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Olivia Beens, “The Olympiad”, 2017. Glazed ceramic, paint, gold leaf, railroad spikes. 17 x 11 x 11 in.

From January 9 through February 4, 2020, El Barrio’s Artspace PS109 is pleased to present The Storyteller: Olivia Beens Through the Decades. Spanning two floors of a neo-Gothic former schoolhouse in East Harlem, the career retrospective traces the multifaceted development of the artist’s oeuvre, which spans across media and employs a broad-ranging use of materials and techniques.

Olivia Beens (b. 1948) is a New York-based Dutch-American artist whose work is helixed around the sacred and profane. Buoyed by questions of identity, spirituality, and feminism, her lyrical sculptures, potent wall reliefs, and dynamic performances interrogate the liminal self while encapsulating ideas of physical and psychic transformation. From her ephemeral installations and performances of the 1980s to the assemblages and clay works that have defined her practice for the last three decades, Beens has consistently explored the intersections of body and memory as they relate to global art histories, mysticism, gender, urbanism, and ecology.

Beens has presented work in numerous spaces in New York, including performances and exhibitions at The Kitchen, Performance Space 122, Artists Space, A.I.R. Gallery, and Abrons Arts Center, among others. Beens’ contributions to the artist collective Colab (Collaborative Projects, Inc.) have also been exhibited and collected by The Museum of Modern Art and the New Museum.

For more information, visit the artist’s website at You can also follow Olivia on Facebook or Instagram @beensolivia.

Please note: The exhibition will be on partial view from  January 24–26.