Hammer Museum: Stories of Almost Everyone
JANUARY 28 – MAY 6, 2018
Stories of Almost Everyone is an exhibition about the willingness to believe the stories that are conveyed by works of contemporary art.
In recent years, a continued emphasis on an art of ideas—inherited from the legacies of conceptual and post-conceptual artistic practice—has sought to further develop strategies in the service of communicating social, political, and economic histories. To varying degrees, there has been a renewed faith in the abilities of artworks to convey meaning and facilitate supposedly authentic experiences, while artists have simultaneously retained tendencies rooted in mysticism, fiction, and the arts of deception.
Whether they are borrowed from the everyday world or sculpted into new forms, art objects are often tasked with approximating the narrative descriptions that accompany them. By producing mediating texts and explanatory labels, museums participate in this activity as much as artists, who have come to consider forms of writing and language as integral parts of their work. It has become increasingly difficult, in some instances, to decipher between artistic intentionality and curatorial interpretation, creating a space where language abounds and the act of looking becomes intricately tied to the act of reading. Artists and institutions have adopted the role of speaking on behalf of reticent artifacts and the otherwise inert byproducts of material culture.
This exhibition is organized around the premise that objects of contemporary art possess narrative histories and inner lives that the conventions of display can only, at best, approximate. Through the work of over thirty international artists, Stories of Almost Everyone seeks to address the means by which a broad range of contemporary artworks and artifacts traffic in meaning and mythology in equal measure. The challenge that textual mediation poses to the inherent muteness of objects provides a framework for thinking through the potential for ideas facilitated by art to expand into other realms of thought. The varying artistic approaches brought together for this exhibition are as equally emboldened by a faith in objects to communicate their inherent value, as they are skeptical of the conditions of museological mediation and art’s promise to convey meaning.
Stories of Almost Everyone is organized by Aram Moshayedi, curator, with Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi, curatorial assistant.
Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc (b. 1977); Lutz Bacher; Darren Bader (b. 1978); Fayçal Baghriche (b. 1972); Kasper Bosmans (b. 1990); Carol Bove (b. 1971); Andrea Büttner (b. 1972); Banu Cenneto?lu (b. 1970); Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda (b. 1976; 1977); Fiona Connor (b. 1981); Isabelle Cornaro (b. 1974); Martin Creed (b. 1968) ; Cian Dayrit (b. 1989); Jason Dodge (b. 1969); Latifa Echakhch (b. 1974); Haris Epaminonda (b. 1980); Geoffrey Farmer (b. 1967); Lara Favaretto (b. 1973); Ceal Floyer (b. 1968); Ryan Gander (b. 1976); Mario García Torres (b. 1975); gerlach en koop; Iman Issa (b. 1979); Hassan Khan (b. 1975); Kapwani Kiwanga (b. 1978); Mark Leckey (b. 1964); Klara Lidén (b. 1979); Jill Magid (b. 1973); Dave McKenzie (b. 1977); Shahryar Nashat (b. 1975); Henrik Olesen (b. 1967); Christodoulos Panayiotou (b. 1978); Amalia Pica (b. 1978); Michael Queenland (b. 1970); Willem de Rooij (b. 1969); Miljohn Ruperto (b. 1971); Tino Sehgal (b. 1976); Mungo Thomson (b. 1969); Antonio Vega Macotela (b. 1980); and Danh Vo (b. 1975).
Talk: The Artist & the Publishers
Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna
January 28, 6:00PM
A roundtable to explore the relationship between an artist and a publisher, and the numerous processes of production that go behind the making of books.
Participants: Jonathan Monk in conversation with Christophe Boutin & Michèle Didier
The multi-part exhibition project Publishing as an Artistic Toolbox: 1989–2017 explores the potentials of publishing – in the form of books, magazines, journals, artistic interventions, websites – as a particular medium and context both to circulate information, knowledge – and to produce art. The project is composed of different parts, sections, and components. Apart from the material exhibits on display, there will be a series of talks with artists, publishers, and graphic designers to discuss artistic publishing activities.
Artist Talk: Giorgio Griffa at Camden Arts Centre
THURSDAY JANUARY 25
5:45 – 6:30PM
Giorgio Griffa discusses his exhibition with Martin Clark, Director of Camden Arts Centre.
Giorgio Griffa (b. 1936) lives and works in Turin, Italy. Recent solo exhibitions include: Giorgio Griffa: The 1970s, Casey Kaplan, New York, USA (2016); Works on Paper, Fondazione Giuliani, Rome, Italy (2016); Giorgio Griffa, Fondation Vincent Van Gogh Arles, Arles, France (2016); Quasi Tutto, Serralves Museum, Porto, Portugal (2015); Painting into the Fold, Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, Norway (2015); and A Retrospective 1968 – 2014, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva, Switzerland (2015). Griffa also recently exhibited at the Venice Biennale 57th International Art Exhibition, Viva Arte Viva; his third time at the Biennale following presentations in 1978 and 1980.
Double U.S. Book Launch of Duty Free Art and Supercommunity
January 24, 2018, 6:30 pm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
In collaboration with e-flux and Verso Books, the Guggenheim presents the U.S. launch of two recent Verso publications: Hito Steyerl’s Duty Free Art: Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War, a new volume of essays by the writer, filmmaker, and artist; and Supercommunity: Diabolical Togetherness Beyond Contemporary Art, a collection of essays, poems, short stories, and plays by artists and theorists selected from the eponymous 88-text issue of e-flux journal commissioned for the 56th Venice Biennale. The evening will feature Steyerl in conversation with media theorist Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, a presentation by artist and Supercommunity contributing author Liam Gillick, and a one-act play by co-editors Julieta Aranda and Brian Kuan Wood.
In Duty Free Art, Berlin-based filmmaker and writer Hito Steyerl wonders how we can appreciate, or even make, art in the present age. What can we do when arms manufacturers sponsor museums, and some of the world’s most valuable artworks are used as a fictional currency in a global futures market that has nothing to do with the works themselves? Can we distinguish between creativity and the digital white noise that bombards our everyday lives? Exploring artifacts as diverse as video games, WikiLeaks files, the proliferation of spam, and political actions, she exposes paradoxes within globalization, political economies, visual culture, and the status of art production.
Over a four-month span in 2015, e-flux journal’s editors published Supercommunity. The ongoing issue was presented daily both online and on site at the 56th Venice Biennale. A selection of these essays, plays, poems, and short stories chosen for the new book Supercommunity: Diabolical Togetherness Beyond Contemporary Art forms a cohesive collection tracing the negative collective that is the subject of contemporary life. These texts illuminate the ways in which art, the Internet, and globalization have shed their utopian guises yet persist as naked power in the face of apocalyptic ecological disaster and against the claims of the social commons.
Both titles published by Verso Books will be available at the event.
This program is free. RSVP for updates; admission will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis and is not guaranteed.
Liam Gillick: Industry and Intelligence: Contemporary Art Since 1820
December 4, 2017, 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
de Young Museum
The de Young Museum’s annual Bransten lecture presents noted Liam Gillick [who will] speak on his recent book, Industry and Intelligence: Contemporary Art Since 1820, around the topic of aesthetic breakthroughs in the 19th and 20th centuries as they interact with cultural and political change. Rather than simplistically linking revolutionary breakthroughs in the arts with larger social and cultural phenomenon, he writes a nuanced genealogy to help us appreciate contemporary art’s engagement with history even when it seems apathetic or blind to current events. From Courbet to Picasso, from Malevich to Warhol, it is accepted that art tracks the disruptions of industrialization, fascism, revolution, and war. Yet filtering the history of modern art only through catastrophic events cannot account for the subtle developments that lead to the profound confusion at the heart of contemporary art. Taking a broad view of artistic creation from 1820 to today, Gillick follows the response of artists to incremental developments in science, politics, and technology. The great innovations and dislocations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have their place in this timeline, but their traces are alternately amplified and diminished as Gillick moves through artistic reactions to liberalism, mass manufacturing, psychology, nuclear physics, automobiles, and a host of other advances. He intimately ties the origins of contemporary art to the social and technological adjustments of modern life, which artists struggled to incorporate truthfully into their works.
Liam Gillick (b.1964) deploys multiple forms to expose the new ideological control systems that emerged at the beginning of the 1990s. He has developed a number of key narratives that often form the engine for a body of work. Gillick’s work has been included in numerous important exhibitions including documenta and the Venice, Berlin and Istanbul Biennales – representing Germany in 2009 in Venice. Solo museum exhibitions have taken place at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Tate in London. Gillick’s work is held in many important public collections including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Guggenheim Museum in New York and Bilbao and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Over the last twenty five years Gillick has also been a prolific writer and critic of contemporary art – contributing to Artforum, October, Frieze and e-flux Journal. He is the author of a number of books including a volume of his selected critical writing. High profile public works include the British Government Home Office (Interior Ministry) building in London and the Lufthansa Headquarters in Frankfurt. Throughout this time Gillick has extended his practice into experimental venues and collaborative projects with artists including Philippe Parreno, Lawrence Weiner and Louise Lawler.
WE ARE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE REPRESENTATION OF JUDITH EISLER
Judith Eisler (b. 1962, Newark, NJ) paints cinematic close-ups sourced from her own photographs of paused film scenes. Primarily working with oil on canvas, Eisler directs our view to the visual optics of cinematic happenings, often indecipherable to the untrained eye. With an ongoing investigation of the formal properties of light, color and space, Eisler considers an image’s capacity to exist as both real and fictional. With a lifelong interest in film, often returning to the work of filmmakers such as Derek Jarman and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Eisler’s paintings range in subject matter from representational (as seen in “Margit” (2013), depicting an isolated facial crop of German actress Margit Carstensen in Fassbinder’s 1973 TV-movie World on a Wire) to abstract (as in “Headlights” (2015), sourced from Amos Poe’s 1984 film Alphabet City, in which a car is almost completely obscured by the shine of its high beams). Moments of action and manifestations of emotion are transmitted through a moving image, first through digital channels of screens and monitors, then to the artist’s photographs and finally to her paintings. Accessing an atmospheric space simultaneously static and fluid, the artist transforms and expands the original thematic plot from the captured mise en scène. The narrative shifts, and with that, our understanding of the image before us.
Eisler received her BFA from Cornell University in 1984. She has been exhibiting her work since 1995 at venues such as Hall Art Foundation/Schloss Derneburg Museum, Hanover, Germany; White Columns, New York; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Bass Museum, Miami, FL; Hayward Gallery, London; and Castello di Rivoli, Turin. In 2002, she was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Eisler is currently included in an exhibition at Kunsthalle, Vienna, on view through January 2018. Eisler is a professor at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria, and lives and works between Vienna, Austria and Warren, Connecticut. The artist’s first solo exhibition at Casey Kaplan is slated for September of 2018.
MoCA Detroit: FILM + MUSIC: THE DRAMASTICS ARE LOUD
FILM + MUSIC: THE DRAMASTICS ARE LOUD
Saturday, November 11, 8pm
Admission: Free ($5 suggested donation)
See Nathan Carter’s dioramas currently on view in Sonic Rebellion: Music as Resistance come to life during this highly entertaining short film which tells the story of four women who finish high school and start a punk band. The DRAMASTICS Are Loud was created, written, and directed entirely by Carter who also composed the music for the film. Immediately following the screening, the DRAMASTICS REVUE will do a live performance featuring music from the film.
JONATHAN MONK: NAME USED TO FILL SPACE | MÉLANGE, COLOGNE
NOVEMBER 9, 2017 — JANUARY 14, 2018
NATHAN CARTER | THE DRAMASTICS: A PUNK ROCK VICTORY TWISTER IN TEXAS | NASHER SCULPTURE CENTER, DALLAS
October 26, 2017 – January 28, 2018
Whitney Museum of American Art: Kevin Beasley | Fall 2018
Kevin Beasley (b. 1985, Lynchburg, VA) engages with the legacy of the American South through a new installation that centers on a cotton gin motor from Maplesville, Alabama. In operation from 1940 to 1973, the motor powered the gins that separated cotton seeds from fiber. Here, the New York-based artist uses it to generate sound as if it were a musical instrument, creating space for visual and aural contemplation. Through the use of customized microphones, soundproofing, and audio hardware, the installation divorces the physical motor from the noises it produces, enabling visitors to experience sight and sound as distinct. As an immersive experience, the work serves as a meditation on history, land, race, and labor. This is Beasley’s first solo exhibition at a New York museum, and his most ambitious work to date.
This exhibition is organized by Christopher Y. Lew, Nancy and Fred Poses Associate Curator, with Ambika Trasi, curatorial assistant.
No beginning / No end: Performance
In conjunction with the exhibition, Sin Principio / Sin Final, the Museum of Art of the National University of Colombia presents a collaboration between artist Mateo López and choreographer and dancer Lee Serle (Merbourne, Australia 1981).
Thursday October 26, 12PM, 5PM & Friday October 27, 12 PM
Frieze Magazine: Jordan Casteel Cover Feature Forthcoming
LIKE A MOTH TO A FLAME | OFFICINE GRANDI RIPARAZIONI & FONDAZIONE SANDRETTO RE REBAUDENGO
OPENING RECEPTION: NOVEMBER 3, 2017
NOVEMBER 3, 2017–JANUARY 14, 2018
OFFICINE GRANDI RIPARAZIONI, CORSO CASTELFIDARO, TORINO
FONDAZIONE SANDRETTO RE REBAUDENGO, VIA MODANE, TORINO
The wide-ranging survey exhibition Like a Moth to a Flame, curated by Tom Eccles and Mark Rappolt with Liam Gillick, will officially inaugurate the Visual Arts Program at the renovated OGR in Turin—a 20,000 square-meter arts and innovation center opening in the fall of 2017.
The show will explore the eternal compulsion to produce and to collect works of art, displaying “objects” ranging from a 2nd century BCE Egyptian sculpture to works created for the last Venice Biennale, drawn together from Turin’s most prominent collections of art and antiquities. The exhibition title derives from the answer to a riddle—In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni—attributed to Virgil, which is also the title of two artworks—one by French theorist Guy Debord and one by British artist Cerith Wyn Evans—that are included in the exhibition.
Like a Moth to a Flame offers a portrait of Turin and its engagement with the world through the collecting habits of the city and its citizens. Assembling these objects provides an overview of the enduring appeal of art: its ability to renew ideas and generate fresh discourse. With rebirth and renewal in mind, the exhibition exploits the coincidence of one birth and two anniversaries—the inauguration of OGR, the 25th anniversary of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo’s collection of contemporary art and the 60th anniversary of founding of the Situationist International following a meeting in Alba, not far from Turin.
The exhibition, with more than 50 major artworks and hundreds of individual objects from the collections of Turin, demonstrates the importance of private passions and individual obsessions which, over time, find their way into the civic realm and the public cultural life of the city.
Artists Announced for Liverpool Biennial
We are thrilled to announce the participation of gallery artists Kevin Beasley and Brian Jungen in the 10th Edition of the Liverpool Biennial in 2018.
The 10th edition of Liverpool Biennial, Beautiful world, where are you?, invites artists and audiences to reflect on a world of social, political and economic turmoil.
The artistic concept and title for Beautiful world, where are you? derives from a 1788 poem by the German poet Friedrich Schiller, later set to music by Austrian composer Franz Schubert in 1819. The years between the composition of Schiller’s poem and Schubert’s song saw great upheaval and profound change in Europe, from the French Revolution to the fall of the Napoleonic Empire. Today the poem continues to suggest a world gripped by deep uncertainty; a world of social, political and environmental turmoil. It can be seen as a lament but also as an invitation to reconsider our past, advancing a new sense of beauty that might be shared in a more equitable way.
The Biennial programme is presented in locations across Liverpool including public spaces and the city’s leading art venues: Bluecoat, FACT, Open Eye Gallery, Tate Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University’s Exhibition Research Lab, National Museums Liverpool, RIBA North, the Liverpool Playhouse, Victoria Gallery & Museum (University of Liverpool), and Blackburne House.
Liverpool Biennial 2018 is curated by Kitty Scott (Carol and Morton Rapp Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Gallery of Ontario) and Sally Tallant (Director, Liverpool Biennial) with the Liverpool Biennial team: Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey (Head of Production and International Projects), Sinéad McCarthy (Curator), Polly Brannan (Education Curator), and Joasia Krysa (Head of Research).
Harvard Graduate School of Design Rouse Visiting Artist Lecture: Liam Gillick
Monday, October 16, 2017 | 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Free & Open to the Public
Visual artist Liam Gillick will discuss his art practice and his recent book published by Columbia University Press, entitled Industry and Intelligence: Contemporary Art Since 1820. The book takes a broad view of artistic creation from 1820 to today as Gillick follows the response of artists to incremental developments in science, politics, and technology. The great innovations and dislocations of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have their place in this timeline, but their traces are alternately amplified and diminished as Gillick moves through artistic reactions to liberalism, mass manufacturing, psychology, nuclear physics, automobiles, and a host of other advances. He intimately ties the origins of contemporary art to the social and technological adjustments of modern life, which artists struggled to incorporate truthfully into their works.
La Freccia Arte About the Artist: Giorgio Griffa, Know the Unknowable
One of his 1972 exhibitions was called I Don’t Represent Anything, I Paint. Since the 1960’s he has been using paintbrushes, pasting brushes, faint or bright colours on rough canvas without frame, which he unrolls on the floor and fills with markings, one after the other. The art of Giorgio Griffa, born in 1936, reveals itself through drawn metaphors, and illustrates bits of reality through arabesques, lines, and numbers that he defines as “suggestions.” His artistic analysis pursues the mystery of poetry and of life, with the goal of increasing knowledge of the world without any ambition of representing it – all he wants is to mentally journey through it. He has brought a diptych, Canone Aureo 958 (Agnes Martin), a segment of a project he began in 1979 to the Biennale Arte 2017.
SG – Maestro, how would you summarize your 60 years of activity?
GG – I have painted painting, what has always been represented by painters of all times and civilisations, obviously following the reference of their own time and place. Over all these years, this is what I have done, which is why I feel I am a traditional painter.
SG – What do your markings mean?
GG – They represent the world as we know it today, it’s becoming perennial and fractioned into billions of shapes. My works are never abstract; I have simply abandoned the images that had become super uous for my work. Simple painted markings, bearers of a millenary memory that is much longer, richer and more complex than mine – this is what makes up my work. My painting is not at the service of my memory: instead, my hand is at the service of my work.
SG – The man and the artist, Giorgio and the character. Are they different or do they infiltrate each other?
GG – This kind of contamination is the origin of life, of all kinds of life. But it should never be mistaken for pollution.
SG – What kind of Biennale is this 57th edition?
GG – Absolutely beautiful. Open to what art can offer beyond the limits of reason, beyond theories, and blooming to the undeterminable themes of poetry.
SG – You have participated at the Open Table project, one of this year’s novelties…
GG – A very positive experience. I found an attentive, participating and convivial audience; those people had obviously chosen to be there, they were interested in it.
SG – The work of art dearest to your heart?
GG – Matisse’s Dance.
SG – A banal question, perhaps: what is art?
GG – Nothing banal about that! I believe the answer to this question are the works themselves, and all the limits and rules, always broken. Art is getting to know the unknowable that is within us.
Artnet News: Julie Mehretu and Other All-Star Artists Blast Trump’s Immigration Ban in a New Poster Campaign
In recent weeks, curators at 30 leading museums across the US have been receiving surprise packages. Each one contains posters by major artists created in response to President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.
Nine artists—Joan Jonas, Barbara Kruger, Julie Mehretu, Chitra Ganesh, Liam Gillick, Walid Raad, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Danh Vo, and Anicka Yi—banded together as a collective called “Artists Against the Immigration Ban” to create the works.
Their project, which remained under wraps for months, takes on new meaning in light of the latest executive order, signed by Trump on Sunday, which bars citizens of certain, mostly Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. Unlike the two earlier travel bans, the most recent of which was set to expire over the weekend, these new restrictions are designed to be in place indefinitely.
The poster project began in February, when art historians Bettina Funcke and Amy Zion expressed their opposition to the original immigration order in a letter they posted online. The text argues that “our field is dependent on international collaboration and cross-cultural exchange” and that the ban would prevent some artists from leaving the country for fear that they would be denied re-entry.
After the letter received a strong response, “we asked the artists if they’d put the letter in their own words, if they’d rewrite it, or redesign it,” a representative for the project told artnet News.
Organizers scanned and printed the resulting posters as high-quality archival prints. Then, they mailed them—unsolicited and without warning—to leading contemporary art institutions including the Art Institute of Chicago, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
Each package came with a cover letter asking museums to make their own judgement about what to do with its contents. “Artists don’t normally send stuff to museums out of the blue,” the representative said. “If these get accepted into collections, it means that there’s a record of this time that’s very different from a protest or an exhibition.”
The first institution to respond was New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, which quickly shared the nine works in a blog post on the museum’s website last week.
“At certain critical junctures in American history, artists have come together to protest injustice and craft counter-narratives to the prevailing voices in government,” wrote Nancy Spector, the Guggenheim’s artistic director and chief curator, characterizing the artists’ posters as the latest in a long line of protest art, stretching back through the AIDS Crisis, demonstrations against the Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights Movement.
The new order targets Iran—with the exception of student visas—Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, and North Korea, removing Sudan from the list. Venezuelan government officials and their families are also barred, while citizens of Iraq will be “subject to additional scrutiny.”
It remains to be seen how the new order will be received by the courts. Oral arguments in the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the earlier ban were scheduled to be heard next month.
Artists involved in the poster project did not hesitate to voice their opposition to the latest version of the order. “Nothing that Trump and his lackeys do should come as a surprise,” Kruger told artnet News in an email. “When I hear people say they’re ‘shocked’ at whatever the latest episode of this manipulative and grotesquely tragic con is, it just makes my head spin. It’s that very lack of imagination that helped enable this takeover of resolute ignorance and raging white grievance.”
“And for those who didn’t vote or ‘voted their conscience,’ I would say that the world is bigger than their narcissistic conscience,” she added. “Their naive but arrogantly triumphalist kind of ideological purity and lack of strategic political thinking plus the insane blind spots and incompetence of the Democratic Party has helped bring us to this raw and brutal moment.” Kruger created her poster using her signature Futura Bold Oblique typeface, with white text on a red background.
The artist Liam Gillick, who is originally from the UK, told artnet News that the ban has changed his relationship to the US. “I wasn’t born here, but it’s my home. What you learn when you grow up outside of America, is that the country is built on immigration…. I feel nervous. The whole idea [of the travel ban] is kind of un-American in a philosophical sense and a human sense.” For his contribution, Gillick overlaid the group’s message on top of an original text, titled “A Long Sentence From an Angry White Man.”
Ganesh also wrote a text of her own to accompany the group’s message. She calls on museums to join her in denouncing the order, insisting that “part of our resistance as an arts community is to use our skills, platforms, experience, and art practices to disrupt, imagine, inspire, and above all make clear that we will do everything we can to refuse normalizing the frightening political shifts signaled by a so-called ‘Muslim ban.’”
“This order institutionalizes xenophobia and racism by targeting people entering the US based on their nationality and religion” Ganesh wrote. “This government makes it clear that it seeks to pursue policies that are antithetical to life, justice, compassion, and art… which daily embolden violence against people based on perceptions of race, gender, and economic status.”
As the country reacts to the latest iteration of the ban, the conclusion of the original letter still stands as a bold declaration: “The entirety of the Executive Order is unjust and must be overturned.”
-Sarah Cascone, September 25, 2017
Kevin Beasley included in Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/ Giuffrida Collection at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art
Solidary & Solitary, drawn from the Joyner/Giuffrida collection, tells the history of art by African-American artists from the 1940s to the present moment. That story is a complicated one, woven from the threads of debates about how to represent blackness; social struggle and change; and migrations and diasporas, particularly in relation to Africa, a recent area of expansion for the collection. The collection is primarily focused on abstract art, broadly understood; this is a meaningful political focus, rather than a stylistic preference. For black artists, abstraction is charged with the refusal of representation that is socially dictated, both by racist stereotypes of the dominant culture, and the pressure from within the black community to create positive imagery. Abstract art as a practice embodies the possibility of individual freedom and autonomy, even within larger social identities. The Joyner Giuffrida Collection has emphasized and celebrated individual specificity and achievement in collecting the work of many artists in-depth, even as it also ties the artists together in an intergenerational history. That intergenerational history is a story of mutual aid and care, of artistic inspiration—the power for a young artist of seeing another black person as a creative producer. The final element of Solidary & Solitary is implicit: the historical support of African-American collectors that has made it possible for generations of artists to sustain a livelihood and career outside the mainstream. Today, those collectors, together with scholars, curators, and other supporters, have been instrumental in claiming a seat at the central table for these artists. Solidary & Solitary celebrates the achievement of individual artists, the collective history told by their art, and the social changes that have changed the way we understand art history in the broadest sense.
It is essential that these histories be told, that the possibilities of individual achievement, collective identity, and genuine, institutional social change be made vivid, concrete, and beautiful. Only by remembering and understanding these histories can we move forward towards a different future, collectively imagined.
This exhibition is curated by: Christopher Bedford, Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director, The Baltimore Museum of Art and Katy Siegel, Senior Programming and Research Curator, The Baltimore Museum of Art
Artists in Solidary & Solitary include: Kevin Beasley, Mark Bradford, Leonardo Drew, Melvin Edwards, Charles Gaines, Sam Gilliam, Jennie C. Jones, Norman Lewis, Glenn Ligon, Serge Alain Nitegeka, Shinique Smith, Tavares Strachan, Jack Whitten, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Event: September 30 @ 3:00 – 4:00pm
BLACK ARTISTS/NEW HISTORIES: A CONVERSATION WITH CHRISTOPHER BEDFORD, COURTNEY J. MARTIN & KATY SIEGEL
The Ogden presents a discussion about the exhibition Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, Presented by The Helis Foundation. Panelist include the curators of the exhibition Christopher Bedford, Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director of The Baltimore Museum of Art; Katy Siegel, Senior Curator for Research and Programming at The Baltimore Museum of Art; and Courtney J. Martin, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Dia Art Foundation.
The conversation will encompass the spectrum of questions and possibilities around black artists and history. How have black artists been written into history, and even more, how have they changed history?
This panel is free and open to the public.
The New Yorker
In one of the most buzzed-about débuts of the fall season, Casteel shows large figurative canvases that combine the candid immediacy of the digital snapshots on which they’re based with the restraint and humanity of an Alice Neel portrait. The young Colorado-born phenom worked almost entirely from pictures she took in Harlem of men, at night. Casteel’s subjects, like the artist herself, are black, and her work tackles the representation of race in general, while revelling, as painters will, in the specific details. In “Q,” a man sits on a stoop next to a sketched-in green railing, earnestly consulting his iPhone, and wearing a sweatshirt with an image of Biggie Smalls in wraparound shades, a gold chain, and a Coogi sweater. In “MegaStarBrand’s Louie and A-Thug,” two well-turned-out young men sprawl with authority in folding chairs on the sidewalk, gazing skeptically out of frame. One wears a shirt that says “REASON,” the other is in a T-shirt that reads “T.H.U.G.: THE HATE YOU GAVE US.” In her exhilarating, if uneven, show, Casteel gives nothing but love.
Jordan Casteel Featured in Barneys New York Fall Catalogue
When Jordan Casteel decided to go to art school, she and her mother sat down at a computer and googled “Best MFA in America.” Columbia, Yale, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago came up. With no formal training, Casteel, who grew up in Denver and studied at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, applied to all three. “I put those long shots out into the universe and got a response back inviting me for an interview at Yale,” she says.
Even then, her expectations were minimal. “I went in with the intention of being a learner—just to ask a lot of questions, so I was pretty relaxed,” she says. It was only when she was waiting for her turn to interview, Casteel recalled, that “a girl came out before me, and she looked petrified, like literally crying. And I thought: ‘Oh. Huh. I might actually be over my head.’
She wasn’t, though, and after being accepted to and enrolling in Yale, Casteel hit on a project that she’s continued ever since: painting deeply empathetic, searingly intimate yet reverential portraits of black men. Casteel’s subjects stare frankly at the viewer. Young and old, nude and clothed, smiling or somewhat standoffish—each portrait is intensely, urgently personal.
She started out painting students at the Yale School of Drama. Today, her subjects range from friends and family members to people in her Harlem neighborhood who happen to catch her eye. “I was thinking about how I can represent them as people who I love and know intimately,” she says. “How can people begin to see them as I see them?”
The impetus for the work was George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting and killing of Trayvon Martin. “I was just so distraught,” she continued. “I thought, now it’s time to merge social justice and art together, and build a meaningful dialogue.” The socially charged series was almost instantaneously a success. After graduating from Yale, Casteel had her first solo show in New York at the gallery Sargent’s Daughters, and then was invited to be an artist in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem. This fall, she’ll have a show at the Casey Kaplan gallery in New York, and in the winter of 2019, the Denver Art Museum will open a solo exhibition of her work. “It’s not that I’ve had low expectations for myself,” Casteel says. “But I have a lot of gratitude, because I never thought I’d be here.”