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Beth Rudin DeWoody's The Bunker: Highlights from the 2022-2023 Installation

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

Co-curated by Laura Dvorkin and Maynard Monrow, Beth Rudin DeWoody's collection at the Bunker continues to offer a thoroughly immersive experience in risk-taking, perspective regeneration, social justice, and the wholehearted encouragement of fun in contemporary art.


View of the East Gallery at The Bunker, 2022
View of the East Gallery at The Bunker, 2022

Immediately upon entering the East Gallery of The Bunker, the converted toy factory in West Palm Beach that houses DeWoody's trailblazing art collection, we encounter a small drawing by Benny Andrews from 1967. The drawing is well placed, providing the perfect introduction to the story of DeWoody's approach to collecting. The Andrews work is her first-ever acquisition, purchased after having taken his art class in the 1970s. Inspired by a love of art-making, her interest intensified to a life-long commitment to supporting burgeoning talent as she began visiting artist studios with Andrews and ultimately building one of the strongest and most daring collections of contemporary art.


Maynard Monrow hosting our Artscope: Palm Beach private tour, 2022
Maynard Monrow hosting our Artscope: Palm Beach private tour, 2022

Andrews's own practice within figurative socio-economic and political commentary would exemplify the type of work that DeWoody would go on to collect and artists she would support for decades to come, consistently at the cutting edge of great contemporary art but also of activism, innovative thinking and unique, but often suppressed, points of view. At The Bunker, co-curators Laura Dvorkin and Maynard Monrow harness the wildly boundary-pushing spirit of DeWoody's creative force and re-installs the collection on yearly basis, engineering new channels through which to communicate and educate a curious audience. Their approach to curating pays homage to DeWoody's discerning eye, showcases the genius of the work itself, and reinforces the power of his own creative hand. It is awe-inspiring, deeply emotional and boundless fun in equal measure.


This year, Dvorkin and Monrow were joined by Anne Pasternak and Thelma Golden to join forces in yet another groundbreaking regeneration of a collection that is responsible for shaping the contemporary art landscape so significantly. In December, as part of Artscope's Palm Beach programme, we had the privilege of a private tour led by Monrow himself, and we have done our very best to share a few highlight works that we feel best communicate the power of this year's curation.


Kehinde Wiley, Passing/Posing #10, 2002
Kehinde Wiley, Passing/Posing #10, 2002

1. Kehinde Wiley, Passing/Posing #10, 2002


An exemplary Wiley canvas, Beth Rudin DeWoody helped fund the artist's studio space before he began to gain significant recognition. This type of gesture is another admirable example of the support DeWoody offers to artists she believes in, and often meant the difference between an artist's persistence and the financial incapacity to continue practicing.


Mark Bradford, Practice (ED. 5/5), 2003
Mark Bradford, Practice (ED. 5/5), 2003

2. Mark Bradford, Practice (ED. 5/5), 2003


This video of the artist playing basketball is an early example of Bradford's practice, highlighting DeWoody's capacity to spot talent early on. The artist was a classmate of Maynard Monrow at Cal Arts.


Kennedy Yanko, Tidying My Wrath, 2021
Kennedy Yanko, Tidying My Wrath, 2021

3. Kennedy Yanko, Tidying my Wrath, 2021


Yanko pushes the boundaries of materiality in her sculpture, expertly moulding dried paint around crumpled metal debris. Her careful focus on draping the paint and purposefully engaging it with the metal brings the whole entity to life.


Simone Leigh, Untitled (Cowrie), 2013
Simone Leigh, Untitled (Cowrie), 2013

4. Simone Leigh, Untitled (Cowrie), 2013


Another example of embracing early work, this clay shell is from a series of cowrie works that preoccupied the artist in the 2010's. The cowrie shell darkly represents a currency with which Africans traded other Africans into slavery, reflecting on oceanic traumatic memory and abandoned identity. But the anthropomorphic qualities of the shape and crevices resembling the body, as well as a glazed and delicate materiality and beautiful, natural pattern asserts the complicated nature of such a symbol, asking the viewer to consider such nuanced perspectives.


Felix Baudry, Untitled, 2002
Felix Baudry, Untitled, 2002

5. Felix Baudry, Untitled, 2002


A quietly beautiful work in machine-knit and foam, Beaudry's Untitled is perfectly displayed about chest height on its plinth, providing a a delicate and intimate access to the soulful being.


Faig Ahmed, Virgin 1/3, 2016
Faig Ahmed, Virgin 1/3, 2016

6. Faig Ahmed, Virgin 1/3, 2016


This handmade wooden carpet commands a serious presence in scope and in its detail. The weave has been carefully unpicked halfway, surfacing themes of materiality, production, labour and temporality.


Nan Goldin, Joana Topless at the Chateau le Baston, 2000
Nan Goldin, Joana Topless at the Chateau le Baston, 2000

7. Nan Goldin, Joana Topless at the Chateau le Baston, 2000


Part of the (No) Smoking curatorial display, Joana Topless at the Chateau Le Baston is a quintessential example of Goldin's preoccupation with sexuality, intimacy and vulnerability. The cigarette, the basis for the selection of the work in this part of the display, seems to only reinforce Joana's loving gaze, as she is disarmed and seems to forget about what she is holding.


View of the small works display and Jackie Rines, LEGGS, 2021
View of the small works display and Jackie Rines, LEGGS, 2021

8. Jackie Rines, LEGGS, 2021


In a utterly unique and playful creative decision, Dvorkin and Monrow selected small works from DeWoody's collection, each averaging not much more than 6 inches high. The works run the parameter of the room, and in the middle two Missoni stockinged legs anchor the space in a hilarious game of opposites attract.


A selection of Christmas works at The Bunker, including the Mapplethorpe, top right
A selection of Christmas works at The Bunker, including the Mapplethorpe, top right

9. Robert Mapplethorpe's Christmas Tree drawing


In The Christmas Room, the traditional take on decoration is flipped upside down and turned inside out with wonderfully wacky regenerations of ornaments, wrapping paper and Christmas cards. But one corner features a selection of small works that are delicately simple, reflecting a palpable, loving and intimate spirit. And sure enough, the small drawing of a tiny Christmas tree to the top right was in fact a personal gift to DeWoody from its artist, Robert Mapplethorpe.


For more information, please visit The Bunker, or email kate@artscopeintl.com.


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