Solo exhibitions from Irish artist Patrick Hennessy and Italian artist Carol Rama opened today at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). Born in the same decade both were neglected by the official art circles of their time. One a realist painter the other not faithful to any particular movement Hennessy and Rama explore human sexuality, gender and identity while challenging the political and social culture of their time.
Patrick Hennessy De Profundis is the first major exhibition of his work since 1981. Re-examining and repositioning Hennessy’s work as part of the IMMA Modern Irish Masters Series this exhibition reflects on what Hennessy’s work might mean to audiences today. At a time when gay men were subject to social and legal persecution for the simple fact of their sexual orientation, Hennessy and his lifelong partner Henry Robertson-Craig bravely chose to exhibit works that clearly marked them as homosexual. They have almost no peers in Irish art, but Hennessy’s late work demonstrates an engagement with the emerging international queer-art movement of the 1970s. The Hennessy show runs to July 24.
The Passion According to Carol Rama is an exhibition of almost 200 works – the largest exhibition of the artist’s work to date. It comes to Dublin following exhibitions in MACBA, Barcelona, Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, and EMMA, Finland. Ignored for decades by official art history, Carol Rama is now recognised as essential for understanding developments within contemporary art. Her influence can be seen in the work of a later generation of artists such as Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, Sue Williams, Kiki Smith and Elly Strik. Rama was belatedly recognised in 2003, receiving the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, one of the most prestigious international art exhibitions. Divided into four thematic sections this exhibition is a guide through Rama’s many creative moments. This exhibition runs to August 1.