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Nicola Tyson - Artists - Petzel Gallery

Nicola Tyson (b. 1960, London, England)

Nicola Tyson was born in 1960 in London, England. She attended Chelsea School of Art, St. Martins School of Art and Central/St. Martins School of Art in London and currently lives and works in upstate New York.

Primarily known as a painter, Tyson has also worked with photography, film, performance and the written word. In 2023, Nicola Tyson: Selected Painitngs 1993-2022 was published. In 2011, Tyson released the limited-edition book Dead Letter Men, which is a collection of satirical letters addressing famous male artists. Her unique archive of color photos documenting the London club scene of the late 1970’s — Bowie Nights at Billy’s Club — was the subject of shows, both in New York and London, in 2012 and 2013.

Tyson has mounted solo shows at Petzel Gallery, New York (2024); Sadie Coles HQ, London (2021); The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis (2017); The Drawing Room, London (2017); Nathalia Obadia, Paris (2015); Susanne Vielmetter Gallery, Los Angeles (2014); White Columns, New York (2012), among others.

She has participated in group exhibitions at White Cube, Paris (2023); Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles (2023); The Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth, Fort Worth (2022); Capitain Petzel, Berlin (2022); Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (2021); The Drawing Room, London (2021); The Drawing Center, New York (2020); Susanne Vielmetter Gallery, Los Angeles (2019); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2018); Skarstedt, New York (2016); Neue Galerie Graz, Austria (2015), and Wexner Center for the Arts (2013), among others.

Tyson’s work is included in major collections such as Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and Tate Modern, London.

“Initially, feminist concerns — and theory — were my drivers. I worked conceptually, for a while, after graduating. I even ran a women-only project space in the early ‘90s, from my SoHo studio loft. I then literally shut the door on all that and turned within to work completely intuitively. I had found my voice — which I felt was a feminist achieve- ment in itself — and no longer wanted my imagination to be structured by theory.”

Alex John Beck, “Discovery Beings with Drawing,” Upstate Diary, April 2020

Career Highlights

Nicola Tyson - Artists - Petzel Gallery

Installation view, Nicola Tyson, Kunsthalle Zürich, 1998

1960 Born London, England

1978 While studying at Central St. Martins, Tyson documents the burgeoning New Romantic club scene at Billy’s Club, Soho, London. The photos are in color and depict a gender-fluid, soon to be famous youth, inclusive of Boy George, Steve Strange and Siouxie Sioux

1990 Moves to New York City

1992 Co-founds Trial Balloon, an art- ist-run, women-only exhibition space in Soho, NYC. The space launched careers of queer female artists including Nicole Eisenman and Lutz Bacher, among others

1995 Premiere exhibition with Petzel, New York

1998 Survey exhibition of paintings and drawings Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland

1999 Premiere exhibition with Sadie Coles HQ, London


Nicola Tyson - Artists - Petzel Gallery

Installation view, Nicola Tyson, Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, 2017

2005 Survey new works at Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin

2012 Bowie Nights At Billy’s Club, London, 1978 exhibition at White Columns, New York

2013 Publishes Dead Letter Men: a collection of satirical essays to dead artists like Picasso and Manet, which question and provoke a gendered version of art history

2017 Exhibition of new drawings Beyond the Trace, Drawing Room, London

Survey exhibition at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

Tyson premieres figurative wooden sculptures in SomeBodies, Petzel

2020 Sense of Self exhibition at Petzel

2021 Holding Pattern exhibtion at Sadie Coles HQ, London

2022 Nicola Tyson: A Bit Touched exhibition at Nino Mier Gallery, Brussels

2024 90s Paintings exhibtion at Petzel