I’ve always been interested in portraying some kind of fantasy, then showing that it’s completely constructed. There are always dark messages hidden behind beauty, and the act of sculpting is about listening to that inner voice that warns you about something lurking beneath the surface.
In richly detailed sculptures and multipart installations, Rachel Feinstein investigates and challenges the concept of luxury as expressed in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, in the context of contemporary parallels. By synthesizing visual and societal opposites such as romance and pornography, elegance and kitsch, and the marvelous and the banal, she explores issues of taste and desire.
Born in Fort Defiance, Arizona, and raised in Miami, Feinstein received a BA in 1993 from Columbia University, New York, where she studied religion, philosophy, and studio art. That same year she attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. She found her passion for sculpture under the influence of mentors such as Kiki Smith, Ursula von Rydingsvard, and Judy Pfaff. In 1994 Feinstein was included in several group shows in New York, including Let the Artist Live! at Exit Art, where she presented a large gingerbread house modeled after Sleeping Beauty’s castle in which she slept throughout the exhibition.
Feinstein’s work was included in the first iteration of MoMA PS1’s Greater New York in 2000. She had her first solo exhibition at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, the following year, showing large plaster and wood sculptures of lions, swans, angels, and waterfalls, and transforming one of the galleries into an all-white Rococo-style salon, inspired by imperial palaces in Munich and Vienna. The construction of fantastical, multidimensional environments is integral to Feinstein’s practice. Preferring to see her work in complex interiors, she often brings Baroque elements into exhibition spaces, complicating the relationship between sculpture and painting, positive and negative space. The sculptures, viewed from certain angles, flatten, while the walls seem to expand through Feinstein’s use of mirrors and wallpaper.
Seeing her ornate sculptures reflected in her paintings on mirror from the early 2000s, Feinstein began to explore spatial landscapes, notably those depicted in panoramas from the 1800s. Using found images, she created hybrid arcadian landscapes printed on mirrored wallpaper. The first of these wallpapers, Panorama of Rome (2012), was installed in the elliptical gallery at Gagosian in Rome, offering visitors an impressionistic view of the city around them. In 2010–11 Feinstein transformed the modernist interior of Lever House, New York, into a snowy wonderland, rife with stylized elements of Rococo and Gothic design. Interpreting Hans Christian Anderson’s Snow Queen, she created a gilded carriage, groups of toy soldiers, arched alcoves containing characters from the story, and sublime architectural ruins painted onto floor-to-ceiling mirrors. Three years later her sculpture Folly (2014) was installed in New York’s Madison Square Park, marking Feinstein’s first public art exhibition in the US.
In 2018 Feinstein produced the Secrets series, comprising eight large-scale sculptures that reimagine the Victoria’s Secret “Angels,” as well as ceramic sculptures inspired by Franz Anton Bustelli’s Rococo commedia dell’arte figurines. As in much of her work, the theatrical and the intricate verge on the grotesque, becoming strangely erotic abstractions, and suggesting the body through its absence.
Rachel Feinstein: Frieze Sculpture
Rachel Feinstein speaks about her outdoor installation for Frieze Sculpture 2018—a set of four majolica sculptures, inspired by Franz Anton Bustelli’s Rococo commedia dell’arte figurines.
Rachel Feinstein Brings Rome to Paris
Rachel Feinstein speaks to Gagosian’s Angela Brown about “bringing Rome to Paris,” for her exhibition at Le Mur.
Rachel Feinstein and John Currin
Shio Kusaka and Jonas Wood
Rachel Feinstein and John Currin and Shio Kusaka and Jonas Wood will be honored at the 2018 Hirshhorn New York Gala at Lincoln Center on November 5, 2018. This year the annual event celebrates twenty-five duos whose achievements—both individually and collectively—have played a formative role in shaping the next generation of art history.
West Bund Art & Design
November 8–11, 2018, booth A120
West Bund Art Center, Shanghai
Gagosian is pleased to participate in West Bund Art & Design for the first time, with a booth of modern and contemporary works by artists including Glenn Brown, Dan Colen, John Currin, Jean Dubuffet, Rachel Feinstein, Urs Fischer, Walton Ford, Ellen Gallagher, Douglas Gordon, Jennifer Guidi, Hao Liang, Damien Hirst, Thomas Houseago, Alex Israel, Y.Z. Kami, Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara, Nam June Paik, Richard Prince, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Rudolf Stingel, and Jonas Wood.
Additionally, a large-scale painting by Takashi Murakami, Dragon in Clouds – Indigo Blue (2010), will be installed in a special presentation at the entrance to Hall N. To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at email@example.com. To preview our booth, go to artsy.net.
Thomas Houseago, Untitled (Colored Skull I), 2018 © Thomas Houseago
July 4–October 7, 2018
Regent’s Park, London
Clare Lilley, director of programs at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, has selected new and significant sculptures by leading artists around the world to be on view in Regent’s Park. A set of four majolica sculptures by Rachel Feinstein will be included.
Rachel Feinstein, Corine, 2018 © Rachel Feinstein
Rachel Feinstein in
HY x OffTheWall
Through November 30, 2019
Hudson Yards, New York
This exhibition features large-scale interactive and three-dimensional installations, curious and often humorous tableaus, and murals by thirteen artists. All artworks relate to the rich history and geographic location of the Hudson Yards. Work by Rachel Feinstein is included.
Rachel Feinstein, Romeo and Juliet, 2019 (detail) © Rachel Feinstein