There is an African proverb that tidily sums up the spirit behind the painter Rochelle Feinstein’s new exhibition You Again. “If you want to know the end, look at the beginning.” The exhibition, which spans six different galleries in five cities across the US and Europe is, in a way, a retrospective of Feinstein’s work, but that description does not exactly do it justice.
The galleries—Bridget Donahue and Candice Madey in New York, Campoli Presti in Paris, Nina Johnson in Miami, Hannah Hoffman in Los Angeles and Galerie Francesca Pia in Zurich—are all showing works from across Feinstein’s career and up to the present moment. And as is typical to the artist’s style, one would be hard pressed to tell an earlier piece from a later one. Especially since, in some cases, new works are tacked right onto older ones. It is as if Feinstein works outside of the time cycle that most artists live in. There is no blue period, or cubist period, or grid period. It is all just, Feinstein.
“You can’t really assign a chronology to anything about her,” says the gallerist Candice Madey, Feinstein “somehow exists outside of time. She doesn’t work in a linear fashion, it is more like a network of nodes, which is why this exhibition feels almost like an extension of her work. It’s fractured and kaleidoscopic, which mirrors that aspect of her art making”.
While the joint exhibition model is not particularly new, it is ideal for an artist like Feinstein and, a pleasant reminder that mid-level galleries can collaborate and put on the kind of global exhibition that megas like Hauser & Wirth and Gagosian can seemingly pull off on a whim thanks to their complex infrastructure and administrative power. (Not to mention their hefty bank accounts.) The egalitarian nature of the exhibition doesn’t stop at sharing art or shipping costs. The six galleries are also sharing profits, with 50% going to the artist, 30% to each gallery and 20% into a communal pot.
The idea to form this appreciation consortium sprung out of the sluggishness thrust upon everyone by the pandemic. Conversations between friends and colleagues sparked an almost involuntary, yet intuitive need to work together to bolster Feinstein’s reputation and propel her work on a grand scale. Some, like Madey, had worked with the artist for years. Donahue and Hoffman, on the other hand, were admirers but relatively new to the table. After the decision to hold the multi-venue show was solidified, each gallerist chose one piece, and from there started to build a show around it.
“Each of the shows is different and presented me with a problem I could solve. I love solving problems,” Feinstein says. “When the idea came about I thought it could be interesting to revisit the older work and to engage with something, whether it was a formal matter or subject matter, something I was thinking about then, and enter a similar mindset—but now. It’s a way of looking back to stay in the present.”
The method shows. At Bridget Donahue, Red Square, made in 1992 and inspired by the fall of the Berlin Wall, hangs next to Sad Frame, a work made in 2021 that is formally similar, but the charged red streaks of Red Square have been replaced with muted smudgy blacks and greys.
Feinstein’s practice and willingness to not only show older works but riff on and expand them made it easy for the gallerists, each with their own business, their own style of programing and their own vision, to take on some aspect of her work. That in turn gave the artist a way of focusing her energy and inspiration for new pictures.
“It’s very much a reflection of the way she works, that this constellation of galleries have been brought in to make legible the prismatic nature of what she does,” says Hannah Hoffman. “As I’ve looked at installation pictures from the other venues, each one is an extraordinary representation of who Rochelle is at an artist, nuanced and layered. Not many artists would be as strong in this format. For people who are new to the work, there’s an opportunity to immediately steep yourself in the world of Rochelle Feinstein and understand what she’s been doing for decades.”
The exhibition opens throughout January and February and runs through March and April at the six galleries.
- Rochelle Feinstein: You Again, until 12 March, Bridget Donahue, New York
- Rochelle Feinstein: You Again, until 12 March, Candice Madey, New York: 28 January–12 March
- Rochelle Feinstein: You Again, 3 February-2 April, Nina Johnson, Miami
- Rochelle Feinstein: You Again, 12 February-26 March, Galerie Francesca Pia, Zurich
- Rochelle Feinstein: You Again, 12 February-26 March, Campoli Presti, Paris
- Rochelle Feinstein: You Again, 12 February-26 March, Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles