From a dazzling display of new works by self-taught talent Jordan Kerwick at Vito Schnabel to Ellsworth Kelly’s doubleheader at Matthew Marks.
On a mission to present the best gallery exhibitions across America each month, we journeyed to five cultural capitals to find the top shows for June. From Jordan Kerwick’s exploration of dark humor and mystic symbolism at Vito Schnabel Gallery in Santa Monica to Ellsworth Kelly’s doubleheader at Matthew Marks Gallery in New York, these are the must-see shows for June.
Devan Shimoyama at Kavi Gupta, Chicago
Through June 11
Investigating the intersections of race and sexuality within everyday life, Devan Shimoyama is celebrated for his mixed-media paintings and sculptures exploring themes of Black masculinity in the context of queer culture. The Pittsburgh-based artist has been in hot demand ever since earning an MFA in painting and printmaking from Yale in 2014. Masterfully using an eclectic range of materials, from oil and color pencil to collage, glitter, sequins, and jewelry, Shimoyama taps into folklore, mythology, and popular culture to create his wildly compelling artworks.
The current exhibition titled “A Counterfeit Gift Wrapped in Fire” at Kavi Gupta references figures from tarot cards and iconic black female singers to make a series of transformative self-portraits. The glittery, bejeweled Self Portrait as Aaliya and Self Portrait as Left Eye portray the artist in drag as the celebrated R&B singers, who died tragic deaths, while another painting collages Aaliyah’s eyes into a fireworks display to comment on how people hide their true emotions behind the projection of happiness. The paintings La Mort and Tempérance take his self-portraiture further back in time, using references to tarot cards to address ideas of transformation and the ultimate difference between superficial and real change.