Martine Gutierrez (b. 1989), Supremacy, 2021. Collection of the artist; courtesy Ryan Lee Gallery, New York
A new work by Martine Gutierrez (b. 1989, Berkeley, CA) will be the next project presented by the Whitney Museum of American Art and High Line Art on the facade of 95 Horatio Street. Supremacy (2021), a photo-performance in the artist’s signature chameleonic style, presents a newly created scene in which Gutierrez poses as a model surrounded by Barbie-like dolls. The work continues the artist’s investigation of how media propagates archetypes of women, beauty, and authenticity. A photograph reproduced as a 17-by-29-foot vinyl print, Supremacy will go on view on September 20, weather permitting, on the southwest corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets, located directly across from the Whitney and the High Line.
Gutierrez works across performance, photography, and film and draws from an eclectic range of sources—from popular culture to art history—to create her imagined roles. She executes each step of the creative process herself, from staging and lighting to modeling and photography. Marcela Guerrero, Jennifer Rubio Associate Curator at the Whitney, remarked, “Gutierrez continuously challenges our understanding of identity from the intersection of gender, race, class, and beauty. In doing so from the position of subject, creator, and muse, she takes full autonomy and control of her representation.”
In Supremacy, Gutierrez plays a brunette model lying on top of a saccharine pink shaggy rug. Her “broken doll” pose is reminiscent of Tyra Banks’s early-aughts TV show America’s Next Top Model. Blonde Barbie-like dolls, representatives of stereotypical ideals of perfection, are scattered across the model’s body, echoing her lingerie and pose. One doll pulls Guiterrez’s the artist’s hair; another pushes her thigh. Written boldly in white, Supremacy is the brand. Gutierrez subverts the language of marketing, disclosing how supremacy replicates itself, like any other product subject to an ad campaign.
Martine Gutierrez: Supremacy is part of a series of public art installations begun in 2015, organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in partnership with TF Cornerstone and High Line Art, that has previously featured works by key American artists, including Alex Katz (2014), Michele Abeles (2015), Njideka Akunyili Crosby (2015–16), Torbjørn Rødland (2016–17), Puppies Puppies (2017), Do Ho Suh (2017–18), Christine Sun Kim (2018), Derek Fordjour (2018), Lucas Blalock (2019), Jill Mulleady (2020), and Andrea Carlson (2021).
About the Artist
Gutierrez (b. 1989 Berkeley, CA) is an artist, performer, and musician who produces elaborate narrative scenes that employ pop culture tropes to explore the nuances of personal and collective identity in terms of race, gender, class, and indigeneity. Her earlier bodies of work—Real Doll (2013), Girl Friends (2014), and Line Up (2014)—explore gender, intimacy, and fantasy, often casting mannequins as ambiguous characters in constantly shifting realities. Gutierrez’s semi-autobiographical film, Martine Part I – IX (2012– 16), is a meditation on a personal transformation that began while she was an undergraduate student and finished years later as a young artist in New York City. In 2018, Gutierrez produced Indigenous Woman, a fully realized 124-page magazine dedicated, as Gutierrez describes it, to “the celebration of Mayan Indian heritage, the navigation of contemporary indigeneity and the ever-evolving self-image.”
Gutierrez received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2012. Her work has been featured in several museum exhibitions, including the Australian Centre for Photography’s Body en Thrall: Martine Gutierrez (2020), the Museum of Modern Art Fort Worth’s FOCUS: Martine Gutierrez (2019), and the Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh’s WE & THEM & ME (2016). Her upcoming Public Art Fund project ANTI-ICON, a three hundred-site exhibition of ten new photographs, debuted on August 25, 2021. Her work has been acquired by the Whitney; Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH; McNay Art Museum, San Antonio; Milwaukee Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the RISD Museum, Providence, RI; among other institutions. Gutierrez lives and works in Brooklyn.
Martine Gutierrez: Supremacy is organized by Marcela Guerrero, Jennifer Rubio Associate Curator.
Martine Gutierrez: Supremacy is part of Outside the Box programming, supported by a generous endowment from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation.
Additional support is provided by the Artists Council.
About the Whitney
The Whitney Museum of American Art, founded in 1930 by the artist and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875–1942), houses the foremost collection of American art from the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries. Mrs. Whitney, an early and ardent supporter of modern American art, nurtured groundbreaking artists at a time when audiences were still largely preoccupied with the Old Masters. From her vision arose the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has been championing the most innovative art of the United States for ninety years. The core of the Whitney’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit American art of our time and serve a wide variety of audiences in celebration of the complexity and diversity of art and culture in the United States. Through this mission and a steadfast commitment to artists themselves, the Whitney has long been a powerful force in support of modern and contemporary art and continues to help define what is innovative and influential in American art today.