Deborah Kass' multi-panel EMERGENCY series (2019-20) functions as a shining reminder of the immediacy of the most pressing challenges of our culture. Together with her EVERYBODY series, the work references everything from Kazimir Malevich to Jasper Johns to the Bauhaus. Is Kass telling us to open up the art historical canon to everybody? Is the need for equity and equality in society at emergency levels? These works, which were started before the onset of COVID-19, are incredibly prescient expressions of the ethos of our time: that EVERYBODY is in this EMERGENCY together. Their structural simplicity and straightforward color palette ties them to the formal and intellectual purity of Neo Plasticism and Minimalism, while their abrupt messaging extends the legacy of Supergraphics and Pop.
This work is part of Deb Kass' No Kidding series (2015—Present). One of the defining elements of this series is the incorporation of neon into the paintings. Kass' latest body of work, No Kidding deploys the aesthetic formalism of Post War abstraction, as did her feel good paintings for feel bad times. But now the mood has changed. The palette has shifted to dark colors and the surfaces of the paintings are worn and washed out. Seemingly positive lyrical phrases such as 'Happy Days Are here Again' and 'We'll Be Young Forever' contrast with a sense that everything is not alright. The colors and text in the works reference issues like women's health, climate change and institutional racism. Among the most potent pieces in the series use the words and colors Black and Blue alluding to, among other things, police violence against people of color.

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Kavi Gupta Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery Opening Hours Tuesday–Friday, 10am–6pm Saturday, 11am–5pm
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