Artists Space

Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault

November 24, 2013 – February 23, 2014

Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault is an exhibition of works selected and extended from the collection of Julie Ault. As a founding member of the artists’ collaborative Group Material (1979 –1996), and as artist, curator, writer and editor, Ault’s dense practice and its roots in long-standing engagements with artists are reflected in the unique nature of her collection. Its multiplicity is indicative of an organic process of accumulation, foregrounding the ways in which the gifting and exchange of artworks cements both intellectual and emotional affinities.

A portrait oriented view of a room, left and right scenes divided by the end of a wall. On the left, a doorway leads to a kitchen. On the right, the room opens to a living space with books on the floor and decor on the wall.
[A portrait oriented view of a room, left and right scenes divided by the end of a wall. On the left, a doorway leads to a kitchen. On the right, the room opens to a living space with books on the floor and decor on the wall.]

Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault navigates the movement of the collection from Ault’s domestic contexts to the public realm. Works that have great personal resonance are placed into a context of communal engagement – the exhibition has been organized by a team of individuals, itself reflecting numerous existing relationships and histories of collaboration, including Julie Ault, Martin Beck, Nikola Dietrich, Heinz Peter Knes, Jason Simon, Scott Cameron Weaver, and Danh Vo. This amplification of dialogues and positions raised by Ault’s practice speaks to the curatorial team’s discursive investigation of the works, their interrelations, and connections between collection, personal history, and collective identity. The collection has been used as a source from which to expand, allowing for the inclusion of works in the exhibition outside of those owned by Ault.

For thirty-five years Julie Ault has engaged in various forms of collaboration and sustained dialogue with fellow artists. The sharing of artworks has marked these discourses, emanating from the address of politics, aesthetics and the social function of art that has structured Ault’s work, and that of many of her contemporaries. The formulation of such a substantial collection constituted largely through gifting and exchange speaks to a circulation of ideas through means alternative to the predominant economy of art mediated by institutions and galleries. In its scope, and encompassing of works produced from varying artistic standpoints, the collection also emphasizes the connectedness of art objects to specific contexts, and as such their mediation between private and public discourse. In the 1980s and early 90s Group Material’s projects similarly collated various cultural objects through “review, selection and critical juxtaposition,” a collective process that emphasized “shared learning and shared ideas.” Crucially this method of working was intent less on “reflecting than on projecting out into the community.” Equally, Julie Ault’s collection is distinct from an archive, instead espousing an active inquiry into culture as proximities described over time.

While the exhibition encompasses and indexes a range of scales and localities of engagement, it is notable in how it emanates from a body of experiences shared in part by a New York-based group of artists, and shaped by the social ruptures that impacted on the Downtown scene in the 1980s and 90s. The cultural climate of this time, when various crises of representation were being addressed head on, exists as a telling bridge between art and politics, a mode of address that courses through Ault’s collection and her affinities with other artists up to the present day.

Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault features work by Vikky Alexander, Martin Beck, James Benning, Sadie Benning, Nayland Blake, Jennifer Bolande, Robert Bordo, Alejandro Cesarco, John Currin, Edward S. Curtis, Moyra Davey, Jeanne Dunning, Thomas Eggerer, Andrea Evans, Steven Evans, Tony Feher, Rev. Howard Finster, Mike Glier, Leon Golub, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Group Material, Jim Hodges, Jenny Holzer, Roni Horn, Peter Hujar, Michael Jenkins, Sister Corita Kent, Carole Kim, Robert Kinmont, Heinz Peter Knes, Louise Lawler, Mary Lum, Donald Moffett, Stephan Pascher, George Platt-Lynes, Forrest Prince, Rasmus Røhling, Tim Rollins & K.O.S, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman, Jason Simon, Nancy Spero, Paul Thek, Wolfgang Tillmans, Martha Townsend, Danh Vo, Carrie Mae Weems, Martin Wong, and Cerith Wyn Evans.

This exhibition is dedicated to the loving memory of Karin Higa.

The public presentation of Julie Ault’s collection began with the exhibition Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault at Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel in early 2013, and has since travelled to Culturgest, Lisbon. Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart is accompanied by an extensive film program curated by Jason Simon, and a publication with photographs of the collection as installed and stored “at home” by Heinz Peter Knes including annotations on the works by the curators and texts by Ault and Marvin J. Taylor.

A rectangle of gold foil laying flat on a wooden floor. Light decends through a window and illuminates the foil.
Installation view, Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault, Artists Space 2013. Photos: Daniel Pérez [A rectangle of gold foil laying flat on a wooden floor. Light decends through a window and illuminates the foil.]
A view down an open hallway in a window filled room. The facing wall on the left displays a sideways American flag in brown and gold, and a black and red fleg. A monitor sits on the ground to the right. A visitor stands in the background viewing art in the hallway.
Installation view, Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault, Artists Space 2013. Photos: Daniel Pérez [A view down an open hallway in a window filled room. The facing wall on the left displays a sideways American flag in brown and gold, and a black and red fleg. A monitor sits on the ground to the right. A visitor stands in the background viewing art in the hallway.]
Several planks of wood of different sizes, shapes, and colors, each display different words including, "rhythm, grace, love, warmth." They lean against a white wall; above which hang two green paintings in frames.
Installation view, Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault, Artists Space 2013. Photos: Daniel Pérez [Several planks of wood of different sizes, shapes, and colors, each display different words including, "rhythm, grace, love, warmth." They lean against a white wall; above which hang two green paintings in frames.]
A white wall with gray text running along the top reads, "Tier 3 1980 Dallas 1963 Cabins 2007 Color TV 1954 TITMH 2013 Alexis de Tocqueville 1992." An image of the moon in a black sky hangs in a white frame with a letter next to it.
Installation view, Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault, Artists Space 2013. Photos: Daniel Pérez [A white wall with gray text running along the top reads, "Tier 3 1980 Dallas 1963 Cabins 2007 Color TV 1954 TITMH 2013 Alexis de Tocqueville 1992." An image of the moon in a black sky hangs in a white frame with a letter next to it.]
A white wall that reads, "Death Sentence 2009 Love It To Death 1971 Jesse… 989 Moon over Miami 1991-95 Archive," across the top into it
Installation view, Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault, Artists Space 2013. Photos: Daniel Pérez [A white wall that reads, "Death Sentence 2009 Love It To Death 1971 Jesse… 989 Moon over Miami 1991-95 Archive," across the top into it's adjacent wall. On the left hang two images; to the right of a column hangs a drawing. Orchid plants sit to the left of the column on the ground.]
An angled view of large blue painting hanging on the left side wall. In the center of the room, a projector on a stand portrays onto a stand-suspended screen. The image depicts a side view of a man and woman sitting across a table.
Installation view, Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault, Artists Space 2013. Photos: Daniel Pérez [An angled view of large blue painting hanging on the left side wall. In the center of the room, a projector on a stand portrays onto a stand-suspended screen. The image depicts a side view of a man and woman sitting across a table.]
A view of two walls connecting at their corners. On the left wall, a photograph of a persons eye through a white hood. On the right wall, a photograph of a person in a green KKK hood against a black background.
Installation view, Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault, Artists Space 2013. Photos: Daniel Pérez [A view of two walls connecting at their corners. On the left wall, a photograph of a persons eye through a white hood. On the right wall, a photograph of a person in a green KKK hood against a black background.]
A string of light bulbs decends from the celing, infront of a picture frame, with its end siting on the ground. To the right of it on the floor sits a small cardboard box with gold details.
Installation view, Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault, Artists Space 2013. Photos: Daniel Pérez [A string of light bulbs decends from the celing, infront of a picture frame, with its end siting on the ground. To the right of it on the floor sits a small cardboard box with gold details.]
A white wall scattered with many colorful documents, photographs, and posters. On the floor sits a small TV monitor with a green image.
Installation view, Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault, Artists Space 2013. Photos: Daniel Pérez [A white wall scattered with many colorful documents, photographs, and posters. On the floor sits a small TV monitor with a green image.]
Two gold picture frames with black and white portraits of a woman (left) and a man (right) face eachother on a shelf.
Installation view, Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault, Artists Space 2013. Photos: Daniel Pérez [Two gold picture frames with black and white portraits of a woman (left) and a man (right) face eachother on a shelf.]

This exhibition is supported by the Macho Man, Tell It To My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault Exhibition Supporters Circle: Philip Aarons & Shelley Fox Aarons, Carolyn Alexander & Ted Bonin, Daniel Buchholz & Christopher Müller, Chantal Crousel & Niklas Svennung, Marian Goodman, Jerry Gorovoy, Hauser & Wirth, Xavier Hufkens, José Kuri & Mónica Manzutto, Galerie Lelong, Penny Pilkington & Wendy Olsoff, Andrea Rosen, and Thea Westreich & Ethan Wagner, and Friends of Artists Space.

With additional support from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.