reviews

  • Joan Semmel, Purple Passion, 1973, oil on canvas, 48 × 80". From “Second Erotic Series,” 1972–73.

    Joan Semmel, Purple Passion, 1973, oil on canvas, 48 × 80". From “Second Erotic Series,” 1972–73.

    Joan Semmel

    The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum

    Joan Semmel’s “Skin in the Game” at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts—her first retrospective—evinced a sustained, fearless, and lively studio practice, which the artist has maintained for more than six decades. She joyously examines the body, and often her own. Hung chronologically, the exhibition included fifty-one paintings, all oil on canvas, as well as several works on paper. Despite the modest selection, the show covered a great portion of Semmel’s career.

    The presentation began with an Abstract Expressionist painting, Perfil Infinito (Infinite Profile), 1966. Her unabashed use of

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