Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel


The New Museum will present the first American survey of the work of British artist Sarah Lucas (b. 1962, London, UK).

Cover Image:

“Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel,” 2018. Exhibition view: New Museum, New York. Photo: Maris Hutchinson / EPW Studio

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Over the past thirty years, Lucas has created a distinctive and provocative body of work that subverts traditional notions of gender, sexuality, and identity. Since the late 1980s, she has transformed found objects and everyday materials such as cigarettes, vegetables, and stockings into disorienting, confrontational tableaux that boldly challenge social norms. The human body and anthropomorphic forms recur throughout Lucas’s works, often appearing erotic, humorous, fragmented, or reconfigured into fantastical anatomies of desire.

Initially associated with a group known as the Young British Artists (YBAs), who began exhibiting together in London in the late 1980s, Lucas is now one of the UK’s most influential artists. This presentation, which takes place across the three main floors of the New Museum, brings together more than 150 works in photography, sculpture, and installation to reveal the breadth and ingenuity of her practice. The exhibition addresses the ways in which Lucas’s works engage with crucial debates about gender and power, along with the legacy of Surrealism—from her clever transformations of everyday objects to her exploration of sexual ambiguity and the tension between the familiar and the absurd.

“Sarah Lucas: Au Naturel” features some of Lucas’s most important projects, including early sculptures from the 1990s that substitute domestic furniture for body parts and enlarged spreads from tabloid newspapers from the same period, which reflect objectified representations of the female body. Alongside the photographic self-portraits that Lucas has produced throughout her career, the exhibition features biomorphic sculptures including her stuffed-stocking Bunnies (1997–ongoing) and NUDS (2009–ongoing), the Penetralia series (2008–ongoing), and selections from her installations at the Freud Museum in London (2000) and the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2015). These works, which complicate inscribed codes of sexual and social normativity, have never before been shown together in the US. Lucas has also created new sculptural works for the exhibition, including This Jaguar’s Going to Heaven (2018), a severed 2003 Jaguar X-Type—the car’s back half burned and its front half collaged with cigarettes—and VOX POP DORIS (2018), a pair of eleven-foot-tall thigh-high platform boots cast in concrete.

The exhibition is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director, and Margot Norton, Curator. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue copublished by the New Museum and Phaidon Press. The catalogue includes an interview with Sarah Lucas conducted by Massimiliano Gioni, as well as contributions by Whitney Chadwick, Anne Ellegood, Angus Fairhurst, Quinn Latimer, Maggie Nelson, Linda Nochlin, Margot Norton, and Anne Wagner.

Following its presentation at the New Museum, Lucas’s exhibition will travel to the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles in June 2019.

Sarah Lucas (b. 1962, London, UK) lives and works in Suffolk, UK. She was included in the now-legendary group exhibition “Freeze” (1988), organized by Damien Hirst at the Surrey Docks in London Docklands. For six months in 1993, she collaborated with fellow artist Tracey Emin on The Shop, for which the duo made and sold objects such as T-shirts, paper badges, and printed mugs in a London storefront. Lucas has since exhibited internationally, at institutions such as Tate Britain, London (2004); Tate Modern, London (2002); the Freud Museum, London (2000); Tecla Sala, Barcelona (2000); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (1997); Museum Boijmans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam (1996); Portikus, Frankfurt (1996); and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1993). In 2005, a traveling retrospective of her work was shown at Kunsthalle Zürich, Kunstverein Hamburg, and Tate Liverpool. Recent solo exhibition include “Good Muse,” Legion of Honor, San Francisco (2017); “INNAMEMORABILIAMUMBUM,” Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan (2016); “POWER IN WOMAN,” Sir John Soane’s Museum, London (2016); “Sarah Lucas,” Tramway, Glasgow (2014); the retrospective “SITUATION Absolute Beach Man Rubble” at Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013); “NOB + Gelatin,” Secession, Vienna (2013); and “Ordinary Things,” Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK (2012). Lucas represented Britain at the 2015 Venice Biennale with her exhibition “I SCREAM DADDIO.”

This exhibition contains images of genitalia, which may not be suitable for all audiences. Contact for more information.

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This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Lead support for this exhibition is provided by the Artemis Council of the New Museum.
Maria Baibakova, Chair
Dr. Shelley Fox Aarons, Valerie Biberaj, Sarah Rose Calodney, Radhika Chanana and Amira Chanana, Robin Cofer-D’Alleva, Frederica Fanari, Belma Gaudio, Stacey Goergen, Agnes Gund, Sara Kay, Shanyan Koder, Laura Lehmann, Randi Charno Levine, Marley Blue Lewis, Margaret Munzer Loeb, Nazy Nazhand, Nicole Nunag, Bettina Prentice, Debbie Rechler, Nancy Rogers, Barrie Roman, Lisa Schiff, Jennifer Soros, Sara Story, Olivia Walton, Pam Wasserstein, Madeline Weinrib, Tiffany Zabludowicz, Ruoqi Amy Zhou, and H.R.H. Princess Eugenie of York, Ambassador

Generous support for this exhibition is provided by:
Shane Akeroyd
Ellen and Michael Ringier
Caisa and Åke Skeppner
Elham and Tony Salamé

Additional support is provided by D.Daskalopoulos Collection, Carol and Arthur A. Goldberg, Wendy Fisher, the Henry Moore Foundation, the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, and Nion McEvoy.

Education and community programs are supported, in part, by the American Chai Trust

Special thanks to Sadie Coles HQ, London; Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels; kurimanzutto, Mexico City; and Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin.

Thanks to the Bowery Hotel.

The accompanying publication was made possible, in part, by the J. McSweeney and G. Mills Publications Fund at the New Museum.

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