Professor Aliza Nisenbaum's Work in Tate Liverpool Exhibition

BY Amanda Breen, December 14, 2020

Assistant Professor Aliza Nisenbaum’s paintings will be exhibited at Tate Liverpool in conjunction with a virtual event.


Known for her vivid, large-scale portraits of people and community groups, Nisenbaum’s latest paintings capture the faces of some of Liverpool’s most essential workers: the NHS staff from Merseyside who have unwaveringly served their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Nisenbaum’s work illuminates the stories of these critical NHS workers, demonstrating how the pandemic has affected their jobs and home lives. Subjects of the portraits include a Professor of Outbreak Medicine, a respiratory doctor who became a father during COVID-19’s initial wave, and a student nurse who comes from a family of nurses, all of whom elected to return to frontline practice. 


According to Tate, “Throughout August, Nisenbaum got to know the selected NHS staff, talking to them via video link from her studio in the US. She uses these conversations to include elements of their personality and interests within her paintings. They are shown alongside things that have given them support and hope through this difficult time, such as pets or musical instruments.”

Two new large-scale group portraits and eleven individual portraits will be on display. Several films will accompany the paintings. One of the films documents the artist’s production of the NHS staff portraits as well as other recent work, including the painting London Underground: Brixton Station and Victoria Line 2019, Nisenbaum’s largest piece to date. 


On December 15, the Tate’s social media channels will feature the related films, which also include interviews with Nisenbaum and with four of the subjects of her portraits. 


Nisenbaum’s work has been exhibited in solo shows at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, T-293 Gallery, Mary Mary, Glasgow; White Columns, New York; Lulu, Mexico City; Julius Caesar, Chicago; and Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago. Her national and international group shows include the Whitney Biennial 2017; Biennial of the Americas, MCA, Denver; the Rufino Tamayo Painting Biennial, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City; T-293 gallery, Rome; Hannah Hoffman Gallery LA; Gallerie Nachst St. Stephen Rosemary Shwartzwalder, Austria; Wilkinson Gallery, London; and Slopes Gallery, Melbourne, Australia, among others. 


Nisenbaum has been a resident at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; Artist-in-Residence at the University of Tennessee; and SOMA Summer, Mexico City. She has received the Rema Hort Mann NYC Award and the Fellowship for Immigrant Women Leaders from NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA). Additionally, she has been a participating artist at Immigrant Movement International, Corona Park, Queens.

Aliza Nisenbaum – Painting the NHS | Tate