Best of 2017: Our Top 20 Exhibitions Across the United States —

Hyperallergic , 12.21.2017

At Kavi Gupta gallery in Chicago, a retrospective paired Roger Brown: Estate Paintings, a selection of paintings and sculptures by the seminal Imagist artist, with Collecting came quite natural for me, a series of recreated assemblages of objects in Brown’s personal collections from his home in La Conchita, California. Brown was a voracious collector of outsider art and cultural ephemera, and the eclectic tableaux on the second floor at Kavi Gupta illuminated his playful and cartoony paintings on the first. That Brown chose to surround himself with such a mix of objects suggests that he acknowledged “fine” and “folk” art as belonging to the same whole. He further flattened the usual distinctions by creating “collaborative” compositions, in which his own paintings served as backgrounds for sets of found ceramics. The exhibitions at Kavi Gupta offered not only a compelling survey of that work, but an opportunity for visitors to examine their own prejudices regarding artistic authorship. —SRS