The painted visions of Renate Druks––haunted, still, beautiful––emerge from a remarkable life traversing the margins of the cultural underground. She was born in Vienna in 1921, and studied art at the Vienna Art Academy for Women. After emigrating to the United States in 1940 with family, she continued her arts education at the Art Students League.
Cats with wide, mesmeric eyes stare out from canvases. Beside them, women recline languorously in states of undress. These are the peculiar, bewitching visions of Renate Druks, an obscure Viennese artist who lived in and worked in Los Angeles during the middle of the last century. During her lifetime, Druks was an intimate friend of the writer Anaïs Nin, painter Marjorie Cameron, and filmmaker Kenneth Anger, and was better known as a creative muse than for her own work.
While witchcraft is often seen as women’s territory, All of Them Witches features works from artists across the gender and non-binary spectrum whose art is thought to be characterised by a “witchy sensibility”. Combining painting, sculpture, videos, and photographs, the showcase turns the spotlight on personalities such as Ana Mendieta, Ariana Papademetropoulos, Lyle Ashton Harris, Marilyn Minter, and Breyer P-Orridge. Below, we talk to Dan Nadel and Laurie Simmons, curators of the exhibition, about those who inspired the showcase, the supernatural, and its relevance for the contemporary art scenario.
Please Kill Me