Julia Wachtel

  • Julia Wachtel is fascinated with the visual language of mass culture. Her paintings enter into a visual language game wherein the appropriated vernacular of mass culture is illustrated, simulated, replicated, altered and parodied. The logic of this language is disturbed just enough to provoke a meditation upon the conditions of meaning intrinsic to that vernacular. In her paintings of the 80s and 90s, Wachtel inserted grotesque, irritating cartoon characters — popular with the middle class in the 1960s and 1970s when they were seen on greeting cards, bar supplies and T-shirts – into the “readymade” lexicon of mainstream magazine and newspaper photographic images which documented the contemporary socio-political landscape of the time. Within more recent work cartoons still feature, alongside other figures from a wider source and all imagery is now culled from the internet. In her new work, every painting includes a focal panel that explicates various notions of the representational ‘everyman’, whether through working class cartoons, or another form. Company logos, sales advertisements and the ubiquitous ‘Google Map’ image are just some of the recognisable referents that filter into Watchel’s transnational fables.

  • 2016, Vilma Gold, London, Installation View

  • 2016, Vilma Gold, London, Installation View

  • Empowerment, 2015, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, Installation View


  • Empowerment, 2015, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, Installation View

  • Bergen Kunsthall, 2014, Norway, Installation view

  • Bergen Kunsthall, 2014, Norway, Installation view

  • Bergen Kunsthall, 2014, Norway, Installation view

  • Cleveland Museum of Art, 2014, Installation view

  • Cleveland Museum of Art, 2014, Installation view

  • Narrative Collapse I, 1981 / 2013, posters, marker, 106 x 411 cm, 42 x 162 ins

  • Remote Control, 2012, ICA, London, Installation View

  • ACv2.6, 2012, oil on canvas, 99 x 287 cm, 39 x 113 ins

  • The Old, The New, The Different, 2012, Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland, Installation View

  • Massapequa, 1992, acrylic and screen ink, 71 x 201 cm, 28 x 79 ins

  • Landscape No. 7 (?), 1990, oil, flashe, lacquer ink on canvas, 152 x 259 cm, 60 x 102 ins

  • Procession, 1989, oil, flashe, lacquer ink on canvas, 147 x 419 cm, 58 x 165 ins

  • Them, 1981, posters, marker, 206 x 72 cm, 81 x 28 ins

  • Lives and works in New York, USA

    1956Born in New York, USA

    Solo Exhibitions

    2016Vilma Gold, London

    2015Empowerment, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York

    2014The Clevenland Museum of Art, Ohio
    Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen Norway, curated by Steinar Sekkingsta
    Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, with Ericka Beckman

    2013Vilma Gold Gallery, London

    2002Edward Thorp Gallery, New York

    1998Galerie Georges-Phillipe et Nathalie Vallois, Paris

    1997New Paintings, Sandra Gering Gallery, New York

    1995Crypte de l’Eglise del’Assomption, Rosnay-L’Hopital, France Eglise de Aumenancourt, Marne, France
    Passages, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Troyes, France (exh. cat.)
    Gallerie Georges-Philippe Vallois, France

    1993American Fine Arts, New York

    1991Julia Wachtel and Haim Steinbach, Galerie Faust, Geneva, Switzerland
    Options 41, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, (exh. cat.)

    1990Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio
    Julia Wachtel and Peter Nagy, Galerie Georges-Philippe Vallois, Paris

    1989Greenville County Art Museum, Greenville, North Carolina
    Diane Brown Gallery, New York (exh. cat.)

    1988Diane Brown Gallery, New York
    Nature Morte Gallery, New York

    1987Diane Brown Gallery, New York

    1985Diane Brown Gallery, New York
    Nature Morte Gallery, New York

    1984Nature Morte Gallery, New York

    1983Social Conquest (collaboration with Haim Steibach), C.U.N.Y. Graduate Center Mall, New York

    1981 Relations of Absence, Fashion Moda, Bronx, New York

    Group Exhibitions (selected)

    2016Ordinary Pictures, curated by Eric Crosby, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
    Almanach16, Le Consortium Dijon, France
    Ideologue, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City, Utah
    Champagne Life, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK

    2015Zabriskie Point, Geneva, Switzerland, curated by Laure Marville, Roxane Bovet, Yoan Mudry
    Toys Redux - On Play and Critique", curated by Raphael Gygax and Judith Welter (catalogue), Migros Museum, Zurich, CH
    20 Years of Collecting: Between Discovery and Invention, Zabludowicz Collection, London
    Venganza (I don't want to be friends), curated by Gea Politi, Armada, Milan, Italy
    Fresh Prints: The Nineties to Now, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Ohio
    Call and Response, Gavin Brown's Enterprise, NYC

    2014.../ Forever Young curated by Marie Degaulejac, Galerie Catherine Bastide, Brussels
    New Hells, curated by Isaac Lyles, Derek Eller Gallery, New York

    2013Expérience Pommery #11 Une Odyssee: Les 30 Ans du frac Champagne-Ardenne, Frac Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France
    Selections from the Absolut Collection, curated by Finbar Krook Rosato, Spiritmuseum, Stockholm
    Post Culture, Elizabeth Dee, New York

    2012In Twenty-Five Minutes, curated by Haim Steinbach, The Artist’s Institute, New York
    Face a Face, Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain Poitou-Charentes, Angoulême, France
    The Old, The New, The Different, curated by Fabrice Stroun, Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland
    Remote Control, ICA, London
    Desperately Seeking Susan, Kathleen Cullen Gallery, NYC

    2011The Great White Way Goes Black, Vilma Gold, London
    Social Photography, curated by Peter Scott, Carriage Trade, NYC
    Situation New York 1986, Art & Public - Cabinet, Geneva, Switzerland

    2009Le Magasin, Grenoble, France, “Images et (Re)Presentation” Gallerie Georges-Philippe & Natalie Vallois, Paris

    2008The Cult of Personality, Erna Hecey Gallery, Luxemburg

    2004I am the Walrus, curated by Jan Avgikos, Cheim & Read Gallery, NYC

    2001W Exhibition, the Musee des Beaux-Arts, Dole, France, curated by Robert Nickas and Vincent Pecoil,
    (exh. cat.)

    2000Edward Thorp Gallery, New York

    1999The Bronx Museum of the Arts, “Urban Mythologies: The Bronx Represented Since the 1960’s” curated by Lydia Yee, (exh.cat.)
    Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, England, “Artlovers”, curated by Marcia Fortes, (exh. cat.) Art & Public, Geneva, Switzerland, “Sweet & Sour”
    Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, OH, “Text & Signifier”
    Louvre, Museum of the Applied Arts, Paris, Absolut Collection

    1998Galerie Für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany, “Weather Everything”, curated by Eric Troncy Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, “Interpreting”
    Edinburgh International Art Festival, Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland, “I Love New York’

    1996Basilico Fine Arts, New York, “Can we talk?”

    1995Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum, Graz, Austria, “Pittura Immedia,” Peinture, Photo et Cie.

    1991Les rencontres d’Arles, France, (exhib. cat.)
    fiction/non fiction, New York, “Painting Culture” Genovese Gallery Annex, Boston
    Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco

    1990Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, “Stendahl Syndrome: The Cure” (exh. cat.) Le Consortium, Dijon, France, “le choix des femmes”
    Simon Watson Gallery, New York, “Total Metal” (exh. cat.)
    Massimo Audiello Gallery, “The Last Laugh”
    Wright State University, the University Art Galleries,
    “Assembled: Works of Art Using Photography as a Construction Element” (exh. cat.)

    1989Turon Travel, Inc., New York, “Jet Lag”
    Achim Kubinski, Stuttgart, West Germany (exh. cat.)
    Robbin Lockett Gallery, Chicago, “Ian Hamilton Finlay, Mitchell Kane, Julie Wachtel” Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, New Jersey, “The Mirror in Which Two Are Seen as One” The School of Visual Arts Gallery, New York, “Dream Reality” (exh. cat.)

    1988Hans Meyer Gallery, Dusseldorf, Germany, “Works Concepts Processes Situation Information” (exh. cat.)
    Graeme Murray Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland
    121 Art Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium
    Scott Hanson Gallery, New York, “Media Post-Media” (exh. cat.)
    The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York, Appropriation and Syntax: The Uses of Photography in Contemporary Art”
    Scott Hanson Gallery, New York

    1987Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles, “Nothing Sacred”
    Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, “Avant-Garde in the Eighties” (exh. cat.)
    The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut, “Post-Abstract Abstraction”(exh. cat.)
    Galerie Pierre Huber, Geneva, Switzerland, “The Art of the Real” (exh. cat.)
    Knight Gallery, Charlotte, North Carolina, “Romance”
    Institute of Contemporary Art, London, “Comic Iconoclasm” (exh. cat.)
    Hillwood Art Gallery, Long Island University/C.W. Post Campus, Greenvale, New York, “Perverted by Language” (exh. cat.)
    Barbara Toll Fine Arts, New York, “Monsters: The Phenomena of Dispassion”

    1986S.L. Simpson Gallery, Toronto, Canada, “Ultrasurd” (exh. cat.) American Fine Arts Co., Colin de Land Fine Art, New York
    Bess Cutler Gallery, New York, “When Attitudes Become Form”
    Bard College, Annadale-on-Hudson, New York, “The Ready Made Painted” Metro Pictures, New York
    Nature Morte Gallery, New York

    1985Artists Space, New York, “Split Vision” (exh. cat.)
    Daniel Newburg Gallery, New York, “Persona Non Grata”
    Texas Gallery, Houston, “Infotainment” (exh. cat.) (traveled to Rhona Hoffman Gallery,
    Chicago; Vanguard Gallery, Philadelphia; Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado; De Selby
    Gallery, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Galerie Montenay Del Sol, Paris)
    Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, “1985 Biennial Exhibition,” as part of Group Material “ Americana” (exh. cat.)
    Saidye Bronfman Centre, Montreal, Canada, “East Village”

    1984University Art Museum, Univ. of California at Santa Barbara, “Neo York: Report on a Phenomenon”
    (exh. cat.)
    L.A.C.E. Gallery, Los Angeles, “Emblem”
    Institute for Contemporary Art, P 1, Long Island City, New York, Group Material, “Timeline of.S.Intervention in Central America”
    Artists Space, New York, “Hundreds of Drawings”
    Center Gallery, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
    Sardoni Art Gallery, Wilkes College, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, “Contemporary Perspectives”

    1983Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, Buffalo, New York (exh. cat.) Brooklyn, New York, “Terminal Show/Preparing for War”
    Subway Ad Spaces, New York, Group Material, “Subculture” Latino Space, Group Material, “Revolutionary High Art”

    1982The Drawing Center, New York, “Fifth Anniversary Exhibition” (exh. cat.)

    1981Bus System, New York, Group Material, “M5 Show”
    Artists Space, New York, “Selections” (exh. cat.) New York, Group Material, “Gender Show” Drawing Center, New York: “Selections 14”

    1979Institute for Contemporary Art, P.S.1, Long Island City, New York, “Film / Audio Installation”

    Public Collections

    MoMA, NYC
    The Whitney Museum
    The Brooklyn Museum
    Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (LAMOCA) FRAC Caen
    The Progressive Corporation
    Absolut Collection
    Best Products
    Continental Life Insurance
    Chase Manhattan Bank
    American Medical Association

    Selected Bibliography

    2015Noble, Kathy, Julia Wachtel, Frieze, January, February, 2015, p. 158

    2013Coxhead, Gabriel, Julia Wachtel:Post Culture, Art Review, Summer 2013, pp. 148
    Nairne, Eleanor, Julia Wachtel, Frieze, June, July, August, 2013, pp. 228-229
    Skye Sherwin, Julia Wachtel, London, The Guardian Guide: Exhibitions, 16-22nd March, 2013, pp.37
    Matt Calderwood, Sterling Ruby, Julia Wachtel: the week’s art shows in pictures, The Guardian online 15 March, 2013
    George Vasey, Julia Wachtel at Vilma Gold, Kaleidoscope 18 March, 2013

    2012Vanity Fair, April 2012, p. 96
    Deboath, Neela, Preview: Remote Control, The Independent, 30 March, 2012 Frieze Art Fair Yearbook, 2011-12
    Time Out New York, , February 8, 2012

    1995Paul Ardennes, “ Julia Wachtel, for an Ethics of Vision”

    1991Joshua Decter, “ Critical Entertainments”, Julia Wachtel, Museum of Contemporary Art Chichago
    Lynne Warren “Cartoon Emotions”, Julia Wachtel, Museum of Contemporary Art Chichago

    1988Catherine Liu, Julia Wachtel, Diane Brown Gallery