new-york

Marlene Dumas, She speaks, 2015–16, ink and metallic acrylic on paper, 11 1⁄8 × 9 1⁄4". From the series “Venus & Adonis,” 2015–16.

Marlene Dumas

David Zwirner | 537 West 20th Street

There was a time in the late sixteenth century when fears of the plague forced theaters all across London to close their doors until the illness passed. This posed something of an employment problem for Shakespeare. To continue working, he turned to poetry. “Venus and Adonis,” a narrative poem from 1593, and perhaps his first published work, took a brief episode from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and transformed it into a rollicking, ten-thousand-word disputation on the natures of love and lust. In Shakespeare’s text, Venus, the goddess of love, falls for the alluring young hunter Adonis, who couldn’t care less for her overtures: He finds her seductions tedious and distasteful. At one point, he rejects her so forcefully that she faints. Afraid that he’s inadvertently killed her, Adonis leans down to caress her face, at which point Venus takes full advantage. But she can’t keep him there forever,

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