Kavi Gupta is delighted to announce our participation in OVR: 20c — the latest iteration of Art Basel’s Online Viewing Rooms, dedicated to works from the 20th century — with our presentation of Roger Brown: His Political Landscape.
Roger Brown (b. 1941, Hamilton, Alabama, USA; d. 1997, Atlanta, Georgia, USA) was a keen commentator on contemporary American life. Born in the Deep South and spending his adult life primarily in the Midwest, Brown was perennially marginalized by his status as an out gay man. He mobilized political figuration in painting with fearlessness and wit to communicate the political realities that comprised his lived experience of the world. This exhibition showcases a selection of works from the early 1970s through the 1990s, covering the majority of Brown's working career as an adult, and considers some of his means of articulating landscape painting as a genre fertile with possibility for cultural commentary. Diversely fascinated by such topics as American imperialism, the internal politics of the art world, environmentalism, terrorism, queer culture, and the AIDS crisis, Brown's expansive interests collectively paint a portrait of a rapidly changing world in the late 20th century.
Brown was a pioneering American artist whose extensive and diverse oeuvre both translated and transformed the visual and cultural landscapes of his time. Brown was a leader among the Chicago Imagists, yet his work transcended regionalist concerns and set him apart as a radical visionary amongst his contemporaries. Born and raised in the rural South, Brown moved to Chicago in the early 1960s. His interests ranged from the Italian Renaissance, to Surrealism, to Comics and Pop Art, and he was a connoisseur of autodidact art traditions of the American South and Midwest.