Preview: Margaret Kilgallen's "that’s where the beauty is." Retrospective @ Aspen Art Museum
It perhaps seems contrarian to call an artist ahead of her time even as her work harkened back to an era long before her own. But time is tricky that way; it can mean two things at once. The output of Margaret Kilgallen was so influential, so connected to the American and Western folk art that when we began to see a mini-renaissance of bohemian culture in the US in the late aughts, you could see the majestic and quiet spiritual quality of the late artist’s work in so many other’s studio practice. On January 12, 2019, the Aspen Art Museum will present, that’s where the beauty is., Margaret Kilgallen’s first posthumous museum exhibition, and the largest exhibition of her work since the 2005 show, In the Sweet Bye & Bye, at the REDCAT in Los Angeles.
One of California’s most important artists of the last 30 years, Kilgallen’s passing in 2001 at the age of 33 reminds us that she herself was an emerging artist, one that connected to both audiences and history for her mature and intimate depictions of female empowerment and solitary strength.
"There is perhaps no more important time than now to provide a purview of the work of such a strong, empathic young artist; one who so presciently broke down barriers in representing the world as she saw it,” says Heidi Zuckerman, Nancy and Bob Magoon CEO and Director Aspen Art Museum. “In that’s where the beauty is., we have the pleasure of both sharing a comprehensive view of her timely yet still-emergent practice, as well as introducing her groundbreaking work to audiences’ for their reflection not only on all it offers, but also, poignantly, on its promise. One cannot help but speculate what might have been had Kilgallen been given more time to explore the paths forecast within the exhibition.” The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue. —Evan Pricco