Comprising paintings, site-specific murals, and a series of gouache drawings, Unrequited and Acts of Play marks Julia Jacquette’s first major museum retrospective. Exposing our seemingly insatiable longing for the ideal, the work of the artist, who is based in New York and Amsterdam, focuses on commercialized objects of desire: images of food from cookbooks from the 1950s and 1960s, ornate interiors of the wealthy, and liquors from glossy magazine ad campaigns, among other subjects. These material trappings are presented, often close up, in crisply detailed paintings that both profess and resent such desires and the complications they present personally, socially, and culturally.
Exploring related themes is a parallel project, Playground of My Mind. In this graphic memoir, begun in 2010, Jacquette turns her attention to the “adventure playgrounds” built in New York City and Amsterdam during the 1970s. These structures encouraged constructive, imaginative play and gave renewed life to utopian notions of American and European modernist architecture. A personal commentary on the design principles Jacquette grew up with (her father co-designed one of these playgrounds for Central Park) and on their influence on her aesthetic and thinking, the project exists as a series of original gouache drawings that will be on view at the Wellin. This project comprises over sixty works will be co-published as an illustrated artist book by the Wellin Museum and DelMonico Books/Prestel. The Wellin will also publish a monograph, the first major publication on the subject of the Jacquette’s work.
A section of the Wellin Museum’s Dietrich Exhibition Gallery will be reserved for student- and community-organized play-oriented projects that reflect ideas put forth by the book. Megan C. Austin, Associate Director at the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art, will curate the exhibition’s PlayScape.
Unrequited and Acts of Play will travel to the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, where it will be on view from September 24, 2017 – January 14, 2018.