The Phillips Collects: Julia Wachtel

Curatorial Assistant Camille Brown on Julia Wachtel’s Rabbit Hole, which was recently acquired by The Phillips Collection.

Bold color palettes, pop culture references, and unusual juxtapositions characterize much of the work of Julia Wachtel (b. 1956, New York, New York; lives in Connecticut). Utilizing painting, collage, video, and mixed-media installation, Wachtel investigates the ways in which mass-produced media filters through and effects both the individual and culture at large. Wachtel responds to contemporary life through her work and Rabbit Hole, painted in 2020, was likely created in response to the chaos, discord, and uncertainty that characterized that year. In the painting, an unknown cartoon character plunges their head into the ground. Is this an escape or, perhaps, an act of discovery?

Julia Wachtel, Rabbit Hole, 2020, Oil on wood, 40 x 46 in., The Phillips Collection, The Hereward Lester Cooke Memorial Fund, 2021

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