8 November – 23 December 2023

New York, Wooster Street

We are honored to inaugurate our new space on Wooster Street in New York City’s historic SoHo-Cast Iron District with ‘The Three Josephines,’ an exhibition of exceptional new and recent works by celebrated Paris-based American artist, novelist and poet Barbara Chase-Riboud (b. 1939, Philadelphia). Internationally admired as one of the most visionary and innovative creators of her generation, Chase-Riboud presents sculptures and works on paper in her first exhibition with Hauser & Wirth.

Explore the exhibition

‘The Three Josephines’ follows the landmark exhibition ‘The Encounter: Barbara Chase-Riboud/ Alberto Giacometti’ at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York. The exhibition paired the work of two pioneering artists whose breakthroughs expanded the language of modern sculpture.

At the center of ‘The Three Josephines’ are three bronze sculptures that pay tribute to the legendary performer, civil rights activist and World War II secret agent Josephine Baker (1905–1975), only the fifth woman in history––and the first Black woman ever––to be inducted into the French Panthéon, the national tomb of heroes. Monumental in impact, balancing power and seduction, these sculptures are the latest works from Chase-Riboud’s ongoing ‘La Musica’ series, which explores music, movement and stillness through bold juxtapositions of materials and forms. Rising two meters tall, each of the three patinated bronze sculptures stands upon its own stage-like platform and combines hard folds of metal with sumptuous textiles. With thick coils of silk spilling down to the floor from their apices, these decidedly abstract sculptures nevertheless conjure inevitable associations with the famously sinuous limbs of their namesake––meditations upon sensuality, creativity and the effects of living in a spotlight.

Surrounding these earthly deities, Chase-Riboud presents a special selection of delicate all-white works on paper. Achieved through a technique the artist has developed and perfected over the past five decades, these amalgams of sculptural relief and drawing are made by piercing silk thread through Arches paper. Evoking both the cursive lines of handwriting and figurative structure of hieroglyphics, they are formally and conceptually linked to Chase-Riboud’s automatic writings and poems. Each of the fourteen works carries a narrative title such as ‘If what was written no longer remains’ and ‘My last word to you is folded lengthwise and knotted.’

An award-winning poet and novelist, as well as a renowned visual artist, Chase-Riboud weaves her inspirations, ideas and technical prowess from one medium to the other, viewing them all as inseparable. Poetry, she once said, is ‘very close to a discipline both familiar and dear to me: drawing. Both are dangerous searches for perfection... drawings prepared me for the demands of poetry.’

On view at New York, Wooster Street

‘BARBARA CHASE-RIBOUD. THE THREE JOSEPHINES’ is on view now through 23 January 2024 at Hauser & Wirth New York, Wooster Street. Please visit our location page to plan your visit.

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About the Artist

Barbara Chase-Riboud

Over the course of her seven-decade career, Chase-Riboud has created a revolutionary body of work which is defined equally by its inventiveness, technical prowess and fearless engagement with transcultural histories.

Current Exhibitions