Lisa Ruyter
Let us now Praise Famous Men


September 4, 2012

Lisa Ruyter
Let us now Praise Famous Men

September 8–October 20, 2012

1358 Florida Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002

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CONNERSMITH. is delighted to announce Let us now Praise Famous Men, an exhibition of new paintings by Lisa Ruyter. The show marks the first solo exhibition by this internationally renowned artist in her native city of Washington, DC.

In Let us now Praise Famous Men, Ruyter presents a new series of acrylic paintings that appropriate 1930–40s black and white photograph from the archive of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information in the Library of Congress. “These photographs are of Americans, and they represent those who go unnoticed, unrecognized and, um, unrepresented,” Ruyter explains. “They are us, or at least some idea that we have of ourselves, they belong to us because of the way that they came into our world, as photographs, not as people. It is a record of what was already being lost to Americans even as it was being constructed, an American dream of self-determination, independence and freedom.”

Ruyter, the daughter of a Dutch immigrant, is attuned to dialogues formed around migrant communities in earlier generations. Economic and ecological hardships that shaped families’ lives during the days of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression echo in her reclaimed images and resonate with the challenges that face many families in today’s global economy.

Ultimately, Ruyter is interested in the nature of an archive, appropriation strategies, and the fugitive qualities of color in relationship to history and theory. With these paintings of photographs, the project’s core concern of identity construction is refined via specific combinations of photography, painting, color and subject matter. Positing the archive as a paradigm of our time, she recycles images, mediating memories within the expanding web of sources and appropriations that increasingly fill our experiential reality, our everyday life, and therefore modify our relationship to gesture.

Ruyter’s works may be seen in the following collections: Collection of Melva Bucksbaum and Raymond Learsy, Sharon CT; Collection le Consortium, Dijon, France; Denver Art Museum; Sammlung Essl, Klosterneuburg, Austria; Colección INELCOM, Madrid; La Colección Jumex, México; Museum der Moderne, Salzburg; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Proje4L Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Collection VAC (Valencia Arte Contemporáneo), Valencia, Spain.

Lisa Ruyter (b.1968, Washington DC) lives in works in Vienna, Austria.

Ruyter will speak on this new body of work, Saturday, September 8th at 11am.
There will be an opening night reception at CONNERSMITH. Saturday, September 8th from 6 to 8pm.
Artist in attendance.
For further information or images, please contact the gallery at 202 588 8750 / [email protected]

Conner Contemporary Art is now CONNERSMITH.
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CONNERSMITH. is located at 1358 Florida Avenue, NE –Washington, DC 20002 in the Historic Atlas/H Street Area. Gallery hours are Wednesday–Saturday, 10–5pm and by appointment.

*Image above:
Lisa Ruyter, Russell Lee, Sign above moving picture theater, Waco, Texas, 2012. Acrylic on canvas, 39 x 59 inches. © Lisa Ruyter. Courtesy CONNERSMITH., Washington, DC.