coming To Power pays homage to the first generation of women artists who pioneered a new artistic genre in the mid 60s and early 70s using explicit sexual imagery. Artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Carolee Schneemann, Hannah Wilke and Nancy Spero appropriated this tradition and transformed it into an expression of female freedom and identity. Coming to Power also presents the work of a younger generation of female artists. In contrast to the previous generation's more politicized work, the intended impact of the younger artists' work is to elicit sexual excitement as well as express autonomous pleasure, passion and pain. Together both generations engage in a dialogue previously dominated by men and disallowed to women by the taboos in society. The exhibition creates both the historical context for female erotic work, and a contemporary forum for further sexual art by women.

Participating Artists: Lutz Bacher, Lynda Benglis, Judith Bernstein, Louise Bourgeois, Ellen Cantor, Patricia Cronin, Mary Beth Edelson, Nicole Eisenman, Nancy Fried, Nan Goldin, Nancy Grossman, Pnina Jalon, G.B. Jones, Doris Kloster, Joyce Kozloff, Zoe Leonard, Monica Majoli, Marilyn Minter, Alice Neel, Lorraine O'Grady, Yoko Ono, Carolee Schneemann, Joan Semmel, Cindy Sherman, Nancy Spero, and Hannah Wilke.

“Boys” and “Girls” from the Erotic Polaroids Series have also been exhibited in NYC 1993: Experimental, Jet Set, Trash and No Star, New Museum and Behind The Green Door at Harris Lieberman Gallery, both in New York, NY.