Kavi Gupta is proud to be participating in the 2021 editions of both Frieze London and Frieze Masters. For Frieze London, we will present a selection of new and historically important works by Young-Il Ahn (1934—2020); Inka Essenhigh; Beverly Fishman; Jeffrey Gibson; Deborah Kass; James Little; Manuel Mathieu; Tomokazu Matsuyama; Esmaa Mohamoud; Kour Pour; Clare Rojas; and Mary Sibande. Browse works by these artists below.
At Frieze Masters, we will present a solo presentation of the work of Roger Brown (1941–1997).
About Roger Brown
Late-capitalist critic, 20th century Shakespeare, Pictorial Prophet of the Prairie: Brown summarized, glamorized, and satirized the nightly preoccupations and daily desires that define what it means to be an American.
More succinctly than any other artist of his generation, Brown captured both the tenderness and the hubris of his home nation, even as that same nation seemed unwilling to create a safe space for him to be truly free.
As a gay man born in the Deep South, Brown had a crystal clear understanding of otherism, and of the insidious reach of American puritanism and political hypocrisy. When he was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1988, he joined the tens of millions of other victims of humanity’s other ongoing pandemic who even now are often a target for scorn and shame.
Yet, while informed brilliantly by his personal history and identity, Brown’s oeuvre was anything but one sided. His work took on every topic of conceivable interest to the proto-”woke” of his time. His imagist interests spanned from Broadway to the Midwestern cornfields; from ancient architecture to future wars; from the mean streets of Hollywood to the winding roads of remote villages.
Ironically, even Brown’s idiosyncratic artistic position set him up for criticism. Rooted in classical figuration and illustration, his paintings suggest a fairytale aesthetic—a clear visual outlier during a time when the art field was dominated by conceptualism, experientialism, and suspicion of the artist-made object.
Despite Brown’s outsider status, he grew to be regarded by many as a modern master before his death in 1997 from complications related to AIDS. He possessed the highest credentials, earning both his BFA and MFA from the renowned School of the Art Institute of Chicago. And his work has been exhibited and collected by dozens of the most influential institutions in the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art in Washington, DC.
Nevertheless, beyond the regions where he lived and worked—the American South, Midwest, and West Coast—Brown’s reach remains somewhat reserved, especially when compared to contemporaries such as Andy Warhol. As the exclusive representative of the Roger Brown estate, Kavi Gupta is thrilled to present Brown’s work at Frieze Masters at a crucial moment for global audiences to become more familiar with the prescient wit of this iconoclastic icon.
In a world ever more dominated and challenged by the American myths that Brown so dutifully and brilliantly addressed in his work, we are called now more than ever to look to the humor, beauty, and intelligence of this artist who worked beyond the boundaries of his own time.