Cary Leibowitz - Photo of the artist - Image via nycstateoftheartcom

Cary Leibowitz

United States 1963

Installation, Sculpture, Painting, Prints

Cary Leibowitz
Cary Leibowitz
Male
United States
1963
June 14, 2017
Andreja Velimirović is a passionate content writer with a knack for art and old movies. Majoring in art history, he is an expert on avant-garde modern movements and medieval church fresco decorations. Feel free to contact him via his Linkedin profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreja-velimirovi%C4%87-74068a68/

Since his emergence in the 1990s, Cary Leibowitz has established himself as a self-loathing, reluctant artist with a stellar reputation for making incredibly simple and effective art. Also known by his humoristic artistic pseudonym of Candy Ass, Leibowitz critiques the pretentiousness of the art world and the commodification of today’s art. This New York-based author also foregrounds his gay and Jewish identity, exploring how it places him outside of the mainstream American society. Cary Leibowitz has an extremely broad range of mediums in which he feels comfortable as he creates prints, paintings, sculptures and installations, all full of humor and pathos.

Cary Leibowitz - Photo of the artist's work on display at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco
Cary Leibowitz – Photo of the artist’s work on display at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco

How the Past Armed Him Creatively

Growing up in a suburb of New York City, Leibowitz felt like a chubby, unattractive, Jewish kid who struggled with assimilation. This self-loathing sensibility was exactly what underlined his initial artistic endeavors and placed Cary on the map of the 1990s American art. Unlike appropriation art of the ‘80s that simply appropriated images of mass culture and, to an extent, further propagated those images, Leibowitz shared his personal, albeit excruciatingly honest, views on the world. His work was also a response to the degrading and humiliating effects of the mass culture. Cary’s practice often required him to incorporate such everyday items as mugs and knitted caps into his pieces, altering them with pointed text and arranging them into unlikely forms.

Cary Leibowitz - Photo of the artist's work on display at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco
Cary Leibowitz – Photo of the artist’s work on display at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco

A Pivotal Show at the Jewish Museum in SF

In the ‘90s, Leibowitz was criticized in American gay circles for producing art that was not politically engaged enough. Additionally, he was criticized by art pundits for being too honest and open for contemporary standards as they were claiming he ventured too far off the mainstream course – as if that was not the author’s main artistic quest. However, this all changed over time as Cary became renowned for his creative bravery and willingness to expose his most intimate views on the world and our society. The best evidence of how the perception of this artist changed is Leibowitz’s first ever museum show held in the month of June in 2017, an exhibition that was held at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. Including over 350 of Cary’s works from 1987 to the present, this show was a true marvel and a crown of the author’s career, an evidence of just how long a road Leibowitz had to traverse in order to be where he is today.

Cary Leibowitz became known for a direct and honest approach to art making that saw him incorporate everyday items, altering them with pointed text and arranging them into unlikely forms

Cary Leibowitz - Photo of the artist's work on display at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco
Cary Leibowitz – Photo of the artist’s work on display at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco

The Magic of Cary Leibowitz

Cary Leibowitz certainly does make do with what is and, not surprisingly, the result is often a mess – he often ends up plastering the walls with paintings, photographs and ephemera, filling them with handwritten one-liner puns referring to queerness, Jewishness and art history. And, you know what? We absolutely love it. The seemingly random juxtapositions of artworks in his shows resemble the inside of a chaotic teenager’s room, slightly disturbed but full of realistic emotions and the willingness to be honest when observing the world outside of its walls. Yes, the art of Leibowitz isn’t for everybody, but those who find themselves comfortable with this man’s style and topics have found themselves a favorite artist for all ages.

Cary Leibowitz lives and works in New York City, the United States.

Featured image: Cary Leibowitz – Photo of the artist – Image via nycstateoftheart.com
All images courtesy of the artist.


YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2017Cary Leibowitz: Museum ShowThe Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM), San Francisco, CA Solo
2017Postcards From the Edge. 19th annualMetro Pictures Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2015City LivesShirley Fiterman Art Center, New York City, NY Group
2015Your smarter than me. i don’t care.Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA Group
2015Viewer Discretion... Children Of BatailleStux Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2014Das stille Leben des Sammlers KempinskiExile, Berlin Group
2014Not For All My Little WordsMarc Straus, New York City, NY Group
2014Aftershock: The Impact Of Radical ArtEdelman Arts, New York City, NY Group
2013Jew YorkUntitled, New York City, NY Group
2013Jew YorkZach Feuer Gallery (LFL), New York City, NY Group
2012B-OutAndrew Edlin Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2012Textual AttractionMary Ryan Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2012Summer CampSchroeder Romero & Shredder, New York City, NY Group
2012Postcards From the Edge. 14th annualCheim & Read, New York City, NY Group
2011Notes On Notes On "camp"Invisible-Exports, New York City, NY Group
2010Shifting the Gaze: Painting and FeminismThe Jewish Museum, New York City, NY Group
2010Multiple Pleasure: Functional Objects in Contemporary ArtTanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2010Heads Or TailsMary Ryan Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2010Think PinkGavlak, Palm Beach, FL Group
2010Hard TargetsThe Ohio State University, Columbus, OH Group
2009Ye Olde Candyass MuggeryAlexander Gray Associates, New York City, NY Solo
2009Learn to Read Art: A History of Printed MatterMoMA PS1, New York City, NY Group
2009LEARN TO READ ART: A History of Printed MatterBadischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe Group
2009Talk Dirty to Me...Larissa Goldston Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2009The EndThe Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburg, PA Group
2007I Love Warhol Piss PaintingsAlexander Gray Associates, New York City, NY Solo
2007Common ThreadsIllingworth Kerr Gallery at Alberta College of Art, Calgary, AB Group
2007Repairing the World: Contemporary Ritual ArtThe Jewish Museum, New York City, NY Group
2007Situation ComedySalina Art Center, Salina, KS Group
2006Safe: an exploration of domesticity ...Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts, New York City, NY Group
2006it is, "what is it?"Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York City, NY Group
2006Hundert Küsse sind besser als einer (Hundred Kisses are better than one)Krinzinger Projekte, Vienna Group
2006Humor MeKansas City Art Institue, Kansas City, MO Group
2005Cary LeibowitzAndrew Kreps Gallery, New York City, NY Solo
2005Post no BillsWhite Columns, New York City, NY Group
2005TradeWhite Columns, New York City, NY Group
2003Candyass: The Multiples Of Cary LeibowitzArt Metropole, Toronto, ON Solo
2003Mama's BoyWhite Columns, New York City, NY Group
2002Cary Leibowitz: Stop Copying Me, Stop Copying MeArcadia University Art Gallery , Glenside, PA Solo
2002Queer Visualities: Reframing Sexuality in a Post-Warhol WorldPaul W. Zuccaire Gallery, Stony Brook, NY Group
2001Cary Lebowitz: Gain! Wait! Now!Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York City, NY Solo
2001Benefit 2001 RaffleMomenta Art, New York City, NY Group
2000I saw starsMomenta Art, New York City, NY Group
1999mode of artKunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Dusseldorf Group
1997Sarah Staton's SupastoreCornerhouse, Manchester Group
1996Cary S. LiebowitzYnglingagatan 1, Stockholm Solo
1996Contemporary New Mexico Artists: Sketches and SchemasSite Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM Group
1996A Glimpse of the Norton Collection As Revealed by Kim DingleSite Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM Group
1996Too Jewish? Challenging Traditional IdentitiesThe Jewish Museum, New York City, NY Group
1994Cary S. LeibowitzYnglingagatan 1, Stockholm Solo
1994Bad Girls (Part II)New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York City, NY Group
1994Passing ThroughKunstraum Walcheturm, Zurich Group
1993Über-LebenBonner Kunstverein, Bonn Group