May 192024
 

Ann Schaumburger, “Silver Moon in Darkened Sky House”, 2023, Flashe on wood

Ann Schaumburger

Ann Schaumburger

The three exhibitions currently on view at A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn all focus on homes in unique ways. In the first gallery, Ann Schaumburger’s paintings of houses for New Work continue her exploration of color.

From the gallery-

For over fifty years, Schaumburger has used the house as a basic structure—a scaffold—for exploring how colors interact with one another. Schaumburger builds her houses with blocks of four pigments, using stencil brushes and tape to fill each house with modular forms. Influenced by the theories of Josef Albers, Schaumburger’s approach to color is meticulous yet playful. Different colors dazzle and dance when placed in proximity, creating a sense of surprise.

The paintings in this new body of work depart from Schaumburger’s earlier explorations in one key detail: the houses are now mounted on wheels. This choice was inspired by Schaumburger’s reading of the biography of Henry David Thoreau, whose family had attached wheels to their domicile, allowing them to transport the house across different sites in Concord, Massachusetts. “The idea of taking a solid house, attached to the ground, and letting it roll away,” Schaumburger says, “seems both comical and deeply suggestive of our times.”

Schaumburger has described her color choices as an attempt to “solve an aesthetic problem.” Yet the work is not entirely abstract. Titles like Forest House Under Summer Sky and Moonscape Moving House gesture toward the fact that certain color relationships become evocative of different seasons, places, and times of day. All of the paintings in the exhibition feature a crescent or small globe in the upper left or right quadrant. Sometimes, this globe is rendered in metallic gold or bronze, recalling the sun. Other times, it is a lunar silver. The round shape of the globe mirrors the house’s circular wheels. Just as the earth rotates around the sun, the wheels rotate around their own axles, allowing the house to move.

The wheeled house becomes a spirited metaphor for Schaumburger’s practice. Dynamic rather than stationary, it embodies the liveliness and energy of Schaumburger’s color choices, as well as the open-ended nature of her process.

Roberta Dorsett’s photos for Sleepwalking explore isolation and uneasiness in her family’s suburban home.

Roberta Dorsett, “Sleepwalking”

Roberta Dorsett, “Sleepwalking”

Roberta Dorsett, “Sleepwalking”

From the gallery-

Dorsett’s Sleepwalking is a series of photographs examining isolation in the suburbs and how a sense of danger often accompanies seemingly idyllic environments. The work depicts three women, Dorsett’s aunt, her cousin, and Dorsett herself, occupying the shared space of a suburban home in Connecticut. Tension arises from the camera’s interaction with the women. The camera acts as an intrusive person, an interloper, and a voyeur as it captures the women in moments of discomfort and vulnerability.

In Dorsett’s previous work, she took on the role of family historian, photographing moments of in-betweenness that result in candid and uncontrived images. Her obsession with taking photographs of her family is driven by their lack of extant family albums or other visual documentation. Because of the family’s socioeconomic status, photography was considered a luxury and only done for special occasions. Moreover, Dorsett’s mother had to leave behind her family’s photographic history when she immigrated from Jamaica to the United States.

Dorsett initially intended Sleepwalking to be a straightforward documentation of her aunt and cousin’s experience as first-time Black homeowners. But she found herself drawn into the project’s narrative and began photographing her family in a more constructed and story-driven way, drawing inspiration from slasher and horror films. Dorsett captures the visceral thrills of these types of films by continuing to utilize her family to explore the concepts of voyeurism and anxiety. The single-family home, once a symbol of milestone achievement, now becomes a surreal site of both safety and terror. As she stood behind and in front of the camera, registering the uneasiness and distress of these three women inside their home, Dorsett dreamed up a distorted reality and asked herself, “Am I awake or sleepwalking?”

Finally, Denisse Griselda Reyes multimedia installation for Did you have a hard time finding me?  explores home and identity using a combination of original artwork and family archives.

Denisse Griselda Reyes, “Did you have a hard time finding me?

Denisse Griselda Reyes

From the gallery-

Featuring short films and familial ephemera alongside a new body of paintings, this exhibition humorously meditates on questions of self-formation, reparative representation, and archival preservation, inviting us to dwell in the absurdity these ambitions unintentionally generate. This is Reyes’s first solo exhibition in New York City.

Presenting what Reyes has called a “maximalist constellation of memory,” the exhibition juxtaposes materials from their family archives with paintings and multimedia projections within an installation space that recalls, yet does not perfectly reproduce, the domestic interiors of Reyes’s family. Anchoring this exhibition is a short film that ties together two threads. First, the border crossings of Reyes’s grandmother Anita that were necessitated by the peril of the Salvadoran Civil War, and this history’s impact on Reyes’s mother. Second, the queer dating life of Reyes’s indignant and savvy alter-ego, Griselda. Part-narrator, part-drag-persona, part-survival-strategy, Griselda offers Reyes a means to dictate the terms of their own representation against the expectations that constrict queer Latinx artists in the United States. Still, Griselda is also beholden to identitarian demands. Reyes allows their avatar to straddle the line of spectacle, flirting with failure, acknowledging that self-formation might be an impossible endeavor. By juxtaposing Griselda’s exploits with the narrative of their grandmother, Reyes interrogates whether familial, social, and historical processes have the final word on what generates a self.

Reyes has produced Griselda as a mediating figure—one who negotiates their own identity between femininity and non-binary gender, and who personifies the absurdity of any singular narrative of origin. In its plenitude and play, the exhibition exceeds the ostensible facticity of the familial and historical archive. Featuring new paintings that hazily recreate family photographs, a vitrine full of childhood teeth that parodies genres of museal presentation, screens that toggle between home videos and the simulation of archival footage, and striking blue-green walls that recall the past domestic spaces of Reyes’s family in El Salvador, the exhibition transforms processes of preservation into acts of mythmaking. The exhibition is less a recreation of the artist’s family’s domiciles than a space of critical reflection and ambiguity. Guests are invited to join in this meditation—and may find their own notions of selfhood implicated as a result.

These exhibitions close 5/19/24.

Mar 202024
 

Akron Soul Train supports local artists through a residency program, exhibitions, and a shop in the front of the gallery which sells their work. Currently the gallery is showing work by Matthew Kurtz (work seen above) and Thomas Smith (work pictured below). Both artists are approaching the environment in different and interesting ways. Several of Kurz’s video pieces are focused on his upcoming performance for the solar eclipse. His photographs, for which he’s created additions to scenes he finds, are charming- as is his sculpture- a piano that moves his natural additions when played.

From the gallery-

Performance artist Matthew B. Kurtz presents Drumroll for a Total Eclipse: A Preliminary Exhibition, a prelude to his upcoming live performance with this year’s solar eclipse. Kurtz’s work fuses place, nature, sound, rhythm, and movement to question the mystery of existence. With humor, curiosity, and in tandem with his surroundings, Drumroll explores the process of trying to understand wonder.

For his upcoming performance on April 8, 2024, Kurtz will invite an audience to celebrate the total eclipse. Collaborating with the cosmos, he will perform a drumroll before “totality” passes over Northeast Ohio and creates the natural phenomenon known as “the blackout.”

“When I engage with a site for an art piece, I consider its history, recontextualize its objects, and insert my identity through intuitive gestures. I was raised to believe that humans are supposed to connect the lines between their innate feelings and the unknown. Making art is [my] attempt to reclaim this existential directive. These experiences are documented so outside viewers can participate in my examination of ambiguities, systems, and the sublime.” — Matthew B. Kurtz

Kurtz is also a musician. Check out his Instagram and Bandcamp to listen to his 2021 album 107.

For Thomas Smith’s sculptures he creates natural environments within man-made structures and uses the results as a commentary on the growth and sustainability of suburban development.

From the gallery-

In SUBARIUM II reprise, Thomas Smith combines materials from big box stores with contained terrariums to generate a sense of security and quality. However, upon second look, the viewer may see past the façade of what may look safe to what is substandard. Perhaps it is even denying growth and positive change. Smith’s sculptures dare to ask questions about survival, public image, and the landscape of today.

“Akin to an ecosystem enclosed in a terrarium, my sculptures depict a vibrant but, ultimately, unsustainable artificial environment. As plants within the terrarium grow, competition for space intensifies, turning the once-comfortable space into a struggle for survival. The metaphor extends to suburban America, where curated living conditions prioritize aesthetics over functionality, reflecting an impermanent American Dream.”

— Thomas Smith

 

Both of these exhibitions close 3/23/24.​

Feb 292024
 

Today’s throwback is to Jenson Leonard’s solo exhibition Workflow, at Wood Street Galleries in Pittsburgh, from the beginning of February.

From the gallery about the work-

Workflow, the first institutional solo exhibition of artist Jenson Leonard, centers on a titular film that explores the velocity and momentum of Blackness as it relates to the philosophical concept of acceleration—the notion that the only way out of capitalism is through its intensification.

In Workflow, a spectral Michael Jackson Halloween mask recites a surrealistic quarterly earnings reports. Building on a 2017 essay by artist Aria Dean titled “Notes on Blacceleration,” the short film centers on the ways in which the Black subject grapples with its commodified status within the labor market despite—or, resultant of—its own history as a commodity, stemming back to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Completed during Leonard’s residency at Pioneer Works in 2021, the video utilizes uncanny humor as a mechanism to expose the shared grammars inherent in Afro-pessimism and speculative finance.

Within the exhibition, the film repeats simultaneously across two grids of computer monitors situated on ergonomic desks that flank the gallery, mimicking the workstations that can be found ubiquitously across stock trading floors and financial institutions. Sculptures modeled after computer keyboards and mouses are displayed on the desks, each rendered inoperable by concentric riffs that symbolize the erratic transformations caused by the flows of capital. The appearance of Jackson represents a transmogrification of its own; whereas many have aligned the controversial pop icon’s bleached skin and surgical procedures with Black self-hatred, Leonard positions his bodily modifications as a radical rupture from racial paradigms of being.

In Leonard’s own words, “Workflow is defined as the sequence of industrial, administrative, or other processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion. My film seeks to disabuse notions of completion, whether it be completion of the human, the nation state, or civil society. As Dean notes, Blackness is ‘always already accelerationist’ via its incongruence with Western humanism, a wrench thrown into the locomotive gears of ‘capital and subjecthood.’ Her essay prompts us to look toward the way that the Black has been historically constructed outside of the human, as coterminous with the slave. Slavery therefore represents a kind of proto-automation, a mass forced coercion of labor, and the Blacks’ transition from object to subject calls for a reappraisal of accelerationist ideas about the (non)human entity and its revolutionary potential.”

The artist continues, “There is something about going to work—the repetition of it—that gets inscribed at an epigenetic level, as an everyday, embodied violence. From there, I thought about the panoptic workplace (open air plan, transparent yet closely surveilled, management that does not have to be in the room to be monitoring you), the fetish of efficiency (ergonomic mouse and keyboards so you can work longer), biometric data of a labor force (fingerprint and facial scans to help reduce repeat processing tasks). All of these methods to maximize profits and production can be traced back to methods worked out and perfected in the cotton and sugar cane fields hundreds of years prior.”

The text from the video was included on one of the gallery walls (image above) but I’ve included it below as well as it is definitely worth reading.

“Looking out across the macro- Panoptic eyes are everywhere. Predictive models rendered bilious, You are scalable, You contain platitudes. Clean and renewable, black from the waste management down. These are micro-credentials too big to fail. Angel investors watch over you, guide you through your webinar. You are green with infrastructure. A Nick Land acknowledgment. A multiprocession of the tiniest micropixels in all of the Anglosphere. Plan your obsolescence. Chitin’ circuitry courses through you. Wayward modulation thrumming, throbbing like an old techno spiritual. A Self driving mythology Keloid optimized. Upload speeds faster than Drapetomania. A contactless, decentralized, hands free accumulation. The base salary determines the superstructure of your beast of burden of proof of concept. Perfection is the enemy of egress. Pay the heap of flesh no mind, live in the nanosecond. Fake it till you’re skeuomorphic. You’re more than the sum of your outsourced manufacturing components. Know your neural net worth. Walk with your overhead held high. There’s never been more exciting growth in the excrement sector! It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to unsubscribe from my Onlyfans. Rather, If you can’t handle me at my Linkedin you don’t deserve me at my locked in chastity. Will you risk it all to manage my assets? Are you willing to do my taxes from the back? Tax to mouth? From the overton window, to the overton wall, to the overton sweat drop down my overton balls. Going, going… Zong.”

Feb 282024
 

The images above are from Brianna Lynn Hernandez’s exhibition Anticipatory|Después, one of three currently on view at Spaces gallery in Cleveland. Her moving video and sculptural installations focus on themes of end-of-life-care, grief, and mourning.

From the gallery about the work-

Anticipatory|Después visualizes the anticipatory grief of caregiving and the process of dying through performative videos and photography. Each piece shares the physical and emotional state of the dying, the caregiver, and at times the two concurrently. Ranging from fast and aggressive dance-like movement to slow and meditative contemplation, the enacted scenes capture a range of emotions and thought processes of understanding and untangling the intertwined traumas of caregiving and acute grief.

As her mother’s caregiver in the final year of her life, Hernández translated her personal experience of grief into her studio practice in order to combat the isolation and shame many grievers face in our death-avoidant culture. Through several series including Anticipatory | Después, the works aim to normalize honest conversations of grief and act as an entry point into education on end-of-life planning. Hernandez states that while we will all eventually experience the pains of loss, preparing for the logistics of death and nurturing supportive communities for grievers can provide comfort and lessen the unnecessary stressors attached to loss.

A Botanical Conversation, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou’s exhibition, explores environmental, identity, and cultural issues using the natural world as a backdrop. The two large murals are of an enlarged palm tree cell as seen through a microscope.

The exhibition statement by curator Conor Moynihan-

The palm tree is a central component of Mehdi-Georges Lahlou’s practice, a motif he has explored to highlight themes of exoticism, migration, and cultural heritage. Recently, Mehdi- Georges Lahlou has used the palm tree to explore themes of colonization, climate change, and history. While members of the Arecaceae family- palm trees- can be found in many parts of the world, they are not found here in Ohio. Unless, of course, you go to the Cleveland Botanical Garden as Mehdi-Georges Lahlou did for his residency at Spaces.

For A Botanical Conversation, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou has created four new video works using the Cleveland Botanical Garden as the setting and backdrop. While many of the plants visible in these works come from elsewhere across the world, his collaborators Diwe Augustin-Glave, CHIMI x Nature, and Dr Lady J are based in Cleveland. In many ways, this body of work imagines the conversations that might happen if the flora in the Cleveland Botanical Garden could speak, sing, chant, and educate, and then transports this dialogue in the gallery space.

Microscopy, the mural that extends over two walls in the gallery, serves a double function. Based on the cell of a dead palm tree, it enlarges from an unusual perspective a motif central to the exhibition. And it also serves as a container and a frame for the four videos. This conversation emerges within the boundaries of the palm tree cell, transporting this exhibition into the botanical garden.

Characteristic of his practice, Mehdi-Georges Lahlou draws our attention to how plants and botanical gardens become ways to highlight histories of colonization, compulsory heterosexuality, and climate disaster all contained under canopies of glass. Yet, especially through the performances of Diwe Augustin-Glave, CHIMI x Nature, and Dr Lady J, they also celebrate new queer ecologies and configurations, melding African and African American musical traditions, queer theory and scholarship, ecological history, and environmental justice towards new ends.

A Botanical Conversation is a cacophony. It asks us to listen carefully to hear all the voices that make up this chorus.

Aaron D. Williams has created a video installation, ESCAPING AAWFUL LAND, that continues the work created for his previous Aawful Friends exhibition. This new creation addresses the issue of anxiety and the power of collaboration as a way to combat it.

From the gallery-

ESCAPING AAWFUL LAND is an immersive exhibition that builds upon the success of Aaron D. William’s previous Aawful Friends showcase at Zygote Press. This new showcase explores the creative journey between Williams and collaborating artists. By delving into anxiety through art, we seek to acknowledge its profound impact on our collective well-being. We must address anxiety as a shared concern and foster a future community that supports and uplifts one another. Through individual and collective artistic expression, we can overcome the gravity of the situation and find healing and unity. In our fast-paced society, anxiety affects people from all walks of life, taking various forms and manifesting in relentless thoughts, paralyzing fear, and an overwhelming sense of unease. Despite its grip, we encourage you to embrace your inner courage and take the leap. The installation will be held at The Vault in SPACES gallery, where you will be transported to AAWFUL LAND – a hidden realm within our city accessible only to those who know it exists. Guided by the mysterious GUARDIAN, you will journey through its enigmatic mysteries. As you step into AAWFUL LAND, you will be captivated by a mesmerizing video presentation. Witness AAWFUL AARON engaged in a gripping game against a formidable opponent, reminding us that we have the inner strength to persevere and pursue our dreams even amidst anxiety. In Aawful Land, anxiety takes on tangible forms and bursts forth in vibrant colors. CREATURE is at the heart of our narrative, an overbearing shadowy figure personifying anxiety and serving as the central antagonist. Aawful Aaron is locked in a fierce battle against CREATURE, desperately seeking escape from this hidden world. However, a subtle hint suggests that Aaron may need assistance to overcome his challenges. Within Aawful Land, a group of trapped artists may hold the key to their collective liberation. Together, they offer a glimmer of hope, representing collaboration’s power in overcoming Aawful Land’s perils. This work serves as a proof-of-concept or work-in-progress, paving the way for Aawful Friends II. In the forthcoming installation, we will feature this newfound group of artists, showcasing their collective efforts and unveiling the transformative power of collaboration. Their shared experience demonstrates that collective creativity and expression can lead to freedom and transcendence. ANXIETY IS HARD – TAKE YOUR SHOT ANYWAY.

All three of these exhibitions close 3/1/24.

Nov 152023
 

The images above are from SUPERFLEX: This Is The Tip Of The Iceberg, GENERATOR: USF Contemporary Art Museum’s inaugural exhibition. The two part exhibition includes a sculptural installation and the mesmerizing interactive animation Vertical Migration, in which viewers encounter a siphonophore that reacts to their movements.

From the gallery about the exhibition-

This Is The Tip Of The Iceberg emerges from SUPERFLEX’s in-depth research into the deep sea, biodiversity, and the climate. The exhibition immerses viewers in two parallel and interconnected realms, separated by a curtain which acts as an imaginary filter between land and sea. Passing through the curtain brings visitors from a terrestrial space unsettled by rising water to the ocean’s dark depths, to meet one of the most important cleaners of the ocean, the siphonophore. Relatives of the jellyfish, siphonophores bring between two and six billion tons of carbon a year from the surface down to the seabed, where it is stored. This Is The Tip Of The Iceberg offers an opportunity to encounter this unfamiliar species, prompting reflection on the impacts and consequences of climate change, especially relevant to Florida and its coastal communities, and encouraging humans to imagine a future defined by interspecies living and ecological coexistence.

For a more detailed discussion of the work, the gallery has created an exhibition catalogue that can be viewed online or downloaded as a pdf.

Vertical Migration was originally created in 2021 by SUPERFLEX for ART 2030  and was projected on the United Nations Secretariat Building in NYC during the 76th United Nations General Assembly.

SUPERFLEX’s statement on the project-

The sea is not an abyss. It teems with an almost unimaginable array of life. Every night, the largest biological migration on Earth takes place, as trillions of creatures travel closer to the surface to feed. Some of these animals, like shrimp, are well-known. Others, like siphonophores—relatives of jellyfish—are unfamiliar: varying wildly in size, from the slightness of a fingernail to the length of a whale, they look like nothing that we find on land.

How does it feel to be one of these creatures? To explore this question, SUPERFLEX designed a computer-generated siphonophore and created an animated film, Vertical Migration, depicting its ascent. At first, the film mechanically circles the creature, getting closer and closer while giving the audience a view of it from all angles. But eventually the perspective shifts, the camera’s movements become more fluid, and the viewer sees the world from the perspective of the siphonophore.

Unsettling our perceptions of scale and otherness, Vertical Migration is an intimate encounter with a life form that bears no resemblance to human beings, though we share a planet, an ecosystem, and a future. Because of sea-level rise, humans will also be migrating vertically in the coming centuries, to higher elevations and raised buildings. The siphonophore’s story is our story. Though we can never experience its journey through the pitch-black ocean depths, we can shift our perspective to recognize that we’re connected, that our actions affect each other, and that we share a common fate.

For a look at the work in motion, below is the trailer from ART 2030.

About SUPERFLEX from their website-

SUPERFLEX was founded in 1993 by Jakob Fenger, Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, and Rasmus Rosengren Nielsen. Conceived as an expanded collective, SUPERFLEX has consistently worked with a wide variety of collaborators, from gardeners to engineers to audience members. Engaging with alternative models for the creation of social and economic organisation, works have taken the form of energy systems, beverages, sculptures, copies, hypnosis sessions, infrastructure, paintings, plant nurseries, contracts, and public spaces.

Working in and outside the physical location of the exhibition space, SUPERFLEX has been engaged in major public space projects since their award-winning Superkilen opened in 2011. These projects often involve participation, involving the input of local communities, specialists, and children. Taking the idea of collaboration even further, recent works have involved soliciting the participation of other species. SUPERFLEX has been developing a new kind of urbanism that includes the perspectives of plants and animals, aiming to move society towards interspecies living. For SUPERFLEX, the best idea might come from a fish.

This exhibition closes 11/22/23.

Jun 232023
 


Closing tomorrow, 6/24, is Cross Communication, an exhibition of Chris Burden’s relics, films, video works, and other materials that document his early performances at Gagosian’s 75th and Park location in NYC.

Walking into the gallery and hearing one of his TV commercials in which he reads off the names of famous artists followed by his own name (Chris Burden Promo (1976)), is a humorous introduction to Burden’s often audacious work. Poem for LA from 1975, which follows with the messages- “SCIENCE HAS FAILED”, “HEAT IS LIFE” and “TIME KILLS” still resonates today.

Check out the video below to see the commercials and hear Burden discuss the work.

Other videos included have him crawling across glass; lying between two sheets of glass that are on set on fire (Icarus); and one of his most infamous- being shot in the arm (Shoot, 1971). The less outrageous works are great too, including Disappearing (1971), pictured above.

For more on the artist, the excellent documentary Burden, by Richard Dewey and Timothy Marrinan, follows his career from these earlier works to the large scale sculptures like Metropolis II and Urban Light that came later. Both of these installations are on view in Los Angeles at LACMA.

Jun 212023
 

These days it’s hard not to think sometimes about the end of the world. But have you started putting together a plan? Thought about who would be good in a crisis? Put together a pros and cons list of your friends, family and acquaintances?  Wondered if things would actually be better?

Finn Schult’s current exhibition Everything You’ve Ever Wanted at Gallery 114 at Hillsborough Community College’s Ybor City location, presents an interesting take on the current state of things for those with the end on their minds.  It includes paintings, animal traps, an ipod and walkie talkie, as well as a book containing photos, prepper information, journal entries, drawings, and some pros and cons for the people in his life, including his mom. The paintings are titled “L’appel Du Vide” a French phrase meaning “the call of the void” or the urge to jump when you are standing in a high place.

From the gallery’s website-

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted is a solo exhibition of new work by Finn Schult (b. 1993, Naples, FL) reflecting on the inevitability of the end of the world and the fantasy of apocalypse as catalyst for utopia. Schult’s multimedia series exists as fragments, sketches and interludes distilled from an otherwise deranged web of theories. At times, the artworks presented in Gallery114@HCC feel terroristic, violent and unbearably bleak–at other times, they remind us of the beauty inherent in loss, longing and love. Schult’s work yearns for a world that doesn’t yet exist and mourns for a world that isn’t yet gone, answering the cry, “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?” with “The only way out is through.”

There is also a video in the exhibition, Where r u rn? which mixes a variety of imagery with a bit of author and mystic Terence McKenna’s 1999 final interview where he discusses “the fire in the madhouse at the end of time”- the possibility of the craziness in the world being a sign of the dying of our species.

This exhibition closes on 6/22/23.

Jun 192023
 

Robert Pruitt, “A Song for Travelers”

Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition, A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration, is an opportunity to learn about an important period of American history, and see it interpreted through the eyes of twelve contemporary artists.

From the museum’s website-

Between 1915 and 1970, in the wake of racial terror during the post-Reconstruction period, millions of Black Americans fled from their homes to other areas within the South and to other parts of the country. This remarkable movement of people, known as the Great Migration, caused a radical shift in the demographic, economic, and sociopolitical makeup of the United States. A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration brings together twelve contemporary artists to consider the complex impact of this period on their lives, as well as on social and cultural life, with newly commissioned works ranging from large-scale installation, immersive film, and tapestry to photography, painting, and mixed media. Featured artists are Akea Brionne, Mark Bradford, Zoë Charlton, Larry W. Cook, Torkwase Dyson, Theaster Gates Jr., Allison Janae Hamilton, Leslie Hewitt, Steffani Jemison, Robert Pruitt, Jamea Richmond-Edwards, and Carrie Mae Weems.

A Movement in Every Direction presents a departure from traditional accounts of the Great Migration, which are often understood through a lens of trauma, and reconceptualizes them through stories of self-possession, self-determination, and self-examination. While the South did lose generations of courageous, creative, and productive Black Americans due to racial and social inequities, the exhibition expands the narrative by introducing people who stayed in, or returned to, the region during this time. Additionally, the Brooklyn Museum’s presentation centers Brooklyn as another important site in the Great Migration, highlighting historical and contemporary census data about the borough’s migration patterns. Visitors are encouraged to share their own personal and familial stories of migration through an oral history “pod” available in the exhibition galleries.

About Robert Pruitt’s work, pictured above, from the museum’s wall information plaque-

“A Song for Travelers” celebrates the individual and Black collective experiences that have shaped the histories of rural East Texas and Houston’s Third, Fourth, and Fifth Wards. In this drawing-based on an early 1970’s photograph of a reunion of the artist’s family in Dobbin, Texas -sixteen people gather around a seated central figure about to embark on a journey. During the creation of this work, the masked traveler became a stand-in for Pruitt, who had recently left his hometown of Houston.

Pruitt often draws inspiration from his and others’ family photographs while examining historical events that have impacted Houston’s Black communities. Wearing costumes and adorned with items that reference various aspects of Black culture found in schools, social clubs, and religious spaces, the figures in the work reflect the numerous networks that remained and flourished in the South. Merging the Great Migration period with the present, Pruitt centers the Black neighborhoods across the southern region that served as safe havens and rich sites of cultural expression for migrants during the twentieth century. This link extends to today as many Black Americans leave the northern and western cities that once attracted their elders and return to the South.

Allison Janae Hamilton’s A House Called Florida, below, takes the viewer on a journey through part of northern Florida’s natural beauty.

From the museum’s information plaque about the video installation-

Allison Janae Hamilton produced the three-channel film installation A House Called Florida in her hometown region of northern Florida. The breathtaking landscapes of Apalachicola Bay and the swampy Blackwater Lakes of Florida’s Big Bend frame musicians, dancers, motorists, a Victorian house, and a slow resounding rhythm.

The artist references French Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar’s 1946 short story “Casa Tomada.” (“House Taken Over”) about ghosts that slowly take over a home and eventually push out its owners, room by room. Hamilton echoes the story’s theme of displacement with two regally dressed, spirit-like protagonists who move about the house engaging in mark-making and ritual performances. Hamilton’s film pays tribute to the Black Floridians who remained in the Red Hills and the Forgotten Coast regions, despite the racial violence and environmental precariousness they faced throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Carrie Mae Weems‘ personal and moving contribution is in two parts- a series of photographs and a unique digital video installation.

The museum’s description of the work-

Carrie Mae Weems explores a painful family story: the disappearance of her grandfather Frank Weems, a tenant farmer and union activist who was attacked by a white mob in Earle Arkansas, in 1936. Presumed dead, he narrowly escaped and made his way to Chicago on foot, never again reuniting with his family. Frank Weems may have followed the North Star to Chicago. Weems’s series of seven prints, The North Star, makes an apt metaphor for Frank’s life. In Leave! Leave Now! Weems conjures the figure of her grandfather with a Pepper’s Ghost, a late nineteenth-century form of illusion first used in theater. By weaving historical events with fragmented family stories, photographs, poetry, music, and interviews, the artist reveals the tragedy of her grandfather’s disappearance and the aftermath.

This exhibition will close on Sunday, June 25th, 2023.

Apr 282023
 

Leo Villareal’s exhibition at PACE, Interstellar, consists of fifteen mesmerizing, colorful sculptures that are a joy to watch.

From the PACE website-

Villareal’s practice is part of a lineage of artistic engagement that explores the connections between nature, technology, and human experience. The artist’s upcoming exhibition with Pace in New York will feature wall-based sculptures, including works from his new Nebulae series. Emitting hypnotic, diffused light, the Nebulae sculptures are informed by celestial imagery and evoke the dynamism of space through interplays of color and shape. Villareal creates unique and specific sequencing for each artwork through code that is generative and visceral, like nature itself. As such, no two sculptures are the same.

This presentation at Pace in New York will also include works realized at a scale that Villareal hasn’t explored in nearly a decade: two-foot square wall-mounted sculptures. These intimately scaled artworks, paired with their glass enclosures, encourage focused readings of Villareal’s abstractions. Like his larger works, the two-foot pieces invite viewers to consider the boundary separating physical and digital worlds.

This exhibition is on view until 4/29/23.

Apr 282023
 

Installation by Molly A. Duff

Work by Trinity Oribio (left) and Manon VanScoder (videos on right)

Currently on view at The USF Contemporary Art Museum is SOMEDAY YOU’LL HAVE TO SAY IT OUT LOUD, an exhibition of eight students graduating with MFA degrees from the USF School of Art and Art History.

The artists included are Molly Duff, Kai Holyoke, Caitlin Nobilé, Trinity Oribio, Rachel Treide, Manon VanScoder, Alicia Watkinson, and Willow Wells.

For the artists’ statements about their work, as well as more information on the exhibition, the museum has produced this PDF.

The show will be on view until 5/6/2023.

Installation by Molly A. Duff, another view

Alicia Watkinson, “Notations in Passing II”, 2023, plywood, lightbulbs, ceramic bases, timers. Duration of light set daily according to the previous day’s activities and observations

Alicia Watkinson, “Notations in Passing II”, 2023 (detail)

Photo transfer on glass by Rachel Treide

Still from video by Rachel Treide

Caitlin Nobilé, “The gap in the door”, 2023 triptych, acrylic on wood

Willow Wells, “Whispers”, 2023, oil painting on panel

Trinidad Oribio “Untitled”, 2023 oil on canvas

Trinidad Oribio, “La Trinidad”, 2023, archival pigment print

Video installation by Manon VanScoder

Manon VanScoder, “each day is an endless scroll”, 2023

Kai Holyoke “Paradise Lakes”, 2023

Kai Holyoke “Paradise Lakes”, 2023