EUNICE GOLDEN, “Cronus,” oil on canvas, 1968

Duane Thomas Gallery is delighted to announce its upcoming survey exhibition of Eunice Golden this spring in Tribeca that will open on May 17th 2024 with a reception 6/8 pm. The artist, who recently celebrated her 97th birthday, will be exhibiting for the first time with the gallery. The survey will focus on works created between 1968 and
1980, a period during which Golden concentrated on male nude imagery.
In an essay titled “The Male Nude in Women’s Art,” Golden expressed, “For centuries, men have been obsessed with women as objects: objects of necessity, of status, of desire. Men have invested themselves intellectually and emotionally in exploring and clarifying their own problems through the vehicle of the female body. More than that, they have, through the language of art, saturated our culture with female images based on the concept of male supremacy and female submission, of male power and female vulnerability – in short, on ways of seeing rooted in male experience, male institutions, and male values.”
Navigating her career in the 1960s, amidst a sexual revolution once perceived as liberation for women, Golden was astonished to encounter resistance to her subject matter. In depicting male friends, often fellow artists, she found that “art that celebrates as well as explores women’s sexuality through the use of the male image is so
revolutionary and carries such a powerful threat that it has provoked considerable suppression from the male establishment.”
Golden became a member of the Ad Hoc Committee for Women Artists and Women in the Arts in the early 1970s. Lucy Lippard championed her work and featured full-page reproductions of her paintings in several essay collections, notably “From The Center: Feminist Essays on Women’s Art.”
While acknowledging the argument of “central core” imagery aimed at reclaiming a purely feminine stance and space, Golden aimed to push boundaries further, using the male body to “attack the powerful historical bias against the male nude as a vehicle for women artists.”
As a result, Golden may have been among the first female artists in America, alongside figures like Alice Neel, Joan Semmel, and Sylvia Sleigh, to depict the male body erotically.
In our exhibition, early works from the 1960s, such as “Cronus” (1969), demonstrate the artist’s bold and masterful exploration of complex imagery: a headless male adopts a typical macho stance, holding his genitals and exposing what may also be perceived as vulnerability. “Metamorphosis #12” from 1973 presents a totemic representation of a
human body, combining hair and various anatomical parts, reminiscent of Louise Bourgeois’s work as a composite of male and female body parts.

Another focal point of our presentation is a series of works created between 1979 and 1980, which the artist titles “Landscapes.” These large-scale works, painted with acrylic in vibrant and rich hues, depict reclining male nudes. Color areas are defined with hard edges, resembling a map’s configuration. The male figure is present but serves merely as a motif; even the genitals are abstracted, reminiscent of floral shapes. The viewer is both “jolted and lured into participating in the seduction.” Golden encapsulated the complexities of her project when she wrote, “I see that I am the product of a male- oriented culture. This is a double bind for me because I also have erotic fantasies and needs. My male landscape reflects this dichotomy of power and vulnerability.”
Eunice Golden (b.1927 in New York) studied art at SUNY Empire State College in NYC and Brooklyn College. Since the 1960s, Golden has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including at the Guild Hall Museum/East Hampton, Brooklyn Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.