“Impure Americana, a slightly acidic nostalgia that evoked sideshows, tramp art and old travel posters with infusions of feminist wit.” —Roberta Smith, New York Times
Margaret Kilgallen: that’s where the beauty is., is published by the Aspen Art Museum on the occasion of Kilgallen’s first posthumous museum exhibition, and the largest presentation of her work in more than a decade showing at the AAM from January 10, 2019-June 16, 2019. Using the artist’s exhibition history as a chronological tool, that’s where the beauty is., examines Kilgallen’s roots in histories of printmaking, American and non-Western folk history and folklore, and feminist strategies of representation, expanding the narrative around her work beyond her association with the Bay Area Mission School and the Beautiful Losers artists.
Kilgallen’s graphic, schematic style came from a deep engagement with the handmade in wildly divergent forms—from folk art to letterpress printing to freight train graffiti, among many other sources. “I like things that are handmade and I like to see people’s hand in the world,” she said, embracing the idiosyncrasies and imperfections that come from handcraft. “I think that’s where the beauty is.” Kilgallen’s work, in form and content, celebrates the handmade, making heroes and heroines of those who live and work in the margins and challenging traditional gender roles, hierarchies, and mainstream culture. This publication offers a comprehensive look at Kilgallen’s work, revisiting the ongoing legacy and idiosyncratic spirit of one of California’s most innovative artists.
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