From left: Tajh Rust’s If I had a dream, 2021; Anthony Cudahy’s Us (with Jacob’s Ladder, Apocalypse Tree, Lion), 2020; and Lisa Yuskavage’s Mutualism, 2006. Photography by Steven Probert.

From left: Ann Craven’s Two Love Birds (Yellow Orchids), 2021; (top) Gareth Cadwallader’s Orange Juice, 2015; (bottom) Sally J. Han’s Sunset, 2021; and GaHee Park’s Shallow Night, 2018. Photography by Steven Probert.

From left: Ernst Yohji Jaeger’s Untitled 6, 2019; Reggie Burrows Hodges’s Big We’ll, 2020; Caleb Hahne’s Rocked In The Arms of Earth, 2020; and Jenna Gribbon’s Lunch Touch, 2020. Photography by Steven Probert.

Installation view of and I will wear you in my heart of heart at The FLAG Art Foundation, 2021. Photography by Steven Probert.

From left: Derrick Adams’s Style Variation 32, 2020; Carroll Dunham’s Mud Men, 2017; and Nicolas Party’s Portrait with a Seahorse Necklace, 2018. Photography by Steven Probert.

From left: Nicolas Party’s Portrait with a Seahorse Necklace, 2018; Billie Zangewa’s Self-Care Sunday, 2020; and Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s The Beautyful Ones, Series #3, 2014. Photography by Steven Probert.

From left: John Currin’s Tapestry, 2013, and Anna Weyant’s Semi-Charmed Life, 2021. Photography by Steven Probert.

From left: Somaya Critchlow’s Petworth Beauty (Abigail), 2020; Carroll Dunham’s Mud Men, 2017; and Louis Fratino’s Brushing our Teeth, 2020. Photography by Steven Probert.

From left: Cheryl Pope’s Woman and Man Reclining on Striped Mat XVI, 2020, and Joan Semmel’s Lean In, 202o. Photography by Steven Probert.

Tajh Rust (b. 1989)
If I had a dream, 2021
Oil on canvas
60 x 48 inches (152.4 x 121.9 cm)
© Tajh Rust. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Christopher Gardner.

Anthony Cudahy (b. 1989)
Us (with Jacob’s Ladder, Apocalypse Tree, Lion), 2020
Oil and acrylic on canvas
72 x 60 inches (182.88 x 152.40 cm)
© Anthony Cudahy. Courtesy the artist and 1969 Gallery.

Cheryl Pope (b. 1982)
Woman and Man Reclining on Striped Mat XVI, 2020
Needle-punched wool roving on cashmere, painted wood frame
51 x 48 inches (129.5 x 121.9 cm)
© Cheryl Pope. Courtesy the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.

Danielle McKinney (b. 1981)
To Talk About God, 2020
Acrylic on canvas panel
16 x 12 inches (40.6 x 30.5 cm)
© Danielle McKinney. 
Courtesy the artist and Fortnight Institute, New York. Photo: Matthew Booth.


Jordan Casteel (b. 1989)
Golden Girl, 2019
Oil on canvas
72 x 56 inches (182.88 x 142.24 cm)
© Jordan Casteel. Courtesy the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York. Photo: Jason Wyche.




Jenna Gribbon (b. 1979)
Lunch Touch, 2020
Oil on Linen
12 x 9 inches (30.5 x 22.9 cm)
© Jenna Gribbon. 
Courtesy the artist and Fredericks & Freiser, New York. Photo: Cary Whittier.

and I will wear you in my heart of heart

May 1 - August 13, 2021
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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The FLAG Art Foundation is limiting the number of visitors in its space at any one time. Appointments are encouraged to reserve a time slot for your visit, however, walk-ins are welcome if the space is not at capacity. Click here to schedule a visit.

The FLAG Art Foundation presents and I will wear you in my heart of heart, a group exhibition of contemporary paintings and textiles on view May 1-August 13, 2021, on it’s 9th floor. Centering on a gesture of care, the exhibition explores the myriad ways in which 35 artists evoke tenderness through depictions of lovers and friends, familial exchanges, moments of solitude, and even a cowboy and his pastel pink unicorn. Heart of heart includes recent and new works created for the exhibition that embody the cross-generational resurgence in figuration as a mode of exploring identity, cultural histories, and personal experiences. Artists include:

Derrick Adams
Gareth Cadwallader

Jordan Casteel
Will Cotton
Ann Craven
Somaya Critchlow

Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Anthony Cudahy
John Currin
Cynthia Daignault
TM Davy
Peter Doig
Carroll Dunham
Louis Fratino
Jay Lynn Gomez
Jenna Gribbon
Caleb Hahne
Sally J. Han
Hilary Harkness
Reggie Burrows Hodges
Ernst Yohji Jaeger
Sanya Kantarovsky
Arghavan Khosravi
Danielle McKinney
GaHee Park
Nicolas Party
Cheryl Pope
Tajh Rust
Joan Semmel
Alessandro Teoldi
Honor Titus
Salman Toor
Anna Weyant
Lisa Yuskavage
Billie Zangewa

Heart of heart nods to a line from (and spoken by) Hamlet[1] and addresses that which we hold closest, be it a relationship, a feeling, one’s own well-being, an object, or a dream. Illustratively, the “heart of heart” is akin to a castle’s keep, an innermost stronghold and safeguard from the outside world. Reggie Burrows Hodges and Jordan Casteel depict large-scale scenes of shared intimacy between parents and children. TM Davy and Jenna Gribbon position viewers as voyeurs, granted fleeting access to a loving gesture between friends and/or lovers. Reflective moments are found in paintings by Peter Doig (a lone figure stands outside the wall of Lapeyrouse Cemetery in Port of Spain, Trinidad), Danielle McKinney (a woman sits in prayer sits under a crucifix and portrait of the Virgin Mary), and Ernst Yohji Jaeger (a spider web is suspended—or being spun—between the fingers of a young man). Joan Semmel’s frank depiction of her aging body and Jay Lynn Gomez’s painting of a polaroid picture of her younger self speak to vulnerability and transformation. Made of materials that typically dress and wrap the body, textiles by Cheryl Pope (needle-punched wool roving on cashmere), Alessandro Teoldi (reconstituted airline blankets), and Billie Zangewa (hand-stitched and collaged silk) connote touch, comfort, and connectivity—intrinsic elements of tenderness.

With the understanding that the concept of tenderness is both elastic and individual, the exhibition opens with three artworks: Tajh Rust’s If I had a dream, 2021; Anthony Cudahy’s Us (with Jacob’s Ladder, Apocalypse Tree, Lion), 2020; and Lisa Yuskavage’s Mutualism, 2006. Rust’s jewel-toned canvas centers on two sleeping figures: a woman on an emerald couch and a man on a sapphire carpet studded with butterflies. While the figures’ relationship is opaque—are the lovers, siblings, or just friends—their hands, which almost touch, create an unmistakable intimacy. Cudahy paints himself and his husband Ian in a life-size towering embrace; connected through a spiral of each other’s hands, the couple is woven into a patchwork of symbols and imagery borrowed from the medieval Bayeux and Apocalypse Tapestries, as well as references to Helen Frankenthaler’s explosive Jacob’s Ladder[2], 1957. By contrast, Yuskavage’s small-scale oil painting features two nymph-like female figures piggybacking in a Candyland-like landscape—both are naked but for a single black Mary Jane shoe. Yuskavage’s intertwined characters are sexual and sexualized, playful, and possibly parasitic. Partially obscured by branches and greenery, the intentions on their flushed-faces are impossible to discern.

Continuing through two adjoining galleries, over 30 artworks of varied subject matters and formal affinities are installed to spark dialogues that are, by turns, funny, heartbreaking, erotic, nostalgic, empathetic, etc. Cumulatively, the works in heart of heart  illustrate the simple beauty of everyday moments, intimacy, and connection.

Join the conversation online and follow FLAG’s Instagram (@flagartfoundation) and Twitter (@FLAGartNYC); use the #heartofheart hashtag when posting. Click here for a virtual tour the exhibition by Eazel.

And I will wear you in my heart of heart was organized by The FLAG Art Foundation with the generous support of the participating artists, galleries, and the following lenders: Gaelle Alexis; Bill Cournoyer; Yasmin Gee and Andrew Starker; Caren Golden and Peter Herzberg; Miyoung Lee and Neil Simpkins; Edwin Oostmeijer; Karen Robinovitz and Darren Fields; Gordon VeneKlasen; Leslie and Michael Weissman; Young-Abraham Collection; Yuz Foundation; and other private collections.

[1] “[…]Give me that man / That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him /  In my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of heart, / As I do thee.” (Hamlet 3.2.65-67); Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. George Richard Hibbard. Oxford University Press, 2008. Google Books.
[2] The title of this work refers to the biblical character Jacob, the son of Isaac and Rebekah. As described in the Book of Genesis, Jacob had a dream in which he saw a ladder reaching toward heaven. Speaking about this work, Frankenthaler said, “The picture developed (bit by bit while I was working on it) into shapes symbolic of an exuberant figure and ladder, therefore Jacob’s Ladder.”