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Art Diary

Cecily Brown: Death and the Maid

24 March 2023

The lively, colourful paintings of Cecily Brown toe a delicate line between figuration and abstraction, while also making allusions (veiled or otherwise) to everything from Old Master paintings to popular culture. This exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (4 April–3 December) spans the full breadth of the artist’s 25-year career, with more than 50 paintings, drawings and monotypes. It is Brown’s first major survey in the United States, and it focuses on the ways that the genre of still life – along with associated motifs such as memento mori – operate in her work. Early works such as The Only Game in Town (1997), which depicts a woman looking at herself in a dressing table mirror, reveal Brown’s long-standing interest in reflections and doubles. The excess of baroque still-life paintings forms part of the inspiration for Brown’s chaotic Picnic (2006), while in more recent works, such as Nature Morte (2020) and Lobsters, Oysters, Cherries and Pearls (2020), the artist takes a more explicit approach to the genre. Find out more on the Met’s website.

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Untitled (Vanity) (2005), Cecily Brown. © Cecily Brown

Father of the Bride (1999), Cecily Brown. Buffalo AKG Art Museum. © Cecily Brown

Aujourd’hui Rose (2005), Cecily Brown. © Cecily Brown

The Picnic (2006), Cecily Brown. © Cecily Brown