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Karen Heagle

American, b. 1967

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Karen Heagle

American, b. 1967

Biography

Karen Heagle’s works explore themes of sexuality and mass consumption through parodies of traditions in painting. Heagle was inspired in part by her research in 17th-century Dutch and Flemish genre and still life painting, particularly the moralizing thrust of memento mori and vanitas works. While her works feature many of the same household props, she also includes objects that serve as allegories of masculine vanity, like peacocks, knights’ armor, and taxidermy animals. In other works, she addresses the allure and peril of consumer culture by conflating images of death, eroticism, and the contemporary economic mood. “My goal is to comment on contemporary culture,” Heagle writes, “[and revise] women’s place in culture, as both strong and sexual.”

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Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Biography

Karen Heagle’s works explore themes of sexuality and mass consumption through parodies of traditions in painting. Heagle was inspired in part by her research in 17th-century Dutch and Flemish genre and still life painting, particularly the moralizing thrust of memento mori and vanitas works. While her works feature many of the same household props, she also includes objects that serve as allegories of masculine vanity, like peacocks, knights’ armor, and taxidermy animals. In other works, she addresses the allure and peril of consumer culture by conflating images of death, eroticism, and the contemporary economic mood. “My goal is to comment on contemporary culture,” Heagle writes, “[and revise] women’s place in culture, as both strong and sexual.”

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
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