Cary Leibowitz ("Candy Ass"), ‘Modern Art 5 Cents’, 1995, Contemporary Jewish Museum

About Cary Leibowitz ("Candy Ass")

Since his emergence in the 1990s (when he went by the moniker “Candy Ass”), Cary Leibowitz has styled himself as a self-loathing, reluctant artist. Through this cleverly crafted persona, he critiques the pretentiousness of the art world and the commodification of art. He also foregrounds his gay and Jewish identity, exploring how it places him outside of mainstream American society. His work—which encompasses prints, paintings, sculpture, and installation—is full of humor and pathos. He often incorporates such everyday items as mugs and knitted caps into his pieces, altering them with pointed text and arranging them into unlikely forms. In Stop Copying Me (2001), for example, he presented a row of identical paintings, each one reading, “Stop copying me,” except for the two in the middle, which interrupted with, “Do these pants make me look Jewish?”

American, b. 1963, based in New York, NY, United States