Kass first sketched DON’T STOP immediately after watching the finale of The Sopranos. Tony picks Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” on the jukebox as a possible assassin in a Members Only jacket walks out of the bathroom towards him, à la Michael Corleone in The Godfather. Kass knows, of course, the words are also in Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” and countless other pop songs. Yet, it wasn’t until the Trump era that she actually felt compelled to make these enlarged, neon versions of the piece. The phrase was something of a mantra to herself, about not giving up DESPITE the overwhelming tragedy that is the Trump presidency.
This painting is part of Deb Kass' No Kidding series (2015—Present). One of the defining elements of this series is the incorporation of neon into the paintings. Kass' latest body of work, No Kidding deploys the aesthetic formalism of Post War abstraction, as did her feel good paintings for feel bad times. But now the mood has changed. The palette has shifted to dark colors and the surfaces of the paintings are worn and washed out. Seemingly positive lyrical phrases such as "Happy Days Are here Again' and "We'll Be Young Forever" contrast with a sense that everything is not alright. The colors and text in the works reference issues like women's health, climate change and institutional racism. Among the most potent pieces in the series use the words and colors Black and Blue alluding to, among other things, police violence against people of color.
Artist Studio, NYC Kavi Gupta, Chicago
Felix Art Fair, Los Angeles, 2020 Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami, 2019 Deborah Kass: Painting and Sculpture, Kavi Gupta, 2020