•  

    It is with great excitement that Kavi Gupta celebrates the return of EXPO Chicago. After almost three years, we are once again able to spotlight our home city as the essential global locus for international contemporary art that it has always been. Our presentation at this year’s fair is a definitive representation of the enduring importance of Kavi Gupta’s ongoing mission to amplify voices of diverse and underrepresented artists to expand the canon of art history.

     

    At this crucial moment, we are grateful for the chance EXPO Chicago gives us to center important works by some of the most influential, dynamic artists working today—including 2022 Whitney Biennial artist James Little! With five of his large-scale paintings on view in the biennial, Little is poised to finally achieve the recognition he has long deserved as an American master in the field of abstraction. We are also proud to exhibit major works by Devan Shimoyama, Beverly Fishman, and Alisa Sikelianos-Carter in conjunction with these artists’ ambitious solo exhibitions opening in our Chicago galleries during EXPO week; as well as exhibiting for the first time at EXPO the work of multiple artists who reflect our expanding, diverse program: including a new large-scale wall sculpture by Allana Clarke, made through a performative process of the artist physically wrestling with 30-second hair bonding glue; a new wall hanging from Suchitra Mattai, woven from vintage saris, ghungroo bells, boas, and other materials relating to the artist’s personal relationship to her Indo-Caribbean heritage; and the latest work by digital activist art collective Rewind Collective. We will also be spotlighting major works by Miya Ando; Alfred Conteh; Inka Essenhigh; Deborah Kass; Michi Meko; Jaime Muñoz; Manish Nai; Kour Pour; Mary Sibande; Jessica Stockholder; Su Su; along with guaranteed surprises from all of the artists in our program. 


     

  • James Little

  • 'Coming from my background, which was a very segregated upbringing in Tennessee, I felt that abstraction reflected the best expression...

    "Coming from my background, which was a very segregated upbringing in Tennessee, I felt that abstraction reflected the best expression of self-determination and free will. It’s subject matter for me—the statement is in the interactions of certain colors, their placement, the temperature of color."

     

    – James Little

  • SELECTED ARTIST FOR THE 2022 WHITNEY BIENNIAL: QUIET AS IT’S KEPT APRIL 6 – SEPTEMBER 5, 2022

    SELECTED ARTIST FOR THE

    2022 WHITNEY BIENNIAL: 

    QUIET AS IT’S KEPT 

    APRIL 6 – SEPTEMBER 5, 2022


  •  

    While developing his distinctive position within contemporary abstraction, Little (b. 1952, USA) has devoted decades to rigorous academic study of color theory, pictorial design, and painting techniques. His aesthetic language is rooted in simplicity, centering geometric shapes and patterns, flat surfaces, and emotive color relationships. In an age that frequently trades durability for ephemerality and mastery for instant gratification, Little might be seen as an outlier—a careful, precise, disciplined perfectionist who seeks personal improvement over fame and outside recognition. Yet, it is by embodying these rare values that Little can rightly be called the most important painter in America today. The restraint of his pictures belies the startling complexity of their making—Little makes his own binders and grinds his own pigments, and paints a majority of his works using what is the most complex and difficult-to-master method ever devised: blending handmade pigments with hot beeswax, similar to the encaustic painting technique developed by ancient Egyptian and Greek artists. In his studio/laboratory, Little hand manufactures this difficult medium, which is proven, under the right circumstances, to never wear down with age. Properly cared for, his wax paintings will look as vibrant and luminous a thousand years from now as they do today. 

     


     

    • James Little Jump Start, 2016 Raw pigment on canvas 33 1/4 x 41 1/2 x 1 1/2 in 84.5 x 105.4 x 3.8 cm
      James Little
      Jump Start, 2016
      Raw pigment on canvas
      33 1/4 x 41 1/2 x 1 1/2 in
      84.5 x 105.4 x 3.8 cm
    • James Little Checkered Past, 2017 Raw pigment on canvas 33 1/4 x 41 1/2 x 1 1/2 in 84.5 x 105.4 x 3.8 cm
      James Little
      Checkered Past, 2017
      Raw pigment on canvas
      33 1/4 x 41 1/2 x 1 1/2 in
      84.5 x 105.4 x 3.8 cm
    • James Little Black Star, 2015 Oil and wax on linen 72 x 72 x 1 1/2 in 182.9 x 182.9 x 3.8 cm
      James Little
      Black Star, 2015
      Oil and wax on linen
      72 x 72 x 1 1/2 in
      182.9 x 182.9 x 3.8 cm
      View more details

  •  

    Little is a 2009 recipient of the Joan Mitchel Foundation Award for Painting. In addition to being featured prominently in the 2022 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, NY, his work has been exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions around the world, including at MoMA P.S.1, New York, NY; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO; and the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC. Upcoming solo exhibitions include Homecoming: Bittersweet, at Dixon Gallery & Gardens: Art Museum, Memphis, TN, with an accompanying catalogue, and at Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL, in 2022. In 2022, Little will also participate in a historic collaboration for Duke Ellington's conceptual Sacred Concerts series at the Lincoln Center, New York, NY, with the New York Choral Society at the New School for Social Research and the Schomburg Center in New York, NY. His paintings are represented in the collections of numerous public and private collections, including the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; DeMenil Collection in Houston; Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Maatschappij Arti Et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, Holland; Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse; New Jersey State Museum, Trenton; Tennessee State Museum, Nashville; Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock; and Newark Museum, Newark.

     


     

  • Devan Shimoyama

  • “My new work is a continuation from my exhibition in Germany, All the Rage. Reflecting back on that exhibition, I...

    “My new work is a continuation from my exhibition in Germany, All the Rage. Reflecting back on that exhibition, I wanted to dig deeper into how these works have been torn out of something a little bit more personal. They’re not illustrative of anything going on in my personal life, but they’re reflective of an internal dialog I’ve been wrangling with.”

     

    – Devan Shimoyama


  •  

    Devan Shimoyama’s work explores depictions of the Black, queer, male body within the context of personal and social transformation. Shimoyama has stated that he wants the figures in his work are perceived as "both desirable and desirous." He is aware of the politics of queer culture, and the ways in which those politics relate to black American culture. These elements come together in his works in a way that is both celebratory and complicated. The celebratory aspects of Shimoyama's work come through in his choice of materials. Employing such things as fur, feathers, glitter and costume jewels like rhinestones, and sequins, he brings shine and dimensionality to his surfaces. These materials add to the sense that the figures in the works possess a sort of magical aura, and joyful spirit.

     

    Shimoyama describes his most recent works as an exploration of “radical healing, meditation, and reiki, while also looking towards pseudosciences, astrology, tarot, and various other things that have helped me transform in terms of understanding myself.”

     


     

    • Devan Shimoyama Akasha, 2021 Oil, colored pencil, glitter, acrylic, costume jewelry, rhinestones, and collage on canvas stretched over panel 72 x 72 x 1 1/4 in 182.9 x 182.9 x 3.2 cm
      Devan Shimoyama
      Akasha, 2021
      Oil, colored pencil, glitter, acrylic, costume jewelry, rhinestones, and collage on canvas stretched over panel
      72 x 72 x 1 1/4 in
      182.9 x 182.9 x 3.2 cm
      View more details

  •  

    Akasha was included in the exhibition Devan Shimoyama. All The Rage, Shimoyama's first European solo exhibition, which opened on June 19, 2021, at Kunstpalais, Erlangen, Germany. The image is connected to Shimoyama’s ongoing aesthetic exploration of alternative masculinity through adorned, fantastical images of the Black, queer, male body. Through the media of painting, sculpture, printmaking, and installation, Shimoyama presents figures that are perceived as both desirable and desirous. He is aware of the politics of queer culture, and the ways in which those politics relate to black American culture. These elements come together in his works in a way that is celebratory and also complicated. The celebratory aspects of Shimoyama's work come through in his choice of materials, which include fur, feathers, glitter and costume jewels. Many of the men in Shimoyama's works also literally have jewels in their eyes, endowing them with a mystified, often vacant expression, interrupting the connection between their inner selves and the viewer, and suggesting a sort of silent suffering. Many are also shedding tears.

     


     

    • Devan Shimoyama Vampira, 2021 Oil, colored pencil, glitter, acrylic, rhinestones, and collage on canvas stretched over panel 72 x 72 x 1 1/4 in 182.9 x 182.9 x 3.2 cm
      Devan Shimoyama
      Vampira, 2021
      Oil, colored pencil, glitter, acrylic, rhinestones, and collage on canvas stretched over panel
      72 x 72 x 1 1/4 in
      182.9 x 182.9 x 3.2 cm
    • Devan Shimoyama Spotlight, 2021 Colored pencil, glitter, collage and rhinestones on paper in walnut frame with museum glass 52 1/2 x 42 3/4 x 1 5/8 in 133.3 x 108.5 x 4 cm
      Devan Shimoyama
      Spotlight, 2021
      Colored pencil, glitter, collage and rhinestones on paper in walnut frame with museum glass
      52 1/2 x 42 3/4 x 1 5/8 in
      133.3 x 108.5 x 4 cm
  • Beverly Fishman

  • “Pharmaceuticals intersect with feminism. Women were given Valium for their nerves. Why were they nervous? Were they unsatisfied with their...

    Pharmaceuticals intersect with feminism. Women were given Valium for their nerves. Why were they nervous? Were they unsatisfied with their lives, with their options? They were anesthetizing an entire generation. But nothing is reduced in my thinking to right or wrong, or yes or no. It’s a more complex situation, and I’m trying to negotiate that.

     

    – Beverly Fishman

    • Beverly Fishman Untitled (Diabetes, Opioid Addiction, Pain, Osteoporosis, Depression), 2021 Urethane paint on wood 46 x 88 3/4 x 2 in 116.8 x 225.4 x 5.1 cm
      Beverly Fishman
      Untitled (Diabetes, Opioid Addiction, Pain, Osteoporosis, Depression), 2021
      Urethane paint on wood
      46 x 88 3/4 x 2 in
      116.8 x 225.4 x 5.1 cm
      View more details

  •  

    Beverly Fishman’s luminescent, geometric relief paintings beguile the eyes. Along with their radiant material presence, their uncanny structures challenge viewers to look beyond the surface, to try to recall where it was that they have seen these curious shapes before. Epiphany is aided by the titles Fishman gives her paintings, which invoke a litany of ills, such as depression, high blood pressure, bipolar disorder, opioid addiction, insomnia, and ADHD—these are pharmaceutical forms, abstracted from the pills we ingest every day to balance our bodies and minds.

     

    For decades, Fishman has diligently studied the visual vocabulary that pharmaceutical designers deploy in their calculated efforts to market antidepressants, anxiolytics, amphetamines, anti-inflammatories, beta blockers, opioids, and other chemicals to the masses. Morphed and elevated by Fishman in her studio, these medicinal motifs become the building blocks for ecstatic visual cocktails that open doors to the aesthetic sublime.

     


     

  • Suchitra Mattai

  • “I’m inspired by the mystery of the objects I find. When I combine multiple objects and mediums in a work,...

    I’m inspired by the mystery of the objects I find. When I combine multiple objects and mediums in a work, the collective aura translates into a space of new myth and new folktale. It's no longer about history. It’s about the immediate, and how the past plays into the contemporary conversation.

     

    – Suchitra Mattai

    • Suchitra Mattai A Porous Heart, 2022 Vintage saris, fabric, beads, chain, ghungroo bells, and boas 78 x 48 in 198.1 x 121.9 cm
      Suchitra Mattai
      A Porous Heart, 2022
      Vintage saris, fabric, beads, chain, ghungroo bells, and boas
      78 x 48 in
      198.1 x 121.9 cm
      View more details
    • Suchitra Mattai Earth, sea, soul, 2021 Family sari, vintage saris, ghungroo bells, fabric and feather trim 77 x 43 in.
      Suchitra Mattai
      Earth, sea, soul, 2021
      Family sari, vintage saris, ghungroo bells, fabric and feather trim
      77 x 43 in.
      View more details
    • Suchitra Mattai The Fire Inside, 2022 Acrylic, embroidery floss, gouache, sari, appliqués and fabric 36 x 38 in 91.4 x 96.5 cm
      Suchitra Mattai
      The Fire Inside, 2022
      Acrylic, embroidery floss, gouache, sari, appliqués and fabric
      36 x 38 in
      91.4 x 96.5 cm
      View more details

  •  

    Suchitra Mattai is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work tells visual stories that touch on her Indo-Caribbean lineage. Blending painting, sculpture and installation with methods suggestive of domestic labor which she learned from her grandmother, such as sewing, embroidery and crocheting, the work addresses such topics as the legacy of colonialism, and relationships between culture and gender roles. Mattai frequently uses found materials in her pieces that have their own embedded meanings, such as vintage saris, which relate to post-colonial concerns and contemporary issues surrounding gender, labor, and family. This creates a call and response between the materials, the topics addressed in the work, and processes involved in the work’s creation.

     

    Mattai’s work is in the collections of Crystal Bridges Museum, the Denver Art Museum, and the Taylor Art Collection, among others, and has been reviewed in publications such as Hyperallergic, the Boston Globe, Widewalls, and Wallpaper Magazine, among others. Recent exhibitions include Realms of Refuge, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, USA; Sharjah Biennial 14, Sharjah, UAE; State of the Art 2020 at Crystal Bridges Museum/the Momentary; MCA Denver, CO, USA; Boise Museum of Art, ID, USA; Center for Visual Arts, Metropolitan State University of Denver, CO, USA and the San Antonio Museum of Art, TX, USA.

     


     

  • Wadsworth Jarrell

  • Wadsworth Jarrell is a painter and sculptor born in Albany, Georgia. In 1968, Jarrell came to prominence as one of...

    Wadsworth Jarrell is a painter and sculptor born in Albany, Georgia. In 1968, Jarrell came to prominence as one of the five co-founders of AFRICOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists), a Black artist collective formed on the South Side of Chicago, which helped define the visual language of the Black Arts Movement of the 60s and 70s. Yet, for decades prior, Jarrell had already been experimenting with his aesthetic voice, transitioning gradually from the illustrative figuration of paintings like Come Saturday (1959), to the Orphic Cubist-inspired, abstract dynamism of Cockfight (1965). Jarrell was already a mature painter when he contributed to the development of the AFRICOBRA aesthetic. The group’s embrace of “cool-ade” colors, text, and positive images of the Black community may be seen as an enlargement of Jarrell’s voice, but as we can see in paintings like Sign of the Times (1966) and Shore Market (1968), to a large degree these ideas were already emerging out of his own experiments. Essential to his work is Jarrell’s belief that the creation of an art object is inherently personal. Though informed by history and governed by material realities, his process always begins and ends with his own experiences. Many of the seminal works he painted at the height of the AFRICOBRA years—like Black Family (1968) and Boss Couple (1970)—directly reference Jarrell’s personal life. Even seemingly less personal works, such as I Am Better Than Those Motherfuckers and They Know It (1969) and Homage to a Giant (1970), examine the broader culture through Jarrell’s distinctly individuated point of view.

     

    Recent exhibitions of Jarrell's work include AFRICOBRA: Nation Time2019 Venice Biennale, Official Collateral Event, Venice, IT; Come Saturday Punch, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL; AFRICOBRA: Messages to the People, MOCA North Miami, FL, USA; AFRICOBRA 50, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, USA; Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, Tate Modern, London, England; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Fayetteville, AR; USA, Brooklyn Museum, NY, USA; The Broad Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco MOMA, CA, USA, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, USA; and Heritage: Wadsworth and Jae JarrellThe Cleveland Museum of Art, OH, USA. Jarrell’s work is included in the collections of the Worcester Museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the High Museum of Art, the National Museum of Africa American History and Culture, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, among others.

  • Gerald Williams

  • “A nation is a mental construct. Country is land, something you can dig in, concrete. A nation is how you...

    “A nation is a mental construct. Country is land, something you can dig in, concrete. A nation is how you perceive yourself, the relationships that people have among one another. The interactions that people have. That’s what makes a nation.”

     

    — Gerald Williams


  •  

    Gerald Williams is an American painter whose work explores culture, place and identity from a global perspective. Williams is one of the original five cofounders of AFRICOBRA, an artist collective formed on the south side of Chicago in 1967, which became the definitive visual expression of the Black Arts

    Movement. Over time, Williams’ work has evolved into a polyrythmic representation of life at the intersection of figuration and abstraction, defined by what he calls “mimesis at midpoint.” 

     

    After serving in the U.S. Air Force for four years, Williams earned his BA from Chicago Teachers College in 1969, and his MFA from Howard University in 1976. He served two years in the Peace Corps as Prevocational Director in the Jacaranda School for the Mentally Handicapped in Nairobi, Kenya, then taught for four years in the Washington, D.C. public schools. From 1984 through 2005, Williams served as the Director of Arts and Crafts Centers on United States Air Force bases in South Korea, Japan, Italy, the Azores and the United States. Williams distills the visual language of time, place, culture and identity in order to express the essence of reality in an aesthetically contemplative way. Influenced both by AFRICOBRA and his travels, he has continued the practice of aesthetic distillation while opening himself up to new techniques, materials and processes. The quiet nights in Nairobi; the rich colors of African clothing and architecture; the dynamic rhythms of life in the country and the city: all of these things affect his aesthetic approach, and inform the polyrythmic aesthetic he maintains today.

     

    Williams’ work is included in several major collections, including that of the Smart Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the DeYoung Museum, and the DuSable Museum of African American History. Recent exhibitions of Williams' work include Everything Is Connected: Art and Conspiracy, The Met Breuer, NY, USA; AFRICOBRA: Nation Time, 2019 Venice Biennale Official Collateral Event, Venice, IT; AFRICOBRA: Messages to the People, MOCA North Miami, FL, USA; AFRICOBRA 50, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, USA; Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, Tate Modern, London, England; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Fayetteville, AR; USA, Brooklyn Museum, NY, USA; The Broad Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco MOMA, CA, USA, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, USA; Gerald Williams, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, USA; The Time is Now! Art Worlds of Chicago’s South Side, 1960-1980, Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, USA. A major profile of Williams appeared in Hyperallergic in 2018, based on an oral history included in the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.

     


     

    • Gerald Williams Take It, 1971 Acrylic on masonite 50 x 50 x 2 1/2 in 127 x 127 x 6.3 cm
      Gerald Williams
      Take It, 1971
      Acrylic on masonite
      50 x 50 x 2 1/2 in
      127 x 127 x 6.3 cm
      View more details
  • Kour Pour

  • “The images in my work originate from many different sources and time periods. People use the word appropriation to describe...

    “The images in my work originate from many different sources and time periods. People use the word appropriation to describe an artist referencing different histories and places, but I prefer the word foster. Foster means nurturing something temporarily in your care.”

     

    – Kour Pour


  •  

    Fresh Off the Boat is based on a 17th century Persian carpet depicting Portuguese sailors, a common trading partner with the people who originally designed and made the carpet on which this painting is based. Though Europeans preferred a toned down, neutral color palette for their Persian carpets, Pour has gone the other way and made the palette more vibrant and colorful. The phrase “fresh off the boat” signifies both the sailors in the image, as well as a common phrase used to describe recently arrived immigrants, who bring with them to their new home the legacies and heritage of their own shared cultural experiences, which then continue to expand the field of intercultural exchange.

     

    To make his ambitious Persian Carpet paintings, Pour first researches source images in search of iconic Persian carpet designs dating back centuries, examples with deep intercultural legacies. He photographs the rugs, makes modifications to the image, and then burns the new image onto a screen print to transfer later onto the surface of his painting. Before he makes the transfer, he prepares the surface with multiple interlocking layers of gesso, applied vertically and then horizontally with a push broom. This creates a surface reminiscent of the woven pattern that would be found on a traditional carpet. The screen print is then transferred, and Pour hand paints additional layers, finally using an electric sander to erase sections of the image. The process itself speaks to the most important part of this work—the intercultural nurturing of images, materials, and techniques across time and space.

     


     

  • Rewind Collective


  •  

    Rewind Collective is an ACTIVIST ANONYMOUS collective of creatives aimed at addressing the gender and minority imbalances throughout the art world.  A global collective of photographers, fine artists and digital creatives, they work together to rewind back the patriarchy, misogyny, and segregation, and to address imbalances in representation in the contemporary art field. Through the creation of new digital artworks that respond to existing works from art history, the collective aims to uplift women and other marginalized groups within the field. The mobilizing theory of the collective is that technology can be used effectively as a tool to bring inequities in the art field into focus for viewers, collectors, curators and institutional power brokers. For example, the group’s Remember Us series deploys images of historical artworks and artists in their studios, using AI technology and digitally altering and blending them together to center minority artists who have been overlooked by the traditional Western art historical canon. A statement from the anonymous collective asserts, “Our mission is to rewind back the patriarchy, misogyny, and segregation, and shine a light on those who deserve to be seen and heard.”

     

    Remember Us XXIII (Women Throughout History) celebrates pioneering females across the centuries whose contributions to art and politics defied limitations. Groundbreaking women from across the centuries who changed the world as we know it. This piece features four of our original photographs paying tribute to Mother Nature, Isabella I of Castile, Eve & Catherine the Great. All our photographs have been digitally reworked and interwoven with our reinterpretations of four works by female artists, Marie-Victoire Lemoine, Mary Beale and Henriette Cappelaere.


    Each of these women triumphed with their passion and conviction in defiance of the constraints placed upon women during their lifetimes. We aim to highlight the courage of these women around the world despite tribulations past, present or future. Remember Us is our series honoring overlooked women and minorities throughout history.

     


     

  • Richard Hunt

  • 'How much of my process is physical — having to do with materials — and how much is metaphysical? It’s...

    "How much of my process is physical — having to do with materials — and how much is metaphysical? It’s always both."

     

    – Richard Hunt


  •  

    Richard Hunt is one of the most accomplished American metal sculptors of the past century. His work has been exhibited 12 times at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, including a solo retrospective in 1971, when the artist was only 35 years old. Titled The Sculpture of Richard Hunt, March 25–July 9, 1971, this was only the third solo exhibition for a black artist in the history of MoMA. The director of that show referred to it as a “mid-career” exhibition, however Hunt is still active in his studio today at age 83.

     

    Hunt’s distinctive visual language is rooted in abstraction, and informed by the behaviors and properties of the natural world. His forms are particularly expressive and evocative of the movement of wind, waves, and light. The subject matter informing his works is frequently rooted in the world of human nature. Many of his beloved large-scale public works are homages to individuals such as Martin Luther King, Jr., or memorials to the many, such as his sculpture recognizing the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics.

     


     

  • Jaime Muñoz

  • “Throughout history we’ve made great efforts to improve civilization through work, industry, and technology. These moments of progress have also...

    Throughout history we’ve made great efforts to improve civilization through work, industry, and technology. These moments of progress have also led to exploitation and destructive behaviors. This unresolved conflict is a central theme in my work."

     

    – Jaime Muñoz

    • Jaime Muñoz Dekotora Truck, 2022 Acrylic, glitter, paper, and texture paste on wood panel 48 x 48 x 2 in 121.9 x 121.9 x 5.1 cm
      Jaime Muñoz
      Dekotora Truck, 2022
      Acrylic, glitter, paper, and texture paste on wood panel
      48 x 48 x 2 in
      121.9 x 121.9 x 5.1 cm
      View more details

  •  

    Jaime Muñoz (b. 1987) is a Pomona, California-based painter whose works emblamatize the abiding struggle between humans, technology, and labor. His glimmering, pictographic compositions convey a masterful blend of representational precision and allegorical motif, suggesting a charmed space where everyday life is nurtured by magic and myth. Among Muñoz’s recurring motifs are utility trucks, horses, and dimensional text—imagery drawn from Muñoz’s personal background. More than direct figurative references, these are symbols inviting viewers into a world of post-capitalist iconolatry informed by centuries of colonialism and commodification.

     

    “The truck becomes emblematic of the circumstances of dehumanization that the worker experiences in their struggle to survive,” says Muñoz. “It operates like an index of this moment in time within our modern life experience. I compare it to the invention of the wheel, or the discovery of the horse, and I think of the ways that this truck reflects the circumstances of industrialization. When I use this index in my work, I intend to visibilize these hidden experiences of the worker, as represented by the truck.”

     


     

    • Jaime Muñoz Diagram Drawing-04, 2022 Sumi ink on paper 28 x 23 x 2 in 71.1 x 58.4 x 5.1 cm
      Jaime Muñoz
      Diagram Drawing-04, 2022
      Sumi ink on paper
      28 x 23 x 2 in
      71.1 x 58.4 x 5.1 cm
      View more details
    • Jaime Muñoz Diagram Drawing-05, 2022 Sumi ink on paper 28 x 23 x 2 in 71.1 x 58.4 x 5.1 cm
      Jaime Muñoz
      Diagram Drawing-05, 2022
      Sumi ink on paper
      28 x 23 x 2 in
      71.1 x 58.4 x 5.1 cm
      View more details
  • Jeffrey Gibson

  • 'When we use the word modernist, people think of western modernism, but I think of it as a cultural event...

    "When we use the word modernist, people think of western modernism, but I think of it as a cultural event when culture responds to massive change. Beads are that kind of event for Native culture. They really are a symbol of globalism. They became traditional in people’s eyes to maintain cultural specificity, but the beads were coming from Africa, South America, France, Asia. They replaced the traditional forms and materials, seed beads, stone beads, porcupine quills, horse hair embroidery, birch bark biting. Beads to me are a symbol of a modern event that shifted Indigenous cultures."

     

    – Jeffrey Gibson

    • Jeffrey Gibson BETTER BECAUSE WE CAN BE, 2022 Canvas, acrylic paint, glass beads, artificial sinew, and nylon thread 66 1/2 x 50 1/2 x 3 1/4 168.9 x 128.3 x 8.3
      Jeffrey Gibson
      BETTER BECAUSE WE CAN BE, 2022
      Canvas, acrylic paint, glass beads, artificial sinew, and nylon thread
      66 1/2 x 50 1/2 x 3 1/4
      168.9 x 128.3 x 8.3
      View more details
  • Meet the Artist: Jeffrey Gibson | Whitney Biennial 2019

  • Allana Clarke

  • 'I need to feel human again. I need to orient myself towards futurity; towards a future where Black bodies can...

    "I need to feel human again. I need to orient myself towards futurity; towards a future where Black bodies can be articulated in a way they’ve never been before. My practice is the process of that."

     

    — Allana Clarke


  •  

    Allana Clarke is a Trinidadian-American artist whose practice is built upon a foundation of uncertainty, curiosity, a will to heal, and an insistence upon freedom. Fluidly moving through video, performance, sculpture, and text, her research-based practice incorporates sociopolitical and art historical texts, to contend with ideas of Blackness, the binding nature of bodily signification, and the possibility to create non-totalizing identifying structures.

     

    Clarke’s latest body of work expresses struggle and ritualistic transformation through sculptures made from hair bonding glue, a liquid latex commonly used to adhere hair extensions onto a person’s scalp.

     

    Clarke refers to her first interactions with hair bonding glue as a child as “rituals indoctrinating me into a world that is anti-Black.” Clarke begins her sculptural process by pouring the hair bonding glue onto flat panels. The bonding glue cures from the top, remaining supple underneath for days or weeks. During that time, Clarke manipulates the material by scraping, pulling, twisting, and pushing into it with her entire body. The performative process manifests in a sculptural relic of the artist literally grappling with her complicated relationship with her medium.

     


     

  • Deborah Kass

  • “I use history as a readymade. I use the language of painting to talk about value and meaning. How has...

    “I use history as a readymade. I use the language of painting to talk about value and meaning. How has art history constructed power and meaning? How has it reflected the culture at large? How does art and the history of art describe power?"

     

    – Deborah Kass

    • Deborah Kass EMERGENCY #1 (RED, YELLOW, BLUE) , 2019 Acrylic and neon on canvas 32 x 87 in 81.3 x 221 cm
      Deborah Kass
      EMERGENCY #1 (RED, YELLOW, BLUE) , 2019
      Acrylic and neon on canvas
      32 x 87 in
      81.3 x 221 cm
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  •  

    Deborah Kass is an American artist whose work explores the intersection of pop culture, art history, and the construction of self. Kass is a fan of popular culture and a rigorous student of art history, and considers all of the existing artistic content as useful material from which to draw. Her appropriation of Andy Warhol’s signature screenprints has served as a platform through which Kass addresses the lack of representation in the art historical canon. Kass uses the Warhol technique to create empowering, feminist images of females from art history and popular culture. Says Kass, “I use history as a readymade. I use the language of painting to talk about value and meaning. How has art history constructed power and meaning? How has it reflected the culture at large? How does art and the history of art describe power?”

     

    Kass’s work has been shown nationally and internationally, including at the Venice Biennale, the Istanbul Biennale, and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne. The Andy Warhol Museum presented Deborah Kass, Before and Happily Ever After, Mid-Career Retrospective in 2012, with a catalogue published by Rizzoli. Work by Kass is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of Art, Solomon Guggenheim Museum, Jewish Museum, Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Cincinnati Museum, New Orleans Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute, Fogg/Harvard Museum, and many other museums and private collections. In 2018 Kass was inducted into the National Academy.

     


     

  • Esmaa Mohamoud

  • 'People understand Blackness in monolithic terms. They don’t see Blackness as a multiplicity. That’s an issue I try to cover:...

    "People understand Blackness in monolithic terms. They don’t see Blackness as a multiplicity. That’s an issue I try to cover: the monolith versus the multiplicity."

     

    – Esmaa Mohamoud


  •  

    African-Canadian artist Esmaa Mohamoud describes her studio practice as an examination of “the monolithic versus the multitude.” Her work is a visually stunning and profound examination of the gap between contemporary culture's oversimplification and diminishment of Black people, compared to the complexity, richness, and diversity of their actual lived experiences.

     

    Mohamoud’s critically acclaimed solo exhibition Esmaa Mohamoud: To Play in the Face of Certain Defeat, which toured the National Galleries of Canada, looks specifically at how the Black body is reduced within the vernacular of athleticism. In other bodies of work, Mohamoud extends her interest in the monolithic versus the multiplicity by examining everyday aspects of Black life, such as financial literacy, Black beauty, and the surveillance of Black bodies. “In certain contexts, my body becomes a visual signifier of some kind of threat,” she says.

     

    Mohamoud’s practice manifests across multiple mediums—including sculpture, photography, textiles, video, and large-scale public installations—and incorporates a broad range of materials and methods, including concrete, textiles, metal, and found objects. She describes her aesthetic as soft industrial. “Part of my practice is hard—metal chains and concrete,” she says. “Then there’s this tenderness to the practice, like fabric and ball gown dresses.”

     


     

  • Mary Sibande

  • 'The body, and particularly how we clothe it, is the site where history is contested and where my own fantasies...

    "The body, and particularly how we clothe it, is the site where history is contested and where my own fantasies can play out."

     

    – Mary Sibande


  •  

    Mary Sibande is a sculptor, painter, and installation artist whose work not only interrogates the current intersections of race, gender, and labor in South Africa, it actively rewrites her own family’s legacy of forced domestic work imposed by the then-Apartheid state. Through photography and sculpture, Sibande employs the human form as a vehicle for a focused critique of stereotypical depictions of women, particularly Black women in South Africa. This counter-history takes the form of an alter-ego in Sibande’s work, a persona by the name of Sophie, who is dressed in various uniforms that resemble those worn by domestic workers.

     

    Turning these dress styles into Victorian motifs, Sibande reanimates Sophie’s history through the ways her body is adorned, to occupy the narratives that were stolen from and denied to her. This is not just a political act, but one of transformation, as Sophie takes on new incarnations of herself unbound from the history of servitude and labor that extends into the present’s domestic relationships. Transitioning from blue to purple to red, Sibande introduces us not only to the many faces of herself and Sophie, but to the complex personhoods of African women who continue to create worlds and narratives outside of the Western imperialist canon.

     


     

    • Mary Sibande A Terrible Beauty is Born, 2013 Archival Digital Print 43 1/4 x 126 in 110 x 320 cm Edition of 10
      Mary Sibande
      A Terrible Beauty is Born, 2013
      Archival Digital Print
      43 1/4 x 126 in
      110 x 320 cm
      Edition of 10
      View more details
  • Mary Sibande: Unhand Me, Demon!

  • Jessica Stockholder

  • 'I’ve always loved color because it’s a little bit like music. I love that it seems to be both physical...

    "I’ve always loved color because it’s a little bit like music. I love that it seems to be both physical and ephemeral and engages us as a metaphor for our feeling lives. But you can’t quantify everything you do with color. That’s not to say that thinking about it isn’t valuable, but it’s like eating: It’s one thing to enjoy the food and another to sit down and figure out what the recipe is."

     

    — Jessica Stockholder

    • Jessica Stockholder Moving, 2020 Canvas tarp, lokta paper, iron on embroidered letters, thread, plastic tarp, rug under pad, car mat, string, oil and acrylic paint, and moving pallet 75 x 67 x 59 in 190.5 x 170.2 x 149.9 cm
      Jessica Stockholder
      Moving, 2020
      Canvas tarp, lokta paper, iron on embroidered letters, thread, plastic tarp, rug under pad, car mat, string, oil and acrylic paint, and moving pallet
      75 x 67 x 59 in
      190.5 x 170.2 x 149.9 cm
      View more details
    • Jessica Stockholder Assist: Stripped Strike, 2017 Tree branches, plastic mirror, acrylic paint, fabrics, embroidery thread, hardware, metal struts, load hugger yellow webbing, and ratchet.\ 94 x 26 x 24 in 238.8 x 66 x 61 cm
      Jessica Stockholder
      Assist: Stripped Strike, 2017
      Tree branches, plastic mirror, acrylic paint, fabrics, embroidery thread, hardware, metal struts, load hugger yellow webbing, and ratchet.\
      94 x 26 x 24 in
      238.8 x 66 x 61 cm
      View more details
  • Jessica Stockholder

    Moving, 2020

     

    Jessica Stockholder is an internationally acclaimed visual artist whose works are in the collections of many of the most influential museums, municipalities, and corporations around the world. Stockholder formulates three-dimensional pictures in space, which interact in unpredictable ways with the environments they occupy and explore how perception relates to feelings of chaos and control. The work employs the visual strategies of painting, sculpture, and installation—though it also resists the limitations such terms imply. Stockholder mobilizes consumer products and industrial materials as a way to confront the threat they pose to human existence, and to critique the superficial relationship people have with technology and consumption. By incorporating such concepts and objects into her practice, Stockholder imbues the work with myriad levels of meaning and political resonance.

     


     

    • Jessica Stockholder Screen Detail, 2016 Unistrut, metal parts, foam backed floor boards, metal mesh, red plastic coated metal cable, plastic parts, plastic ice tray, paper mache, hardware, painted metal rod, rope, fiberglass element, wire, oil and acrylic paint 97 x 53 x 56 1/2 in 246.4 x 134.6 x 143.5 cm
      Jessica Stockholder
      Screen Detail, 2016
      Unistrut, metal parts, foam backed floor boards, metal mesh, red plastic coated metal cable, plastic parts, plastic ice tray, paper mache, hardware, painted metal rod, rope, fiberglass element, wire, oil and acrylic paint
      97 x 53 x 56 1/2 in
      246.4 x 134.6 x 143.5 cm
      View more details
    • Jessica Stockholder Angered, 2017 Shell, plastic part, 1 stick pin, red felt, wooden fan blade, acrylic and oil paint, lexel caulk 19 x 6 x 3 in 48.3 x 15.2 x 7.6 cm
      Jessica Stockholder
      Angered, 2017
      Shell, plastic part, 1 stick pin, red felt, wooden fan blade, acrylic and oil paint, lexel caulk
      19 x 6 x 3 in
      48.3 x 15.2 x 7.6 cm
      View more details
  • Jessica Stockholder: Specific Shapes Virtual Walkthrough

  • Su Su

  • 'There’s never an end if you want to learn more technique and skill. You can always learn from other artists,...

    "There’s never an end if you want to learn more technique and skill. You can always learn from other artists, from history, from yourself. That’s just part of your work. That’s part of your mission as an artist."

     

    – Su Su

    • Su Su Three Little Pigs (Teacup Piggy), 2020 Oil on canvas 35 in. x 48 in. 88.9 cm x 121.9 cm
      Su Su
      Three Little Pigs (Teacup Piggy), 2020
      Oil on canvas
      35 in. x 48 in.
      88.9 cm x 121.9 cm
      View more details

  •  

    Chinese-born, Pittsburgh-based artist Su Su creates fantastical, dreamlike paintings that offer a new and unique understanding of intercultural exchange—a jittery, beautiful hybrid of mass media, pop culture, history, and memory with the capacity to shape our understanding of our interconnected world. Her works speak to the complicated and confusing experiences Su Su has had as an immigrant to the United States. They show a distorted, swirling world of liquified pop iconographies and Chinese symbolism. Su Su’s face and body appear in her compositions, reflecting her struggle with the misunderstandings that shape the way China and the United States understand and portray each other’s cultures. Recent exhibitions include Chautauqua Institution of Art, NY (2019); The Andy Warhol Museum 25th anniversary exhibition (2019); The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (2020); The Carnegie Museum of Art (2020); the Muskegon Museum of Art (2021); and the de la Cruz Collection (2021). Works by Su Su are held in the permanent collections of de la Cruz Collection, Miami, FL; The Bennett Prize Art Collection, Muskegon, MI; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; and The International Spy Museum, Washington, DC, among others.

     


     

  • Manish Nai

  • “It’s my tendency to compress. Newspaper, cardboard, books, clothes. For me, when I compress newspapers and books, I’m compressing time...

    “It’s my tendency to compress. Newspaper, cardboard, books, clothes. For me, when I compress newspapers and books, I’m compressing time and language. But also when I compress used clothes, it’s also about the memories. I’m compressing memory. Compression is like that.”

     

    – Manish Nai

    • Manish Nai Untitled, 2019 Fly screen and acrylic 58 x 70 x 1 in 147.3 x 177.8 x 2.5 cm
      Manish Nai
      Untitled, 2019
      Fly screen and acrylic
      58 x 70 x 1 in
      147.3 x 177.8 x 2.5 cm
      View more details
  • Manish Nai (b. 1980, India) began his adoration of twentieth century abstraction in college, coinciding with a moment when abstraction...

     

    Manish Nai (b. 1980, India) began his adoration of twentieth century abstraction in college, coinciding with a moment when abstraction had fallen out of favor in India. At this time, while Nai resolutely pursued minimalism, figurative collage and ornamentation surged in popularity; his work definitively went against the fashion.

     

    Nai uses material that is both modest and quintessentially Indian, like jute and newspaper, in pieces that are studies in tedious complexities. When complete, they are presented as a tightly organized unit. The media that Nai uses are usually cheap and ubiquitous, alluding to both hierarchies of artistic media and Indian social structures. Jute, for instance, is a strong vegetable fiber that is often woven into a durable fabric, similar to burlap; it was once used as clothing material for the poor and is now more commonly used in building construction. Nai hails from a family of jute traders, and his intimate understanding of the material comes equally from his cultural and familial relationships to it.

     

    Nai's use of newspapers examines the tremendous diversity and contention within Indian society—there are almost 100 newspapers in 19 different languages distributed daily in India. He soaks them, stripping them of their words, and compresses them in wooden molds, elevating the material from disposable to the rarified.

     


     

  • Miya Ando

  • 'Making art is a function of thinking. I endeavor to stay on a focused train of thought from one piece...

    "Making art is a function of thinking. I endeavor to stay on a focused train of thought from one piece to the next, each completed work begets the next work. It’s a continuum of thought and the works are a residue of that thinking process."

     

    – Miya Ando


  •  

    Miya Ando is a multidisciplinary abstract artist whose works reference the ephemerality of nature and the transitory nature of existence. Ando's images and forms reference such fleeting stuff as clouds, moonlight, tides, and the seasons. Her materials—such as steel, glass, and aluminum—convey a sense of durability and strength. Transformed by Ando, materials related to permanence become embodiments of impermanence. Ando presents the titles of her works in Japanese and English. During her time living in Japan, she researched literary and historical texts, compiling poetic Japanese descriptions of natural phenomena. Present in the Japanese descriptions are nuanced layers of thought often lacking in the English translation. These bi-lingual titles convey the sense of duality Ando experiences living between two cultures.

     

    Ando’s recent exhibitions include The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Bronx Museum; The Queens Museum of Art, NY; The Noguchi Museum, New York; and The American University Museum, Washington DC; Ando’s work is included in the public collections of  LACMA; The Nassau County Museum; The Corning Museum of Glass; The Detroit Institute of Arts; The Luft Museum; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art; The Santa Barbara Museum of Art; The Museum of Art and History; among others.

     


     

  • Michi Meko

  • “I was curious enough to ask myself what it means we turn ourselves from gazing outward at a mountaintop or...

    I was curious enough to ask myself what it means we turn ourselves from gazing outward at a mountaintop or a valley, inward towards whatever mountaintop or valley is in ourselves. Is the transcendent moment the scenery? Or is it the inward reflection?

     

    – Michi Meko

     

     
    • Michi Meko Baggage: Leave Me Better Than You Found Me., 2021 Acrylic, Gold Leaf, Oil Pastel, White Prismacolor Pencil (pc938), Areosol, Areosol Holigram Glitter, India Ink, Krink, Aluminium tent Pole, Paper Bag, Black Corner Store Plastic Bag, Wire, Parachord, Lantern, LED Lights, Duct- Tape, Fringe, Red Push Pen, Wood Screws, Nails, Patio Planks on Panel 40 x 64 x 8 in 101.6 x 162.6 x 20.3 cm
      Michi Meko
      Baggage: Leave Me Better Than You Found Me., 2021
      Acrylic, Gold Leaf, Oil Pastel, White Prismacolor Pencil (pc938), Areosol, Areosol Holigram Glitter, India Ink, Krink, Aluminium tent Pole, Paper Bag, Black Corner Store Plastic Bag, Wire, Parachord, Lantern, LED Lights, Duct- Tape, Fringe, Red Push Pen, Wood Screws, Nails, Patio Planks on Panel
      40 x 64 x 8 in
      101.6 x 162.6 x 20.3 cm
      View more details

  •  

    Michi Meko is a multidisciplinary artist whose works engage metaphorically and abstractly with the paradoxes and contradictions that have shaped his personal history and the shared history of Black Americans, particularly in the American South.

     

    Meko nearly drowned in 2015—an experience that continues to resonate within his studio practice today. He says, “Inviting this life-changing event’s influence into my studio practice, my recent paintings and sculptures focus on the African American experience of navigating public spaces while remaining buoyant within them.”

     

    The work creates a transformative and transcendent space in which viewers experience the weight and pressure of feeling threatened, while simultaneously encountering a romanticized psychological and physical space that feels creative and full of possibility.

     

    “The work incorporates the visual language of naval flags and nautical wayfinding, combined with romanticized objects of the American South as a means to communicate the psychological and the physical,” Meko says.“These references signal the warning of a threat or the possibility of safe passage. Working beyond the physical image of the body, objects of buoyancy and navigation become metaphors for selfhood, resilience, and the sanity required in the turbulent oceans of contemporary America.”

     


     

  • Alfred Conteh

  • 'I’m not big on celebrity. I’m not big on symbolism. Yeah, we had a Black President, so people think that...

    "I’m not big on celebrity. I’m not big on symbolism. Yeah, we had a Black President, so people think that equates to success, or parity in the workplace, or education. This speaks directly to how this country functions. People like happy stuff. But for every LeBron James, every Denzel Washington, every elected official or judge, there are 39 million Black people whose lives are not like that, who don’t have that type of access or the special currency those people were given."

     

    — Alfred Conteh

    • Alfred Conteh Atlas, 2020 Acrylic and urethane plastic 77 x 83 x 3 in 195.6 x 210.8 x 7.6 cm
      Alfred Conteh
      Atlas, 2020
      Acrylic and urethane plastic
      77 x 83 x 3 in
      195.6 x 210.8 x 7.6 cm
      View more details

  •  

    Alfred Conteh is a painter and sculptor who was born in Fort Valley, GA. His mother is African American, and his father is from Sierra Leone, West Africa. Conteh explores his identity and personal history from a number of different perspectives. 

     

    He is concerned with the way African Americans are dealing with disparities that have been affecting their communities for generations, especially in the southern United States. He is also interested in the wider view of the entire African diaspora. 

     

    His work spans a range of mediums and materials, and crosses over between figuration and abstraction. His abstract work, such as the series Kin I’m In, makes use of lyricism and natural forms, while also evoking architectonic structures that reference built human environments. Though abstract, these works are rife with symbolism and poetic meaning.

     

    Conteh’s figurative work possesses a dreamlike, almost omniscient quality, conveying a sort of inner vision about the subject matter. His series of figurative paintings Two Fronts is grounded in the realm of portraiture. This series explores images of contemporary members of the African diaspora, placing the figures in what are often mundane environments. Conteh’s treatment of the figures, including the way he has them inhabit their surroundings, lends them a wise, gentle, heroic, and spiritual presence.

     


     

  • Inka Essenhigh

  • 'The unknown comes from the painting process, putting brush to canvas. I do have an agenda, and a world I...

    "The unknown comes from the painting process, putting brush to canvas. I do have an agenda, and a world I want to create. I’m not interested in meaninglessness. But I am looking for the feeling that the images are coming to me."

     

    — Inka Essenhigh


  •  

    Inka Essenhigh is renowned for her dreamlike paintings, which translate her encounters with, and intuitions about, contemporary society into haunting, playful, sometimes disturbing visual scenes. her most recent series, titled Uchronia, envisages a hypothetical, idyllic future for the inhabitants of Earth.

     

    Essenhigh is part of a generation of artists that includes Rachel Feinstein, Lisa Yuskavage and Cecily Brown, that rose to prominence in 1990s New York as leaders in the contemporary return to figuration.

     

    Essenhigh employs a mix of automatism, imagination and “inner vision” to translate the visible world into arabesque enamel paintings that reveal the unseen worlds of energy, feeling and mystery that lurk just beyond everyday life. She paints landscapes from her imagination into which the eyes and minds of viewers might temporarily abscond. Employing a mix of narration, symbolism and mystery, her paintings explore what about nature can be known and what lurk beyond our perception.

     


     

  • Tony Tasset

  • 'I operate within this postmodern forest of signs. I play with vernacular and folk. Most artists try to find an...

    "I operate within this postmodern forest of signs. I play with vernacular and folk. Most artists try to find an original or unique voice. I’m trying to find a common voice, a quintessential voice. I’m trying to make work that addresses a big audience."

     

    — Tony Tasset

    • Tony Tasset Crow, 2022 Powder-coated aluminum 21 x 21 x 25 in 53.3 x 53.3 x 63.5 cm
      Tony Tasset
      Crow, 2022
      Powder-coated aluminum
      21 x 21 x 25 in
      53.3 x 53.3 x 63.5 cm

  •  

    A Post-Atomic visual troubadour, Tony Tasset continues to define the vanguard of Pop Conceptualism. From the monumental stoicism of the massive fiberglass Eye sculpture watching over downtown Dallas like a Neo-Surrealist sentinel, to a slumping, exhausted Paul Bunyan that pays sad tribute to manifest destiny gone awry, to the frailty and nuanced melancholy of a to-scale sculpture of a ripped Styrofoam cup, Tasset has demonstrated, time and again, a unique ability to memorialize the peculiar beauty and pathos of the American visual vernacular.

     

    His work engages with the principle that the formation and under-standing of our history is crucially affected by the manner in which our most esteemed objects are displayed and how our most cherished narratives are told—an approach that harkens McLuhan’s axiom “the medium is the message”.

     

    Tasset has also become increasingly known for his ambitious, diverse public sculpture projects, such as The Artists Monument, which was featured at the Whitney Biennial. The sculpture is a massive list of nearly 400,000 artist names, listed alphabetically to put all artists together democratically, free of value judgments.

     


     

  • Roger Brown

  • Roger Brown is renowned for using a pop aesthetic to investigate a range of sociopolitical issues. His trademark silhouettes and...

    Roger Brown is renowned for using a pop aesthetic to investigate a range of sociopolitical issues. His trademark silhouettes and curvilinear landscapes depict both the topical and uncomfortable. Brown’s work is of startling contemporary relevance, cleverly approaching many topics: the natural and built environment, disaster, religion, popular culture, the art world, art history, eroticism, and sociopolitical concerns, from modern warfare to mortality during the HIV/AIDS crisis. Rich in content and innovative in methods of depiction, Brown presaged the subjective and surreal figuration seen in many threads of recent painting.

     

    A longtime resident of Chicago, Brown divided his time between Chicago and New Buffalo, MI, and in the 1980s he began wintering in La Conchita, CA. Brown received his BFA and his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1960s, partly under the tutelage of Ray Yoshida, as one of a generation who would later become known as the Hairy Who, or the Chicago Imagists. The Roger Brown Study Collection, maintained by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with curator Lisa Stone, makes Brown’s prolific art collection and archive available to the public.

     

    Brown’s Brown’s paintings have recently been featured in group exhibitions at the Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy, and MoMA PS1, New York, USA, and his Virtual Still Life works were highlighted in a solo exhibition at the Museum of Arts & Design, New York. The artist’s work is included in notable private and public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, National Gallery of Art, and The National Portrait Gallery.

  • Alisa Sikelianos-Carter

  • “I saw my ancestors as protectors. As a result of enslavement parts of my history have been stolen from me....

     “I saw my ancestors as protectors. As a result of enslavement parts of my history have been stolen from me. I don't have images of my family past my grandmother on my altar. So when I'm honoring my ancestors I pray to both those named and unnamed. All I have is my intention and I'm activating my imagination through this work. I’m honoring those who were real, and also those I can imagine.

     

     — Alisa Sikelianos-Carter

  • Alisa Sikelianos-Carter is a mixed-media painter from upstate New York. Her work asserts that Black features are a manifestation of a sacred and divine technology that has served as a means of survival, both physically and metaphysically. She envisions a cosmically bountiful world that celebrates and pays homage to ancestral majesty, power, and aesthetics. Inspired by traditionally Black hairstyles, Sikelianos-Carter uses web and catalogue-sourced images to construct new archetypes. Through her exploration of opulent, luminescent materials she is creating a mythology that is centered on Black resistance and utilizes the body as a sight of alchemy and divinity.

     

    “I want to live in a world in which every micro-aggression, attack on humanity, and doubt of divinity aimed at Black people is destroyed by future-sent deities,” says Sikelianos-Carter. “These Godx are completely enveloped and adorned by magnificent cornrows, dreadlocks, and twists. The hairstyles act as armor and weapon, protecting and repelling wearers from white supremacy and misogyny. These are the beings I create. My wildest dreams realized; a marriage between the spectral beings we (as Black people) can and will transform into as a result of the culture we currently live in with the majesty, magic, and tradition of our ancestors.”

     

    Sikelianos-Carter earned her BA and MA in Painting and Drawing from SUNY Albany. She is a recent NXTHVN Fellow, and in 2021 was awarded the inaugural fellowship at Foreland, a six month studio residency in the Catskills conferred biennially on an outstanding artist of color. Recent exhibitions of her work include Realms of Refuge, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL; NXTHVN Fellows Group Show, New York, NY; Beasts Like Me: Feminism and Fantasy, Bronx Art Space, Bronx, NY; and Never Done: 100 Years of Women in Politics and Beyond, Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY. Sikelianos-Carter was featured in New American Paintings, No. 146, Northeast Issue, and received the Sustainable Arts Foundation Grant. She has been awarded residencies at the Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, NY; Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT; Wassaic Project, Wassaic, NY; Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY; and Fountainhead Residency, Miami, FL.

  • Sherman Beck

  • Sherman Beck was part of AFRICOBRA for a brief period, signaling the group’s organic, fluid potential. Founded by five individuals...

    Sherman Beck was part of AFRICOBRA for a brief period, signaling the group’s organic, fluid potential. Founded by five individuals in 1968, the group would expand to a full ten (Beck included) in 1969, to coincide with the drafting of the group’s manifesto, Ten in Search of a Nation, and the group’s traveling museum debut, AFRICOBRA 1: Ten in Search of a Nation. Though Beck would later leave in 1970, not long after the exhibition had debuted at the Studio Museum in Harlem, his influence was an indelible part of AFRICOBRA.


    Beck’s work has a depth and spiritual essence existing outside of language. His choice to not use text, or even title his initial works, set him apart from the group in one sense, though, his work still feels essentially connected to the AFRICOBRA motifs: The frontality of the figures directly address the viewer, ignoring the illusory tradition of European painting painting traditions in favor of clarity of form and high visibility. Paradoxically, despite the high clarity, the piece also has an almost mysterious atmosphere to its various forms emerging from the smoky color of the background.

     

    The mixture of styles used to render the faces, in combination with the pure abstraction of the geometric and curvilinear forms, is an outstanding illustration of AFRICOBRA’s “Mimesis at Midpoint,” ideal. The search for balance between representation and abstraction was poetically expressed by Jeff Donaldson in the essay for AFRICOBRA’s Studio Museum debut: “Images that mark the spot where the real and the overreal, the plus and the minus, the abstract and the concrete - the reet and the replete meet.” To be more precise in the case of Beck’s painting, the composition allows for easy comparison between the mask forms and the realistic human face, as well as the mask-forms and the geometric passages around them. This elegantly brings to light a continuity between the two extreme ends, and helps to negotiate a space where they and their midpoint can exist simultaneously.