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Martha Nilsson Edelheit, lives and works at Svartsjö, outside of Stockholm

Martie(at)marthaedelheit.com

Contact

For inquiries of sale please contact Eric Firestone Gallery

efg(at)ericfirestonegallery.com


Tattooed Torso, Mixed Media Sculpture. Collection of Dr. Irv and Zola Schneider.

About

By 1962, Edelheit began to explore the subject of tattooing in her work. She related to the writings of Claude Levi-Strauss. In his 1955 memoir, Tristes Tropiques, Levi-Strauss speculates that tattooing was the first art, before cave art, and that the human body was the first canvas. The flesh of the figures Edelheit depicts become places where the dreams and fantasies of the models emerge. Edelheit’s paintings of tattooed figures led to her depictions of circus performers, which have a frank sexuality; the contorted bodies and body parts, along with their costumed appearance, suggest sadomasochistic play.


Edelheit’s erotic works on paper, and her series of monumental “Flesh Wall” paintings were exhibited at the Byron Gallery in the mid-1960s. This work prompted Allan Kaprow to write an article for the Village Voice addressing the significance of women’s contemporary erotic art. Edelheit became an essential voice whose work implicitly challenged social expectations of women as well as formalist paradigms and traditional notions of figurative painting and the nude.


Tattooed Lady, 1962, oil on canvas.

Private collection.

Martha, Ekerö, Sweden 2020

Martha Edelheit was born New York City in 1931, where she lived until moving to Sweden in 1993. She currently lives outside of Stockholm. She is known as a pioneering feminist artist whose work of the 1960s addresses female desire, the body, and skin as a double “canvas” for tattoo imagery.


Edelheit studied at the University of Chicago, New York University and Columbia University in the 1950s. Important teachers included artist Michael Loew and art historian Meyer Schapiro. She established herself in the center of the downtown avant-garde, becoming a member of the Tenth Street artist-run space, the Reuben Gallery, where her first solo show was held in 1960.

She, like other members Jim Dine, Allan Kaprow, Claes Oldenberg, and Robert Whitman, were pushing at the boundaries and definitions of sculpture, painting, and art-making through Happenings and experimental objects. Edelheit exhibited her “extension” paintings which break the frame of the work and utilize utilitarian objects. Her second solo show, in 1961, was held at another significant nucleus of experimental art, the Judson Gallery.



Martha Edelheit

b. New York, NY, 1931


EDUCATION

1956 B.S., Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY

1955-56 School of General Studies, Columbia University, New York, NY

1954 New York University, New York, NY

1954-56 Michael Loew (Studio Classes)

1949-51 University of Chicago, Chicago, IL


SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2018 Martha Edelheit Flesh Walls: Tales From the 60’s, Eric Firestone Gallery, New York, NY

2014 Artifcat Gallery, New York, NY

2009 Piteå Konsthall, Piteå, Sweden

2008 SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

2007 Villa Landes, Kimito, Finland

SARKA Museum, Loimaa, Finland

Galleria BE’19, Helsinki, Finland

2004 Galleria BE’19, Helsinki, Finland

Galleri Cupido, Stockholm, Sweden

2003 Konstpaus, Ekero, Sweden

2002 Galleri Strömbom, Uppsala, Sweden

2001 Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden

2000 Medborgarhuset, Smedstorp, Sweden

1999 Galleria BE’19, Helsinki, Finland

Galleri Hovet, Gamla Ishovet, Stockholm, Sweden

1998 Watterling Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden

1996 Galleria BE’19, Helsinki, Finland

1992 Galleria BE’19, Helsinki, Finland

1991 SOHO20 Gallery, New York, NY

Galleria BE’19, Helsinki, Finland

1988 SOHO20 Gallery, New York, NY

1987 Atelier 2000, Vienna, Austria

Galerie Carinthia, Klagenfurt, Austria

1986 SOHO20 Gallery, New York, NY

1984 Women’s Interart Center, New York, NY

A.I.R. Gallery, New York, NY

1982 Rutgers University, Douglass Library, NJ

1975 Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA

1974 Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL
1973 Artists Space, New York, NY

1966 Byron Gallery, New York, NY

1964 OK Harris, Provincetown, MA

1961 Judson Gallery, New York, NY

1960 Reuben Gallery, New York, NY


SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2020 Selected Works, February 1 - March 1, Eric Firestone Gallery, New York, 2020.

2019 What About The Human Figure?, Eric Firestone Gallery, New York, October 10 -December 14, 2019.

The Pleasure Principle, Maccarone, Los Angeles, September 21 - December 1, 2019

Go Figure! Curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody, Eric Firestone Gallery, East Hampton, NY

2018 Currents: Abortion, A.I.R. gallery, New York, NY

2017 Annual Exhibition, SOHO20, Brooklyn, NY

Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952-1965, Grey Gallery, New York University, New York, NY

2016 Annual Group Exhibition: Part 2, SOHO20, Brooklyn, NY

The Sister Chapel: An Essential Feminist Collaboration, Rowan University Art Gallery, Glassboro, NJ

2014 From the Other Side, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

2013 Relational Ground: Defying the Status Quo, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

2012 Art in Boxes 2012, AG Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Always/Never, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

2011 Folles d’Hiver, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

Cluster-A Group Exhibition: Object and Space (Alexis Duque, Martha Nilsson Edelheit, Peter Janssen), AG Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Groundbreaking: The Women of the Sylvia Sleigh Collection, Rowan University Art Gallery, Glassboro, NJ

2010 Between the Lines: Exhibition of SOHO20 Member Artists, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

2009 INPLACE: The Annual Exhibition of SOHO20 Artists, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

2006 Self Portraits, Ideas, Images, Structures, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

2005 FallOut, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

Small Works, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

2004 SELF_ISH, Kazuko Gallery, New York, NY

Member Artists Group Show, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

2003 Member Artists Group Show, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

2002 Member Artists Group Show, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

2001 Member Artists Group Show, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

2000 Member Artists Group Show, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

1999 Member Artists Group Show, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

1998 Member Artists Group Show, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY

1997 Konst Massan, Galleri BE’19, Sollentuna, Sweden

1996 Helsinki Art Hall, Helsinki, Finland

1984 BLAM! Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

Artist Space, New York, NY

1979 The Sister Chapel, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY

1978 The Sister Chapel, P.S.1, Long Island City, New York

1975 Sons and Others, Queens Museum, Queens, NY

Three Centuries of the American Nude, New York Cultural Center, New York, NY

Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN

Campbell Gallery, University of Houston, TX

Works on Paper, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY

1973 Women Choose Women, NY Cultural Center, New York, NY

JB Cobb, Martha Edelheit, Ree Morton, Artists Space, New York, NY

Erotica Show, New School Art Center, New York, NY

1972 Humor, Satire, and Irony, New School Art Center, New York, NY

1965 Box Show, Byron Gallery, New York, NY

11 from the Reuben, Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY

1964 Figure Show, Byron Gallery, New York, NY

1961 New Forms, New Media, Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, NY


SELECTED WRITINGS

Martha Edelheit, “Georgia O’Keeffe: A Reminiscence,” Painters on Paintings, August 6, 2015, https://paintersonpaintings.com/martha-edelheit-on-georgia-okeeffe-a-reminiscence/

Martha Edelheit, “Georgia O’Keeffe: A Reminiscence,” Women Artists Newsletter 3, no. 6 (December 1977): 3, 8–9.

Martha Edelheit, “Some Thoughts about My Work and My Self,” in Art: A Woman’s Sensibility, ed. Miriam Schapiro (Valencia: California Institute of the Arts, Feminist Art Program, 1975): 19.

Martha Edelheit, “The Loves of Rosa Bonheur” (1976, unpublished), lecture presented at College Art Association, Chicago, IL, Jan. 1976; Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, MD, Oct. 1976; A.I.R. Gallery, New York, NY, Nov. 1976.


FILMS

“Hats, Bottles and Bones: A Portrait of Sari Dienes,” 1977, 16mm, 22 min.

“Sno-White Crimson,” 1974, 16mm, 7 min.

“The Albino Queen and Sno-White in Triplicate,” 1973, S8, 22 min.

“Camino Real,” 1973, 16mm, 3 min.


SELECTED FILM SCREENINGS

2019 “Hats, Bottles, & Bones,” We Will Pluck our Magic Twangers, Whitechapel Gallery, London

Maria Lassnig. Zum 100. Geburtstag Symposium und Filmprogramme, Filmmuseum and the Albertina, Vienna

2017 “Hats, Bottles & Bones,” Inventing Downtown: Lives of Artists, Part 2, Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York, NY

2016 “The Albino Queen and Sno-White in Triplicate,” Petzel Gallery, New York, NY

2015 “Hats, Bottles & Bones,” RARE, New York, NY

1981 “Hats, Bottles & Bones,” distributed and screened in the AFA program

(Shown regularly since its first screening in 1977)

1980 Anthology Film Archives

Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY

Museum of the City of New York, NY

1977 Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

Brooklyn Museum, New York, NY

International Culture Center, Vienna, Austria

1975 University of California, San Diego, CA

Portland Museum, OR

Rutgers University, NJ (solo show)

1974 Graz Museum, Graz, Austria

Museum of 20th Century, Vienna Austria


ART FAIRS

2020 Frieze Art Fair, New York, NY

2020 The Armory Show, New York, NY

2019 Upstairs Art Fair, Amagansett, NY

2018 The Tattoo art show at the Art Fair in Munich


EXHIBITION CATALOGUES

Martha Nilsson Edelheit: Erotic Circus, Artifact Gallery, New York, NY, 2014

Essay: Rachel Middleman

Martha Nilsson Edelheit, Konsthallen Piteå, Sweden, 2009

Essays: “Grannens flock med Gotlandsår” by Christian Chambert and “Martha Nilsson Edelheit in Sweden” by Andrew D. Hottle

Martha Nilsson Edelheit, Galleria BE’19, Helsinki, Finland, 2007

Essay: “Martha Nilsson Edelheit’s Vibrant Pastures” by Andrew D. Hottle

Martha Nilsson Edelheit, Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm, 2000

Essay: Sara Lidman

Martha Nilsson Edelheit, Galleria BE’19, Helsinki, Finland, 1999

Essay: Bengt af Klintberg

Martha Nilsson Edelheit: Paintings and Drawings, 1988–1998, Heland Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm, 1998

Martha Nilsson Edelheit, Galleria BE’19, Helsinki, Finland, 1996

Essay: “Between Heaven and Earth: About Weightlessness in Martha Edelheit’s Pictorial World” by Ragnar von Holten

Martha Ross Edelheit: String Masks and Paintings, Galleria BE’19, Helsinki, Finland, 1996

Essay: “Masks of Beauty and Despair” by Leena-Maija Rossi


SELECTED BIOBLIOGRAPHY

Martha Edelheit, Eric Firestone Gallery, Tales From The 60s, Melissa Rachleff-Burtt 2018

Middleman, Rachel, Amelia Jones, Andrea Jahn, and Richard Meyer, In the Cut: The Male Body in Feminist Art (Bielefeld, Germany: Kerber, 2019)

Saltz, Jerry, “See Martha Edelheit: Flesh Walls: Tales from the 60’s” New York Magazine (Vulture), November 7, 2018

Middleman, Rachel, Radical Eroticism: Women, Art, and Sex in the 1960s (Oakland, California: University of California Press, 2018)

Krasinski, Jennifer, “Exploring New York’s Century Boom of Artist-Run Galleries,” Village Voice, February 28, 2017, https://www.villagevoice.com/2017/02/28/exploring-new-yorks-midcentury-boom-of-artist-run-galleries/ MARTHA NI

Gopnik, Blake, “Martha Edelheit, Another Postwar Talent Left Out of Art History’s Storyline,” Opinion, Artnet News, February 1, 2017, https://news.artnet.com/opinion/martha-edelheitgrey-gallery-840995

Budick, Ariella, “When Artists Ruled: The Fearless Spirit of 1950s and 60s New York,” Financial Times, Visual Arts, January 13, 2017, https://www.ft.com/content/0de70c44-d750-11e6-944be7eb37a6aa8e

Cotter, Holland, “When Artists Ran the Show: ‘Inventing Downtown,’ at N.Y.U., New York Times, January 12, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/arts/design/when-artists-ranthe-show-inventing-downtown-at-nyu.html

Rachleff, Melissa, Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965 (New York: Grey Art Gallery, New York University, 2017).

Hottle, Andrew D., The Art of the Sister Chapel: Exemplary Women, Visionary Creators, and Feminist Collaboration (Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2014).

Middleman, Rachel, “A Feminist Avant-Garde: Martha Edelheit’s ‘Erotic Art’ in the 1960s, Konsthistorisk tijdskrift/Journal of Art History (2014): 1–19.

Kozloff, Joyce, “Maria Lassnig in New York, 1968–1980,” Hyperallergic, November 8, 2014.

Levin, Gail, “Censorship, Politics and Sexual Imagery in the Work of Jewish-American Feminist Artists,” Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies & Gender Issues 14 (Fall 2007): 63–96.

Meyer, Richard, “Hard Targets: Male Bodies, Feminist Art, and the Force of Censorship in the 1970s,” in WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, ed. Lisa Gabrielle Mark (Los Angeles: The Museum of Contemporary Art, 2007), 362–383.

Arbeiter, Joan, “Chance and Change in the Art of Sari Dienes,” Woman’s Art Journal 7, no. 2 (Autumn 1986–Winter 1987): 27–31.

Glueck, Grace, “Artist and Model: Why a Rich Tradition Endures,” New York Times, June 8, 1986.

Haskell, Barbara and John G. Hanhardt, Blam! The Explosion of Pop, Minimalism, and Performance, 1958–1964 (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1984).

Golden, Eunice and Kay Kenny, “Sexuality in Art: Two Decades from a Feminist Perspective,” Woman’s Art Journal 3, no. 1 (Spring–Summer 1982): 14–15.

Semmel, Joan and April Kingsley, “Sexual Imagery in Women’s Art,” Woman’s Art Journal 1, no. 1 (Spring–Summer 1980): 1–6.

Langer, Sandra L., “The Sister Chapel: Towards a Feminist Iconography, with Commentary by Ilise Greenstein,” Southern Quarterly 17, no. 2 (Winter 1979): 28–41.

Stein, Judith E., “Women Artists ’78,” Art Journal 37, no. 4 (Summer 1978): 332–333.

Orenstein, Gloria Feman, “The Sister Chapel: A Traveling Homage to Heroines,” Womanart 1, no. 3 (Winter/Spring 1977): 12–21.

Brodsky, Judith K., “Notes from the Women’s Caucus for Art,” Art Journal 35, no. 4 (Summer 1976): 396–398.

Lukk, Tiiu, “Profiles,” Super-8 Filmmaker 3, no. 5 (October 1975): 46.

Crawford, Lynda, “Sitting on Botticelli’s Face,” Bitch 1, no. 2 (March 1974): 8–9, 23.

Frank, Peter, “On Art,” Soho Weekly News, December 13, 1973.

Holder, Maryse, “Another Cuntree: At Last, a Mainstream Female Art Movement,” Off Our Backs 3, no. 10 (September 1973): 11–17.

Kuspit, Donald B., et al., “The 61st Annual Meeting of the College Art Association of America,” Art Journal 32, no. 3 (Spring 1973): 271–283.

Mayer, Rosemary, “Martha Edelheit,” Reviews: New York, Arts Magazine 47, no. 6 (April 1973): 75.

Gollin, Jane, “Martha Edelheit,” Reviews and Previews, Art News 65, no. 4 (April 1966): 15.

Feller, Colta, “Martha Edelheit,” In the Galleries, Arts Magazines 40, no. 10 (June 1966): 49.


AWARDS

1984 2nd Prize, Juried Invitational, Lehigh University, Bethelhem, PA

1978-86 NYSCA Grant, The New York State Vouncil on the Arts, New York, NY

1974-77 NYSCA and NEA Matching Grants, The New York State Council on the Arts, New York, NY and the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, D.C.


SELECTED PUBLIC COLLECTION

New York Public Library, New York, NY

Piteå Commune, Piteå, Sweden

Rowan University Art Gallery, Glassboro, NJ

Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN


TEACHING

1980 Montclair State College, Montclair, NJ (Guest Lecturer – Film)

1977 New School, New York, NY (Guest Lecturer – Film)

1976 Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL (Artist in Residence)

1975 University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH (Artist in Residence)

Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA (Artist in Residence)

1973 California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA (Visiting Artist)