From January 9 through February 4, 2020, El Barrio’s Artspace PS109 is pleased to present The Storyteller: Olivia Beens Through the Decades. Spanning two floors of a neo-Gothic former schoolhouse in East Harlem, the career retrospective traces the multifaceted development of the artist’s oeuvre, which spans across media and employs a broad-ranging use of materials and techniques.
Olivia Beens (b. 1948) is a New York-based Dutch-American artist whose work is helixed around the sacred and profane. Buoyed by questions of identity, spirituality, and feminism, her lyrical sculptures, potent wall reliefs, and dynamic performances interrogate the liminal self while encapsulating ideas of physical and psychic transformation. From her ephemeral installations and performances of the 1980s to the assemblages and clay works that have defined her practice for the last three decades, Beens has consistently explored the intersections of body and memory as they relate to global art histories, mysticism, gender, urbanism, and ecology.