Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Tatiana E. Flores, Gabriel Ritter.
This first major monograph on the Mexican-born, Brooklyn-based painter Aliza Nisenbaum (born 1977) offers an overview of her work from the past decade. With a refined sense of political and social context, Nisenbaum creates colorful portraits of socially and politically underrepresented groups. For example, she portrayed undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America, whom she first met while teaching English in the US. Her approach entails very personal explorations of her subjects: she visits them at home, meets their families and cooks for them, and this close relationship—a collaboration between painter and model—results in paintings whose unusual intimacy and expressive power are captivating. “It’s something very vulnerable,” Nisenbaum says. “There has to be mutual trust. It can’t happen if they’re closed off, nervous, or shy.” Nisenbaum’s paintings were featured in the 2017 Whitney Biennial.