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Keith Mayerson

My Modern Life

October 15 - November 13, 2010

Opening Reception: Friday, October 15, 6 - 8 pm


Derek Eller Gallery is pleased to present My Modern Life, an installation of new paintings by Keith Mayerson.


My Modern Life is both an intimate account of an artist’s journey into the 21st century and a contemporary portrait of America in challenging times.  For this exhibition, Mayerson works primarily from photos he has taken or directed. Inspired by old masters and modernists who made paintings which were both political and personal, Mayerson's compositions are painterly, warm and transcendent.  With a self-portrait as a yearning young man in 1983 to an image of he and his life partner celebrating their marriage in 2008 when it was legal in California to a picture of their cabin home where the ceremony took place, Mayerson paints from his heart romantic images that hold deep significance not only to him, but extend to art, religion, culture, and pertinent issues that are shaping the world right now. Among these images is a painting of the Tibetan leader the Karmapa on his first trip to NYC in front of a thangka painting of his “previous incarnation.” In another, the actor portraying Rothko contemplates his painting from the recent play Red, as the audience reads their playbills.  A painting of an American flag beating in the night sky complements an image of a luminous Empire State Building, along with a painting of the New York street corner 39th and 10th, lit up like a transcendent vision of America.  In these works, Mayerson attests to the power of art and seeks to rewrite such post-modern artists as Johns and Warhol, but also renders the city that New Yorkers know in 2010.  For the exhibition's closing image, Mayerson paints from satellite views pastiched together from Google Earth.  It is a United States of the moment: diversely and ideologically the country that is beloved yet hard to define, one who’s social and political landscape is in a state of constant flux and change.


Keith Mayerson has professionally exhibited his art in galleries and museums since 1993.  His exhibitions are often installations of images that create larger narratives.  Each work is imbued with allegorical content that relates to the world, yet allows through its formal nuances for the transcendent and sublime.  The works stand on their own for form and content, but like a prose poem of images on walls, experiencing in context the images as a series, the viewer creates the ultimate meaning for the installations.


Keith Mayerson is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.  He is on the board of trustees at the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art, New York, and will be a core critic in Spring 2011 at Yale MFA.  He also teaches at New York University, Brooklyn College, and the School of Visual Arts, where he is also the Cartooning Coordinator.  He recently curated the NeoIntegrity: Comics Edition exhibition at the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art, which was a sequel to the critically acclaimed NeoIntegrity exhibition at Derek Eller Gallery in 2007.  Mayerson currently has an installation entitled Good Leaders, Endangered Species at 80WSE Broadway Windows, 10th and Broadway, through October 29th.  This will be his fifth solo exhibition at the gallery.


Derek Eller Gallery is located at 615 West 27th Street, between 11th and 12th Avenues. Hours are Tuesday - Saturday from 11am - 6pm. For further information or visuals, please contact the gallery at 212.206.6411 or visit