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Opening: Cary Leibowitz Happy Days Good Times / Vicey Versy

  • Fleisher Ollman 1216 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA, 19107 United States (map)

February 3–March 31, 2018

Reception: Saturday, February 2–4pm


Contact: Alex Baker / Image requests: Claire Iltis / (215) 545-7562


Fleisher/Ollman is pleased to present Cary Leibowitz: Happy Days Good Times/Vicey Versy which will include paintings, photo-based collages, and serially produced art-objects-as-tchotchkes/tchotchkes-as-art-objects conceived by the artist, who also produces work under the alternate persona, Candyass. The show is concurrent with Museum Show, his first-ever comprehensive, internationally traveling, mid-career retrospective exhibition, on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, February 2–March 25, 2018. 


Leibowitz’s interior-monologue of self-criticism and societal concern is the source of his word paintings and text-based collages, multiples, and prints. They self-deprecate and profess existential pain; Sorry/I thought you said pull the trigger, reads as a throwaway excuse offered by an accident-prone goof and a statement about America’s pathological relationship with guns. Newly emergent as a conscious type of painting, Leibowitz’s “mitten paintings” are one-color tondi radiating with cozy, wintry accessories knit with the names of Leibowitzian heroines and heroes. Among the honored: Mae West, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, actress and director Greta Gerwig, and the artist William N. Copley (a/k/a CPLY). 


For the most recent work, Leibowitz gathered publicity images from Happy Days and Good Times and, in a boldly tiny act of collaged intervention, affixed the show’s titles to the images using adhesive tape from a lettering “gun.” The results, despite coming from precisely contemporaneous sources, appear entirely disparate. Those from Happy Days (1974–1984) are all-white in cast, Technicolor in tone, and escapist and nostalgic in their idealized, carefree, prosperous, and secure suburban 1950s setting. The photos from Good Times (1974–1979) are mostly black-and-white; even the single color photograph is drably monochromatic. The Good Times cast is uniformly African American. They and their urban-project-tower apartment appear worn and weary.  


Cary Leibowitz (b. 1963, New York) has been shown throughout the United States and Europe, including the Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN; the Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; the Whitney Museum, New York, NY; Art Institute of Chicago, IL; List Visual Arts Center, MIT, Cambridge, MA; the Jewish Museum, New York, NY; MoMA PS1, New York, NY; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA; the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco; and the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art. Leibowitz is represented by INVISIBLE-EXPORTS. 


Organized by guest-curator Matthew F. Singer in collaboration with INVISIBLE-EXPORTS. Dr. Singer is an independent curator, writer, and educator.

Earlier Event: February 2
Winter Opening Celebration at ICA