Deborah Kass (American, b. 1952)
Deborah Kass is an American Contemporary artist born in 1952 in San Antonio, Texas. Kass received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, she furthered her studies at the Whitney Independent Study Program and the Art Students League in New York.
Kass is most known for her fine line between appropriation and mimicking the work of some of the 20th Century’s most iconic male artists. Frank Stella, Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, and Ed Ruscha are artists that she mimics and the reason being is to comment and rewrite the patriarchal narrative of art history. Despite her use of imitating male artists' work she still retains a sense of self-reference with her autobiographical paintings, lyrics, and prose.
Deborah Kass is most known for her keen feminist critique. Her works are often in series and retain informative and poignant political commentary. She discusses how female artists who influenced male artists should be recognized and brings attention to great female artists who do not receive the same attention as the male. Her works are humorous formal interventions and sophisticated thinking on the dominant positions male artists have had in art history. Kass' use of appropriation and imitation of male artists displays her desire to have female artists included in the male circle of art history. Her work Blue Deb appears to be an earlier work of Andy Warhol but instead of being Liz Taylor it is in fact Deborah Kass herself. She acknowledges how she is indebted to the male artists that have come before her. In the 1970s she saw a new female subjectivity in the art world.
Deborah Kass has received numerous honors such as being included in multiple Venice Biennales, senior critic at the Yale University painting program, and a retrospective at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg. Many awards included the Jewish Museum Annual Purim Gala Cultural Honoree 2017, Neuberger Museum of Art Passionate Artist Award in 2016, Oregon College of Art and Craft, Doctor of Arts, Honoris Causa Coalition for the Homeless, Art Walk Honoree 2015, New York Foundation of the Arts Hall of Fame Inductee 2014, Awarded the Art Matters Inc, Grant in 1996 and 1992, New York State Foundation for the Arts, Fellowship in painting 1991, and 1987 the National Endowment for the Arts, painting.
Her artwork can be found in the Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.