New York Selling Exhibition
AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN
10 Januaryâ€“8 February 2019
28. Trenton Doyle Hancock
36. Kara Walker
New York Selling Exhibition
AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN 10 January–8 February 2019
Exhibition Dates & Location 10 January–8 February 2019 450 Park Avenue, New York Viewing Monday – Saturday 10am–6pm
Curator Dr. Arnold Lehman firstname.lastname@example.org Executive Assistant to Arnold Lehman Elizabeth Wallace +1 212 940 1303 email@example.com Head of Private Sales Miety Heiden firstname.lastname@example.org Private Sales Coordinator Charlotte Pettit +1 212 940 1393 email@example.com Researcher Patrizia Koenig firstname.lastname@example.org Exhibitions Manager Susanna Graves email@example.com
Introduction by Dr. Arnold Lehman
Dr. Arnold Lehman
Senior Advisor to the CEO
AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN ofers a truly inclusive and dynamic reshufing of the American art world. Bringing together works by over sixty important artists from the 1950s to today, this major exhibition looks towards the increasingly powerful signature of a growing number of American artists who happen to be black, as well as those who look deeply into their blackness or black culture to create exceptional works of art. In her groundbreaking 2001 exhibition Freestyle at the Studio Museum in Harlem, then curator and subsequently director Thelma Golden, whose brilliant career has been dedicated to the almost limitless creativity of these artists, carefully assessed the critical and transitional moment in time for African American artists: “As a group, they exemplify the presence of art school training in that they create work that refers to multiple histories of contemporary art and culture – both non-Western and that of the Western modernist tradition...Like the generations before them, they resist narrow defnition. Most importantly, their work, in all of its various forms, speaks to an individual freedom that is a result of this transitional moment in the quest to defne on-going changes in the evolution of African-American art and ultimately to on-going redefnition of blackness in contemporary culture.” Golden’s assessment nearly two decades ago is, perhaps, even more true today. A little over a year afer the frst iteration of AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN at Phillips London, we take this opportunity to
look further back in to the 20th century to help unravel the threads of infuence across generations. Works by both established and emerging contemporary artists – ranging from Hale Woodruf to Romare Bearden to Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kara Walker, and today to Adam Pendleton, Tomashi Jackson, and Dread Scott – act as critical markers on an artistic trail that leads back to what is now seen as the formative and sometime revolutionary years, allowing us to more fully appreciate the far-reaching legacy of the trailblazing artists who paved the way for generations of black artists to come, such as Harlem Renaissance artist Charles Alston and AfriCOBRA co-founder Gerald Williams. For our visitors here at PHILLIPS who also had the opportunity to see Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at the Brooklyn Museum over the past several months, the artists of AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN ofer profound engagement with and brilliant continuity of the art made in the United States by African American artists over the past hundred years and more – with new vocabulary and redefnition at every turn. In closing, I would like to acknowledge Elizabeth Wallace, Charlotte Pettit, Patrizia Koenig, Susanna Graves, and Miety Heiden without whose assistance this exhibition could not have taken form. Arnold Lehman Senior Advisor PHILLIPS Director Emeritus Brooklyn Museum
1. Charles Alston Untitled Abstract signed and dated “Alston ‘51” lower right oil on canvas 30 x 40 in. (76.2 x 101.6 cm.) Executed in 1951. Provenance The Charles Alston Estate Private Collection, Chicago
Born 1907, Charlotte, NC Died 1977, New York, NY 1929 BA, Columbia University, New York, NY 1931 MA, Columbia University Teachers College, New York, NY
Selected honors: Trustee of the Kennedy Center (1967); Member of the New York City Arts Commission (1970) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Atlanta University Center, Georgia; Art Students League, New York; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York Selected public collections: Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Natural History, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Harlem Renaissance artist Charles Alston has become known as a trailblazing artist who defed conventions and paved the way for greater recognition of African American artists. In 1935, having founded the Harlem Artist’s Guild, he became the frst African-American supervisor to work for the WPA’s Federal Art Project (FAP) in New York. He was the frst black instructor at both the Arts Student League and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1959 and 1956 respectively. In 1968, he received a presidential appointment from Lyndon Johnson to the National Council of Culture and the Arts. A year later, he was appointed to the New York City Art Commission. In 1990, Alston’s portrait sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr. became the frst image of an African American displayed at the White House.
Alston lef an important mark on art history, equally as artist, arts educator, and activist who notably served as a central infuence on Jacob Lawrence. Refusing to adhere to any stylistic conventions, Alston pursued both fgurative and abstract painting simultaneously. Afer making a name for himself with his portraits and large-scale murals in the 1940s, Alston became known for his socio-politically charged artworks responding to the Civil Rights era that explored themes such as inequality and race relations in the United States. Along with Romare Bearden and Hale Woodruf, Alston co-founded the collective Spiral in 1963 for artists “who addressed how Black artists should relate to American society in time of segregation”. As fellow Harlem Renaissance artist Romare Bearden described Alston, he was “one of the most versatile artists whose enormous skill led him to a diversity of styles… and a voice in the development of African American art who never doubted the excellence of all people’s sensitivity and creative ability. During his long professional career, Alston signifcantly enriched the cultural life of Harlem. In a profound sense, he was a man who built bridges between Black artists in varying felds, and between other Americans.”
2. Ed Clark The Stove signed and dated “Clark 52” lower lef oil on canvas 40 x 29 in. (101.6 x 73.7 cm.) Executed in 1952. Provenance Private Collection, Chicago (acquired directly from the artist) Exhibited Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art; New York, The Whitney Museum of American Art, Blues for Smoke, October 21, 2012 - April 28, 2013, p. 34 (illustrated)
Born 1926, New Orleans, LA Lives and works in Detroit, MI 1953, L’Academie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris 1951, BA The Art Institute of Chicago, IL
Selected honors: Legends and Legacy Award (2013); Congressional Achievement Award (1994); Award in Painting, National Endowment for the Arts (1985); Award in Painting, National Endowment for the Arts (1972); Prix d’Othon Friesz, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Musée du Louvre, Paris, France (1955) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: include Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville; Whitney Museum for American Art, New York; N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, Detroit; The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Selected public collections: Albright-Knox, Bufalo; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Brooklyn Museum, NY; Detroit Institute of the Arts, Detroit; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis; Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York Though associated with Abstract Expressionism, Ed Clark has continuously and audaciously transformed his artistic language over a career spanning six decades. His experiments with color, form, and shaped canvas are a testament to his restless inventiveness, a quality inspired by the cultures of the many places he’s resided in and travelled to, including New York, Paris, Morocco, Brazil, Greece, Yucatan, Martinique, Nigeria, and China. From his fgurative works, including Stove, to his egg-
shaped abstract pieces, Clark has always imbued his art with a delicate balance of colorful energy and peaceful tranquility. Born in pre-Civil Rights era New Orleans, Clark joined the Air Force at age 17 and served in Guam during World War II. Aferwards, he utilized the GI Bill by enrolling in the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and later the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. Perceiving that his race would impact the future of his career less in France than in the United States – he noted that “The French never put race on ID cards”– Clark decided to reside in Paris even afer the expiration of his GI bill before settling in New York in the late 1950s. As a key player in both the New York and Paris art spheres, it is ftting that Clark’s infuences range from Paul Cézanne to Willem de Kooning to Nicolas de Staël. Barry Schwabsky, New York critic of The Nation, deemed Clark “one of the best living painters… Paint as a literal, physical presence and as a trace of the artist’s mental and physical activity becomes inseparable from the evocation of the glory of light.” Clark intended for his work to transcend race, politics, and worldly identity. “Art is not subject to political games; its importance elevates it above any racial diference,” Clark asserted. “All men of talent, of noble spirit, can make it.”
3. Alma Woodsey Thomas Abstraction No. 2 signed, titled and dated “Alma Thomas ‘60 Ab. No. 2” lower right watercolor on paper 20 x 14 7/8 in. (50.8 x 37.8 cm.) Executed in 1960. Provenance Barnett-Aden Collection, Washington, DC Private Collection, Philadelphia (acquired from the above circa 1978) Dolan/Maxwell, Inc., Philadelphia Private Collection, Newark (acquired from the above in 1999) Dolan/Maxwell, Inc., Philadelphia
Born 1891, Columbus, GA Died 1978, Washington, D.C. 1934, MA Columbia University, New York 1924 BFA, Howard University, Washington, D.C.
A pioneer for African American and female artists alike, Alma Thomas developed a signature style that transcended categorization. Ofen associated with the Washington Color School, Thomas’ abstract painting practice references art historical movements spanning all the way from Byzantine mosaics to post-impressionist Pointillism to Abstract Expressionism. As the frst recipient of a fne arts degree from Howard University in 1924, followed by a 35 year-long tenure as a public school teacher in Washington, D.C., Thomas was an avid supporter of the arts. For the beneft of her students, she would invite leading African American artists and architects to present their work, as well as embark on many feld trips to local galleries and institutions. She was also a founding vice president of the Barnett-Aden Gallery in 1943, the frst private art gallery in D.C. to exhibit works by artists of all races and backgrounds. As Washington Post writer Benjamin Forgey described of her passion, “Thomas never stopped looking at art or making it. She haunted museums in Washington and New York. She learned from the old masters but she also had an eye for the new. Apparently she couldn’t pass by a good art book without buying it--her row house on 15th Street, where she lived and painted from the Howard days until she died, was stufed with well-leafed volumes, old and new.”
Beginning in 1950, Thomas took courses in creative painting and color theory at American University, where she would hone her signature style. Many of her paintings created in the late 1950s and early 1960s featured active, gestural strokes with varying densities, in contrast to those of her contemporaries such as Morris Louis who favored more uniform, sofer color felds. Thomas’ watercolors from this period were ofen inspired by the view outside of her kitchen window, which doubled as her studio. In 1960, Thomas exhibited a selection of these small-scale compositions at the Dupont Circle Gallery in her frst solo show at age 69. This was later followed by many more renowned exhibitions including one at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1972, marking the institution’s frst-ever solo exhibition for an African American woman. As she famously declared in a 1970 interview, “Creative art is for all time and is therefore independent of time. It is of all ages, of every land, and if by this we mean the creative spirit in man which produces a picture or a statue is common to the whole civilized world, independent of age, race and nationality; the statement may stand unchallenged.”
4. Hale Woodruf Icarus signed “H. Woodruf” lower lef; further signed and titled “”ICARUS” H. WOODRUFF “ICARUS”” on the reverse of the frame oil on canvas 50 x 44 1/2 in. (127 x 113 cm.) Executed in 1962. Provenance Bertha Schaefer, New York Private Collection, Chicago
Born 1900, Cairo, IL Died 1980, New York, NY 1927, Académie Scandinave and the Académie Moderne
Selected honors: Bronze medal in the Harmon Foundation’s annual competition (1926) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis; Talladega College, Alabama Selected public collections: Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Howard University Gallery, Washington, DC; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
in a 1968 oral history interview with Al Murray, “About ffeen years had passed since I’d lef the South and gone to Indiana and then to Paris. I realized that here was my country again.” Seeking to express his heritage and inspired by European Modernism, especially PostImpressionism and Cubism, Woodruf began creating socially-aware art. His apprenticeship with Diego Rivera in Mexico in 1936 paved the way for his acclaimed murals, which Roberta Smith lauded as ” the greatest to emerge from the American Social Realist and mural movements of the 1930s and ’40s.”
Best known for his large-scale murals, Hale Woodruf had a profound infuence on 20th century American art. Born in Cairo, Illinois in 1900 and raised in Nashville, Woodruf studied art in Indianapolis and at the Art Institute of Chicago before his crucial four-year sojourn in Paris. Financed by an award from the Harmon Foundation, Woodruf, like many black artists at the time, moved to Paris where he immersed himself in the study of both modern and African art. During his four-year sojourn he became part of what he designated the “Negro Colony”, a group of expatriated African American artists and intellectuals including Henry Ossawa Tanner, Augusta Savage, Alain Locke, and Josephine Baker.
Both as artist, educator and mentor to artists such as Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence, Woodruf paved the way for generations of African American artists. “There was no such thing as black art or Negro art….To me, the only true black art is African art,” Woodruf was quoted explaining in a in a 1979 New York Times article, adding how nowadays “the so-called black artist is in full swing, and he is trying to develop what is called a black esthetic. But there are many very talented young black artists today who don’t think that way. So my position is whatever your color, you produce the style, the work of art, and they will recognize you for it.”
In 1931, Woodruf returned to the United Sates, notably establishing the art department at Atlanta University in the depths of the Depression. As Woodruf recalled
5. Sam Middleton Untitled signed and dated “MIDDLETON 64” lower right mixed media and collage on paper 20 1/8 x 30 1/8 in. (51.1 x 76.5 cm.) Executed in 1964. Provenance Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner
Born 1927, New York, NY Died 2015, Schagen, Netherlands
Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Van Bommel Van Dam Museum; Venlo; Baltimore Museum of Art; Brooklyn Museum, New York. Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; Hampton University Museum, Virginia; Howard University, Washington, D.C. Growing up in Harlem during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, Sam Middleton emerged as an artist in early 1950s New York where he formed close friendships with New York School artists such as Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Motherwell. Seeking a more open-minded environment to pre-Civil Rights America, Middleton moved to Schagen, Netherlands, in 1962. Middleton’s profound love for music, fostered from an early age in New York’s jazz scene, was at the heart of his mixed-media work. “For me, improvisation is a galaxy of color,” Middleton said. “When I listen to music I feel like a soloist.” In his search to “paint sounds”, Middleton was challenged by the changing tempo, the hint of melody, and the speed and dexterity of jazz – basing his choice of color, line and composition on sound and harmony. His compositions combine collage elements with decisive painterly gestures against luminous backgrounds, ofen alluding to the music playing in his studio as well as the local Dutch landscape.
Middleton’s work was collected and shown in major U.S. museums in the 1960s and 1970s, notably in the pivotal 1962 exhibition Forty Artists under Forty at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, which more than ffy years later included him in the America is Hard to See collection exhibition in 2015. Though he has received recognition in Europe – the Van Bommel Van Dam Museum in Venlo, Netherlands, organized a retrospective of his work in 1997 –he only received his frst, posthumous solo exhibition in the United States in 2017.
6. Richard Hunt Tubing Form inscribed “R. Hunt 66” near the base aluminum 36 x 44 x 40 in. (91.4 x 111.8 x 101.6 cm.) Executed in 1966. Provenance Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago
Born 1935, Chicago, IL Lives and works in Chicago 1957 BAE, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Selected honors: Lifetime Achievement Award (2009); Hofman Prize (2005); Logan Prize (1956, 1961, and 1962); Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1962-1963) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw, MI; San Antonio Botanical Gardens, San Antonio, TX Selected public collections: The Art Institute of Chicago; Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, California; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois; Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; National Gallery, Washington, DC; National Museum of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York One of the most accomplished American metal sculptors of the past century, Richard Hunt was the frst AfricanAmerican sculptor to have a major solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1971. This was the crowning moment of Hunt’s rise to critical acclaim. Having encountered the work of Julio González in 1953, Hunt taught himself to weld sculpture within two years and by the late 1950s was exhibiting his work nationwide and sold his frst work to MoMA while still a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1962, he was the youngest artist to exhibit at Seattle’s World Fair and received the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship.
Executed in 1966, Tubing Form is an important early sculpture that perfectly encapsulates Hunt’s distinct sculptural practice. Viewed as an outgrowth of Hunt’s mixture of urban upbringing with his family’s rural roots in the south and Midwest, his sculptures blend natural and architectonic forms. As he explained in the same year as he created the work, “In some works it is my intention to develop the kind of forms Nature might create if only heat and steel were available to her.” The works Hunt created in the 1960s and 1970s are predominantly made from the materials readily available in car junkyards. Welded bumpers and fenders are transformed into Hunt’s abstract creations that make frequent references to plant, human, and animal forms. “One of the central themes in my work is the reconciliation of the organic and the industrial,” he explained. “I see my work as forming a kind of bridge between what we experience in nature and what we experience from the urban, industrial, technology-driven society we live in. I like to think that within the work . . . there is a resolution of the tensions between the sense of freedom one has in contemplating nature and the sometimes restrictive, closed feeling engendered by the rigors of the city.” Even now, at age 83, Hunt continues to create work: “One of the things that keeps me going is sculptural inertia. Having made sculpture for so long, I tend to keep making it. Being a professional sculptor is an interesting combination of a work life and an intellectual life that are mutually stimulating.”
7. Barkley L. Hendricks Julie titled “”JULIE”” on the overlap; inscribed with the date “11/13/69” on the stretcher oil on canvas diameter 11 1/2 in. (29.2 cm.) Executed in 1969. Provenance Kenmore Galleries, Inc., Philadelphia Private Collection, Cambridge, MA Bonhams and Butterfelds, Los Angeles, May 5, 2008, lot 132 Private Collection, NY (acquired at the above sale)
Born 1945, Philadelphia, PA Died 2017, New London, CT 1972 BFA, Yale University, New Haven, CT 1972 MFA, Yale University, New Haven, CT
Selected honors: Rappaport Prize (2016); the President’s Award from the Amistad Center for Art and Culture (2010); Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2008) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, North Carolina; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Pennsylvania; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston Selected public collections: Menil Collection, Houston; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; The Studio Museum, Harlem; Tate Modern, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York An artist well ahead of his time, Barkley L. Hendricks in the 1960s radically embraced fguration at a time when abstraction ruled. It was whilst touring European museums that a young Hendricks was so taken aback by the lack of black subjects in Old Master paintings that he embarked upon what is now his best known work: life sized portraits of predominantly black men, primarily from his native Philadelphia, depicted in classical poses. The tonal subtleties and exquisite attention to light, fabric and fesh in Hendrick’s portraits are utterly impressive, revealing Hendrick’s adoption of Old Master techniques with a Pop art sensibility to render the full complexity of everyday people. “I wanted to deal with the beauty, grandeur, style of my folks. Not the misery,” he has explained. In the commanding, towering presence and undeniable swagger of many of Hendricks’s subjects
we recognize that very sense of cool detachment and defant empowerment so characteristic of the artist’s revolutionary act of portraiture. Hendricks himself has distanced himself from overtly political readings of his work, opposing the tendency to interpret his identity as a black artist into his painting with his trademark panache. Speaking about his own identity in a 2016 Artspace interview with Karen Rosenberg he stated, “It’s a component. It’s a sort of situation that I happen to be a part of, in a nation that’s constantly thinking about black and white. All right? I paint because I like to paint…Let’s move beyond that whole area of “political” that seems to be a part of people’s thinking…”. Ultimately, as Hendricks has stated, “Where human subjects are concerned, I address what is in front of me.” Pioneering the genre of portraiture by painting art history including issues of identity and heritage, Hendricks paved the way for such artists as Kehinde Wiley and others. As Trevor Schoonmaker, the curator for Hendricks’ frst career retrospective Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool in 2008, put in a nutshell, “His bold portrayal of his subject’s attitude and style elevates the common person to celebrity status. Cool, empowering, and sometimes confrontational, Hendricks’ artistic privileging of a culturally complex Black body has paved the way for today’s younger generation of artists.”
8. McArthur Binion Untitled (Circuit Landscape Series) oil stick and Dixon wax crayon on aluminum 25 x 32 in. (63.5 x 81.3 cm.) Executed circa 1972. Provenance Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago
Born 1946, Macon, MS Lives and works in Chicago, IL 1973 MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfeld Hills, MI 1971 BFA, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Selected honors: Purchase Prize (2017); New York C.E.T.A. Artist Project Grant (1978); and National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship Grant (1976) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfeld Hills, MI; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, TX Selected public collection: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C.; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C. In his 40 year career, McArthur Binion has forged a unique path as an artist. Though emerging in the New York art world of the 1970s alongside artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Hammons, Dan Flavin, Brice Marden, and Gordon Matta-Clark, Binion has only very recently been garnering signifcant attention. Afer years of deliberately keeping a relatively low profle, Binion, now aged 72 and living in Chicago, is now in the limelight with a career that ever since his prominent inclusion in the 2017 Venice Biennale is on a steady rise. In November 2018, a solo show of Binion’s work opened at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Michigan, where he was the frst AfricanAmerican to graduate with a MFA. Binion is known for his nuanced abstract paintings that eschew brushes and paint. Untitled (Circuit Landscape Series), circa 1972, is one of the earliest examples of his now characteristic use of crayon, or paint stick. “In 1972 when I started to use them, they were basically industrial marking sticks,” he recalls. The process of grinding and then rubbing oilstick into wood and aluminum panels
produces abstract subjects that are ofen mono- or duochromatic. He had to train himself to be ambidextrous to negotiate hand fatigue, and works an entire surface of a painting in one sitting, before returning to rework that surface the next day or week or month – with some works even taking years to complete. Binion, who ofen also incorporates photocopied biographical documents into his works, places personal memory in dialogue with the language of abstraction, specifcally action painting, Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism, as well as stylistic tropes common to folk artists, such as quilt patterns. Though Binion received ofers to exhibit his work in the 1970s, he deliberately chose against it. As Binion explained in a 2016 Artspace interview with Loney Abrams: “It was a choice because it was, and still is, very important to me that my work is seen in a certain way…I was invited everywhere, and I was a part of the scene, but I didn’t want to be the only black person out there… I knew my work wouldn’t have been seen the way I wanted it to be seen. Back then, people were describing me as a Minimalist artist, and for me, my work had much more emotional content.” Nowadays, a somewhat diferent misinterpretation continues to linger. “It seems that because your work is so emotional and personal, and because you’re African-American, people read into it as being about identity and race somehow. But I get the sense that it’s not,” Abrams noted in conversation with Binion, to which Binion replied, laughing, “It’s not... It’s very easy for writers and viewers to see race in work, because black people were only recently honored in society at all. But…the important thing is, there is no historical line running through me. I made myself up!”
9. John Outterbridge Untitled, Ethnic Heritage Series mixed media 32 1/4 x 10 x 7 in. (81.9 x 25.4 x 17.8 cm.) Executed circa 1972. Provenance Private Collection (acquired directly from the artist) Tilton Gallery, New York Exhibited New York, Tilton Gallery, John Outterbridge, October 23 December 21, 2012
Born 1933, Greenville, NC Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA 1994 Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA 1970 State of California Teaching Credential 1956-59 The American Academy of Art, Chicago, IL
Selected honors: California African American Museum Lifetime Achievement Award (2012); Artists’ Legacy Foundation Award (2010); J. Paul Getty Fellowship for the Visual Arts. (1994); National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. (1994); Fulbright Fellowship (1988) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO; Watts Towers Art Center, Los Angeles, CA; California Afro-American Museum, Los Angeles, CA Selected public collections: Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art A key artist of the Californian assemblage movement, John Outterbridge pursued his path as an artist at a time when very few opportunities were available for African Americans artists in the United States. Born in Depression-era Jim Crow South, Outterbridge felt drawn to art making from an early age. “It started with me very early on: the feeling,” he said. “I just had a natural knack for the creative momentum…So many other people did, too, but we didn’t have any opportunity to take it outside of ourselves.” A gifed painter, Outterbridge was able to secure a place at the American Academy of Art in Chicago in 1956 and in 1963 relocated to Los Angeles, which served as the ideal environment for him to develop his assemblage practice. “It seems that we all assemble notions, directives, disciplines, disappointments,” Outterbridge stated.
“We put all these things together as we seek a mode of expression and a way to live. Outterbridge developed a fascination with the aesthetic of assemblage from early on, his father being a hauler and mover who salvaged junk and used goods in their backyard. Assemblage ofered him the visual means to explore heritage and tradition, family and community, as well as the political past and present. Like his friend and fellow artist Noah Purifoy, Outterbridge created some of his earliest sculptures from the detritus of the 1965 Watts uprising, and dedicated his life to education and community activism. From 1975 to 1992, he served as director of the Watts Towers Arts Center in Los Angeles. As John Yao wrote in The Brooklyn Rail on the occasion of Outterbridge’s frst solo show in New York in 2009: “Long before it was fashionable to do so, Outterbridge recognized that identity is a construction, not a given, and certainly not something to be defned by succumbing to external pressures…Formally, Outterbridge’s unearthings echo the subject of his work, which is the excavation of diferent histories that have been covered over, neglected, and hidden…Outterbridge’s work conjures complex, multilayered narratives that are viscerally and visually enchanting. Having made a real and important place for himself in postwar American art, he continues with unparalleled grace to implicitly challenge many assumptions regarding the proper place and meaning of art in postmodern culture.”
10. Gerald Williams Abner & Alleane indistinctly signed lower lef acrylic on canvas 33 1/2 x 30 in. (85.1 x 76.2 cm.) Executed in 1975. Provenance Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago Exhibited Chicago, Kavi Gupta, Gerald Williams, September 9, 2017 — December 2, 2017
Born 1941 in Chicago, Illinois Lives and works in Woodlawn, Chicago, IL 1976 MFA, Howard University, Washington, D.C. 1969 BA, Chicago Teachers College, Chicago, IL
Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Tate Modern, London, UK; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; the Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA; Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, IL; The Broad, Los Angeles, CA Selected public collections: Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, IL; Brooklyn Museum, New York; DuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago, IL.
Gerald Williams was a co-founder of the AfriCOBRA artist collective which formed on the South side of Chicago in 1967 and later on became the defnitive visual expression of the Black Arts Movement. An acronym for “African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists”, the group, which is still active today, set out to investigate whether there was or should be such a thing as a culturally-specifc black art. Over time, Williams’ work has evolved into polyrhythmic representations resting on the threshold between fguration and abstraction – a junction which Williams dubbed “mimesis at mid-point.” He has explained that people think mimesis is the act of copying reality, but that the true goal of mimes is to communicate the core of things through creative manifestations that are universally meaningful. In his own words, “mimesis is probably the most fascinating principle, because it’s not clear what it means…at its root, it means to mimic or to copy, to imitate. But clearly that’s what African and
Oceanic and most indigenous art forms are. They’re recreations of the world, in most cases, human beings or the human, transformation of that into the brain and then ultimately in some concrete object. And then in that they are depicting personalities or visions or some kind of spiritual connection. How that’s done by 20th century, 21st century people is open for exploration. Because when you reduce something to the state of a phantasm, then you’re stripping it to its bare bones.” With the brightly painted colors inspired by 60’s and 70’s fashion, and lettered abstractions in staccato alluding to the prevalence of text in Chicago’s street art, Abner & Alleane, 1975, is an essential moment illuminating Williams’ greater practice. The inherent imitation present in the painted medium is elegantly negotiated by Williams’ ability to imbue the various painterly elements with enough independent meaning so they exist separately from their represented reality. This work, which it has been noted, is a portrait of his parents, not only exemplifes the source of AfriCOBRA’s common mission to uplif a struggling community, but also demonstrates Williams’ desire to make universal that which was, at its core, personal.
11. Stanley Whitney Untitled signed and dated “Stanley Whitney 1979” on the reverse acrylic on canvas 44 3/4 x 69 1/2 in. (113.7 x 176.5 cm.) Executed in 1979. Provenance Peg Alston Fine Art, New York (acquired directly from the artist) Acquired from the above by the present owner
Born 1946, Philadelphia, PA Lives and works in New York, NY 1972 MFA, Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT 1968 BFA, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO
Selected honors: Robert De Niro Sr. Prize in Painting (2011), the American Academy of Arts and Letters Art Award (2010); Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship (2002); John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (1996) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; Camden Arts Centre, London Selected public collections: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Inspired by Renaissance painting, Minimalist sculpture and jazz music, Stanley Whitney’s oeuvre has become central to the current discourse of abstract painting in the contemporary era. Following recent solo exhibitions at the Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, the 72-year-old artist has only just received the critical acclaim he deserves. Afer moving to New York from Philadelphia at the age of 22, Whitney aligned himself with the Color Field painters,
ofen working in the shadows of his contemporaries including Frank Stella and Kenneth Noland. Throughout the decades that followed, however, the artist soon established himself as a key player in 20th century abstraction, traveling the world and gaining recognition not only in the studio, but also in the classroom, where he has taught Painting and Drawing at the Tyler School of Art for over 30 years. As such, Whitney’s infuence extends to a generation of new artists exploring the formal tenants of painting today. As Lauren Haynes, curator of Whitney’s solo show at the Studio Museum in 2015, aptly wrote, “Whitney’s work interrogates the connections among colors, how they lead to and away from one another, what memories they are associated with…Whitney’s colors take on lives of their own. They evoke memory and nostalgia. This orange takes you back to your favorite childhood t-shirt; that blue reminds you of your grandmother’s kitchen. Whitney’s paintings remind us, on a universal scale, of the ability of color to trigger feelings and sensations.”
12. Senga Nengudi Rapunzel signed on a label afxed to the reverse gelatin silver print 40 x 30 in. (101.6 x 76.2 cm.) Executed in 1981, this work is number 4 from an edition of 5, plus 1 artist’s proof. Provenance The Artist Levy Gorvy Gallery, New York and London; and Thomas Erben Gallery, New York Exhibited New York, Gladstone Gallery, Lyric on a Battlefeld, June 23 - August 4, 2017 New York, Brooklyn Museum; Bufalo, Albright Knox; Boston, ICA Boston; We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965 - 85, April 21, 2017 - September, 2018
Born 1943, Chicago, IL Lives and works in Colorado Springs, CO 1971 MA, California State University at Los Angeles, CA 1966-67 Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan 1966 BA, California State University at Los Angeles, CA Selected honors: Women’s Caucus For Art – Lifetime Achievement Award (2010); Anonymous Was A Woman Award (2005); Louis Comfort Tifany Foundation Award (2005) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Brooklyn Museum, New York; Henry Moore Foundation, Leeds; DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA Selected public collections: The Museum of Modern Art New York City, NY; Hammer Museum Los Angeles, CA; Carnegie Museum of Art Pittsburgh, PA; Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, CA; The Studio Museum in Harlem New York City, NY Emerging as an artist in the avant-garde scenes of Los Angeles and New York in the 1960s and 1970s, Senga Nengudi has been a trailblazing and infuential force for over 50 years. Nengudi’s pioneering practice is currently the focus at the Henry Moore Foundation in Leeds, which represents the artist’s frst solo institutional exhibition outside of the United States. Characterized by a persistently radical experimentation with material and form, Nengudi’s work spans sculpture, performance, and photography. Building upon the legacy of abstraction, Nengudi imbues her work with human, philosophical and spirituals concerns. In her famous R.S.V.P. series, for example, she stretched, flled and
knotted nylon tights with sand and mounted them on walls to create “abstracted refections of used bodies”. Initiated in 1975 following her pregnancy, the series represent humble, yet powerful, icons of the triumphs and traumas of the human body. “I prevail with ‘what is at hand’,” writes Nengudi. “My installations are subtle and intimate, involving issues of time and personal change. They are durable like a bird’s nest with viewers feeling welcome enough to shif from observers to participants. Utilizing masking tape, gravel, dirt, newspapers, powdered tempera, seedpods, stripped pantyhose, photos and found stuf is a statement in itself. To shape shif paradigms I fnd diferent ways to use materials others consider useless or insignifcant providing proof that the disregarded and disenfranchised may also have the resilience and reformative ability to fnd their poetic selves.” Asked by Anna Souter in the September 26, 2018 Hyperallergic interview whether she considers herself a political artist, Nengudi replied, “I think there are layers to it. Simply by being, that’s a political statement. So, whatever comes out of me has all those elements of me in it: I’m black, I’m a woman, at this point I’m a woman of a certain age, which also has issues related to it. So simply by being, I am those things. I want the viewer to come in and bring their own experience to it too, and have that creative exercise within themselves.”
13. Jean-Michel Basquiat Loin signed and dated “Jean-Michel Basquiat 82” on the reverse acrylic, colored oil stick and pastel on canvas 72 x 48 in. (182.9 x 121.9 cm.) Executed in 1982. Provenance Gagosian Gallery, New York Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York Private Collection, New York Exhibited Los Angeles, Gagosian Gallery, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Paintings, 1982 Malmo, Rooseum, Jean-Michel Basquiat/Julian Schnabel, April 8 - May 28, 1989, no. 29, p. 51 (illustrated) Turin, Palazzo Bricherasio, Pittura Dura. Dal Graftismo alla Street Art, November 24, 1999 - January 20, 2000 Lugano, Museo d’Arte Moderna della Citta Lugano, JeanMichel Basquiat, March 20 - July 19, 2005, no. 18, pp. 45 and 159 (illustrated) Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario; Bilbao, Museo Guggenheim Bilbao, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Now’s The Time, February 7 - November 1, 2015, p. 82 (illustrated) Milan, Museo delle Culture, Jean-Michel Basquiat, October 28, 2016 - February 26, 2017, pp. 70 - 71 (illustrated) Rome, Chiostro del Bramante, Jean-Michel Basquiat: New York City, March 24 - July 20, 2017, pp. 52 - 53 (illustrated) Sao Paulo, Brasilia and Belo Horizonte, Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Obras da Colecao Mugrabi, January 25 - September 26, 2018, p. 59 (illustrated) Literature Jean-Michel Basquiat, exh. cat. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1992, p. 240 (illustrated) Richard D. Marshall and Jean-Louis Pratt, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Vol. II, Paris, 1996, no. 7, p. 70 (illustrated) Richard D. Marshall and Jean-Louis Pratt, Jean-Michel Basquiat, 3rd. Ed., Vol. II, no. 7, p. 114 (illustrated)
Born 1960, Brooklyn, NY Died 1988, New York, NY
Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Barbican Art Gallery, London; Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Fondation Beyeler, Basel; Fondazione La Triennale di Milano, Milan; Serpentine Gallery, London Selected public collections: Museum of Modern Art, New York; Broad Museum, Los Angeles; Menil Collection, Houston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, CT; Daros Collection, Zurich; Musee du Luxembourg, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Though Jean-Michel Basquiat’s artistic career was short-lived, he has without a doubt become one of the most signifcant artists of the 20th century. A voracious autodidact, Basquiat had taught himself to draw from early childhood – creating drawings equally inspired by television cartoons and comic books, as well as by the anatomical textbook Gray’s Anatomy and the objects he encountered during his frequent visits to the Brooklyn and other New York museums. He Jean-Michel Basquiat in his studio, 1985. © Lizzie Himmel frst gained notoriety in the late 1970s for the conceptually and politically charged grafti works he emblazoned around downtown Manhattan collaboratively with his friend Al Diaz under the “tag” SAMO©. Contrary to common misconception, as Dieter Buchhart has pointed out in the Barbican’s Jean-Michel Basquiat: Boom For Real exhibition catalog, Basquiat was not a grafti or street artist. Though he had embraced the vernacular in the late 1970s, it was only one aspect within his larger multi-disciplinary agenda that would fuse the disparate felds of street vernacular, popular culture, music, poetry, world history, and art historical sources into one explosive language. His powerful works brilliantly captured the zeitgeist of the 1980s New York underground scene and catapulted Basquiat on a dizzying meteoric ascent to international stardom that would only be put to a halt by his untimely death in 1988. Basquiat burst onto the art scene in New York at merely 20 years of age, following his inclusion in the watershed Times Square Show in June 1980 and the New York/New Wave exhibition at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City in February 1981. It was notably “the observable relationship of his drawing to past art” that made Basquiat stand out for poet and art critic Rene Ricard, who proclaimed about Basquiat in Artforum in 1981, “The elegance of Twombly is there but from the same source (grafti) and so is the brut of the young Dubufet.” Having garnered the attention of art dealers Emilio Mazzoli, Bruno Bischoferger and Annina Nosei, Basquiat received his frst solo show at the Galleria d’Arte Emilio Mazzoli in Modena in May 1981 and in November was included in the watershed Public Address show at Annina Nosei’s Soho gallery – the extreme success of it famously leading Basquiat to tell his father, as the anecdote goes, “Papa, I’ve made it”. In January 1982, Basquiat made the pivotal decision to move his studio from the basement of Annina Nosei’s gallery to a large Soho lof where he feverishly worked in preparation for his line-up of solo exhibitions in the spring of that year at Annina Nosei Gallery and Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles. In summer 1982, Basquiat was included in Documenta 7, Kassel, as the youngest artist ever to be selected. At merely 25 years of age, he exhibited works alongside such established artists as Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol, the latter of whom he would meet a few months later and become close friend and collaborators with. In May 2018, Basquiat’s Untitled, 1982, achieved $110.5 million at auction, making it the most expensive work to be sold by an American artist. “Here he is, blazing a trail not only in terms of the market but also in terms of how his work is perceived more widely,” said the artist Adam Pendleton. “It speaks to the broader elements of American culture. And what a powerful moment to have that happen.”
14. Romare Bearden Morning: The Broken Wheel titled and dated “”MORNING THE BROKEN WEEL” 1986” on the reverse watercolor and collage on board 11 x 14 in. (27.9 x 35.6 cm.) Executed in 1986. Provenance Cordier and Ekstrom, New York Private Collection, Chicago
Born 1911, Charlotte, NC Died 1988, New York, NY 1935 BA, New York University
Selected honors: American Academy of Arts and Letters Painting Award (1966); National Institute of Arts and Letters Grant (1966); Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1970); Ford Foundation Fellowship (1973); Medal of the State of North Carolina (1976); and Frederick Douglas Medal, New York Urban League (1978) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Madison Art Center, Madison; Taiwan Museum Art, Taipei, Taiwan; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD Selected public collections: Whitney Museum of America Art. New York; Metropolitan Museums of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania A master of collage, Romare Bearden has become synonymous with his layered scenes of black life – past, present, and imagined. Born in North Carolina in 1911, Bearden was raised in New York in the heart of the Harlem Renaissance. In the 1930s, he studied at the Arts Student League with George Grosz and was involved with 306, a Harlem art school and workshop where his cousin by marriage, fellow artist Charles Alston, was a leading instructor. Though Bearden won major recognitions in his lifetime, Time art critic Robert Hugues proclaimed in 1991 that “Bearden got lef out of the history books” – an oversight that has since been rectifed with major retrospectives worldwide. In 2003 the National Gallery of Art held a retrospective of Bearden’s work, the frst for an African-American artist in the museum’s history, with the exhibition frmly cementing his legacy as one of the great innovators of the 20th century.
Bearden started making two-dimensional collages in the early 1960s as “an attempt to redefne the image of man in terms of the Black experience”. Bearden’s collages seamlessly integrate painting, magazine clippings and old paper like a jigsaw puzzle into evocative images that fuse snippets of Harlem life with images of the American South, with references to art history, Classical myth, religion and popular culture. “When I conjure these memories, they are of the present to me,” Bearden explained. “Because afer all, the artist is a kind of enchanter in time.” The way Bearden employed collage came out of his life and culture. In a 1977 interview with New Yorker writer Calvin Tomkins, Bearden described how as a young man, “I’d take a sheet of paper and just make lines while I listened to records, a kind of shorthand to pick up the rhythm and the intervals.” The improvisational nature of jazz music, Christian iconography, patchwork quilts, rooms wallpapered with old newspaper recalled from childhood summers in North Carolina, his lifelong study of both Western and African art art –all infused in Bearden’s collages. Roberta Smith pointed out Bearden’s enduring relevance and unusual “of-the-moment” in her 2011 The New York Times review: “For one thing the improvisational crossfertilizing of art mediums that Bearden helped pioneer via collage is more and more the norm; for another, paper has probably never been more popular as an art material, for work in both two and three dimensions. Most obviously the scaled-up version of collage that he favored and his propensity for pieced-together, abstraction-infused fgures have many echoes in the work of contemporary artists, from Mark Bradford to Anya Kielar to Matthew Monahan.” His enduring legacy also continues to live on in The Studio Museum in Harlem, of which he was an active founding member in 1968.
15. Lyle Ashton Harris Ecstasy #1 gelatin silver print 60 x 40 in. (152.4 x 101.6 cm.) Photographed in 1987-1988 and printed in 1997, this work is number 3 from an edition of 6 plus 2 artist’s proofs. Provenance Salon 94, New York
Born 1965, Bronx, NY Lives and works in New York, NY 1990 MFA, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA 1988 BFA, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT Selected honors: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2016), David C. Driskell Prize (2014), Goddard Award (2009), American Academy in Rome Fellow (2001). Selected museum exhibitions and performances: the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; New Museum, New York; American Academy in Rome; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Selected public collections: the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, León, Spain; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
© Courtesy David Castillo Gallery
images also more broadly invoke the notion of passing, the forsaking of one’s identity in favor of a more socially accepted assimilation. Harris’s use of photography points to its loaded history of functioning as a documentary tool to categorize blackness in the 19th century. These early works garnered Harris considerable international critical acclaim, leading to his frst major solo exhibition Face at the New Museum in 1993, and his inclusion in the seminal Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art group exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, that travelled to the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, in 1994.
For the past three decades, Lyle Ashton Harris has cultivated a diverse multi-media artistic practice that explores ideas of gender, sexuality, belonging, and various cultural histories. Harris emerged as an artist in the late 1980s with his black-and-white photographic body of work that saw him employ self-portraiture as the means to tease out the intersections of ethnicity, gender and sexual desire. Viewers’ perceptions and expectations are subtly confronted by recalibrating the familiar with the unexpected as Harris uses his body as a canvas to act out various roles and states of being.
In a period when multiculturalism, identity politics and AIDS activism dominated the world stage, Harris’s work transformed the conversation around black masculinity. Harris’s childhood years were formative in his artistic sensibility. Born and raised in the Bronx, he spent two years in Tanzania with his mother and brother in the mid-1970s, during the height of the African Independence movement. “Being in a community where there was a plurality of identity, there was an openness and a gentleness. In Tanzania, there was much more fuidity around masculinity,” he recalled. “I grew up in a family where there was a consciousness around images, photography, and black representation… Visually, I understood at an early age the power of the image to control or to liberate. I don’t want to engage that binary exclusively because I think it is more complex than that but I do understand energetically how people can be transformed by the image, not only in the art world but on a larger scale.”
For his Ecstasy series, Harris posed in whiteface, his mouth wide-open and limbs tensed to deliberately confuse the viewer’s ability to pinpoint the gender and ethnic identify displayed. Harris, who is African American and gay, explained in conversation with artist Chuck Close in 1999, “I began taking self-portraits in the 1980s to explore the dissonance and ambivalence I experienced in relation to my own image.” While confronting the viewer with an American racial archetype of the whiteface, the
Driven by his belief in the transformative power of the image, Harris has in the years since continued to concern himself with the game of appearances and perception by equally employing photography, video, audio, collage, installation and performance. Harris’s work calls attention to the fction of the constructed image in both the private and political realm by performing and reinterpreting the legacies of iconic fgures from Cleopatra, Billie Holiday to Michael Jackson.
16. Beverley Buchanan Red Shack tin and wood 27 x 15 x 11 in. (68.6 x 38.1 x 27.9 cm.) Executed circa 1990. Provenance Private Collection Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York
Born 1940, Fuquay, NC Died 2015, Ann Arbor, MI 1969 MA, Columbia University, New York, NY 1968 MA, Columbia University, New York, NY 1962 BS, Bennett College, Greensboro, NC
Selected honors: Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award (2011); Anonymous Was a Woman Award (2002); National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1990); Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1980) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Brooklyn Museum, New York Selected public collections: Georgia Museum of Art, Athens; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Though it took decades for the art world to catch up, the late Beverly Buchanan is now widely celebrated as one of the greatest women artists of her generation. The recent retrospective Beverly Buchanan – Ruins and Rituals at the Brooklyn Museum in 2016, shed light on Buchanan’s incredible legacy. An active member of the 1970s New York art scene, Buchanan studied under Norman Lewis at the Arts Student League and made the decision to dedicate herself to a full-time career as an artist in 1977 afer exhibiting her work at the Betty Parsons Gallery. Pursuing a fercely independent path, Buchanan in the same year moved to Macon, Georgia, where she lived until 1985.
Buchanan’s unorthodox and visionary body of work explored themes of identity, place and collective memory — particularly as it related to Southern vernacular architecture. Buchanan’s sculptural shacks, among her best-known works, represent a patchwork narrative of multiple memories, collected from Buchanan’s travels through the American rural South. “I believe the entire world is descendant from shacks,” reads a page from Buchanan’s illustrated book Shack Stories (Part I), 1990. Focusing on the loaded subject of the shack, a rudimentary dwelling associated with the poor, Buchanan honed in on the latent themes of endurance and personal history, tenderly investing the objects with raw emotion. “A lot of my pieces have the word ‘ruins’ in their titles because I think that tells you this object has been through a lot and survived — that’s the idea behind my sculptures,” she explained “it’s like, ‘Here I am; I’m still here!’”
17. Purvis Young Untitled signed “Young” upper right mixed media 26 x 54 7/8 in. (66 x 139.4 cm.) Executed circa 1990. Provenance Vanity Novelty Garden, Miami Beach (acquired directly from the artist) The Jimmy Hedges Collection of Outsider Art Literature Jimmy Hedges, The Jimmy Hedges Papers and Rising Fawn Folk Art Gallery Records (illustrated)
Born 1943, Miami, FL Died 2010, Miami, FL
Selected honors: National Endowment for the Arts Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, FL; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL Selected public collections: Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; and the The Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, NY With Purvis Young’s work heading to the 2019 Venice Biennale, the late artist is frmly entering the pantheon of art history afer years of been labelled an “outsider artist”. Born in Miami in 1943, Young became a local cultural icon as an entirely self-taught artist who dealt with the plight of the underprivileged, consequences of racism and daily violence through a highly distinctive visual idiom. It was while serving a three-year prison sentence for breaking and entering in his late teens that books on Van Gogh, Rembrandt and El Greco inspired him to start drawing, something his uncle had introduced him to as a young child. Afer being released, Young found inspiration in the Chicago and Detroit anti-Vietnam War murals he had seen on the TV news and began painting. As Young said in interviews with William Arnett and Larry Clemons
in 1994 and 1995: “I been drawing all my life, but I taught myself to paint in the early seventies. I seen people protesting. I seen the war going on. Then I found out how these guys paint their feelings up North, paint on walls… I started out about 1971 in Goodbread Alley. I wanted to express my own feeling. I wanted the peoples to see it.” Young began creating paintings on reclaimed wood and nailing them on boarded storefronts in Goodbread Alley, eventually attracting the attention of the collector and Miami Art Museum founder Bernard Davis who brought Young to the wider public eye. While channelling Western art history, as William Arnett wrote, “all the imagery…is fltered through Purvis Young’s sensibilities, and the result is a style that is remarkably consistent over three decades. It is a resolute and ambitious vision from a man who has appointed himself Overtown’s resident historian…He searches for truth and accuracy, so that his own art will not misinform or mislead. Young’s paintings are more than paintings. They are assemblages made from an array of urban detritus carefully selected by the artist according to his sense of their aesthetic and philosophical compatibility…The art of Purvis Young is equal parts calligraphy, music, and grafti. Its basic themes bump, collide, and eventually unite to reveal the chaotic and cacophonous dance of birth, death, and all that transpires in between in the artist’s world.”
18. Glenn Ligon Untitled (I am an Invisible Man...) oil stick on paper 30 x 16 in. (76.2 x 40.6 cm.) Executed in 1991. Provenance Private Collection, New York (acquired directly from the artist) Luhring Augustine, New York Private Collection, Colorado Private Collection, New York
Born 1960, New York, NY Lives and works in New York 1985 Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, New York, NY 1982 BA Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
Selected honors: International Association of Art Critics Award (2012); Studio Museum’s Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, New York, NY (2009); John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, New York, NY (2003); Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (1997); National Endowment for the Arts, Visual Artist Fellowship, Painting (1991); National Endowment for the Arts, Visual Artist Fellowship, Drawing (1989) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Baltimore Museum of Art, MD; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH Selected public collections: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, NY; Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; Museum of Modern Art, NY; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY; The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; Tate Modern, London; Walker Art Center, MO; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY Glenn Ligon, who gained prominence in the early 1990s along with a generation of artists including Gary Simmons and Lorna Simpson, is a conceptual artist who throughout his career has pursued an incisive exploration of American history, literature, and society. Together with Thelma Golden, Ligon coined the term “post-blackness”, describing it in the catalogue for the Studio Museum in Harlem’s Freestyle landmark exhibition in 2001 as, “the liberating value in tossing of the immense burden of race-wide representation, the idea that everything they do must speak to or for or about the entire race.”
While Ligon’s body of work spans neon, photography, sculptures, print, installation, and video, he is most widely associated with his text-based paintings that draw on the writings and speech of diverse fgures such as Jean Genet, Zora Neale Hurston, Gertrude Stein, and Walt Whitman. Untitled (I am an Invisible Man…), is a work from 1991, a seminal year for Ligon’s practice and a moment that solidifed his use of typewriter text and literary references. This particular work features a redacted presentation of the beginning of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man from 1952, which read: “I am an invisible man…I am a man of substance, of fesh and bone, fber and liquids — and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” Teetering between text and image, the work powerfully achieves Ligon’s conceptual project of taking the premise of Ellison’s text into new conceptual pastures. As Ligon noted, “I’m interested in what happens when a text is difcult to read or frustrates legibility—what that says about our ability to think about each other, know each other, process each other”. In denying the viewer full semantic access to the text, Ligon essentially exposes the inability to look beyond surface appearance and performs the realities of racial (in)visibility. While the choice of black oilstick visualizes “blackness”, Ligon’s use of coal both obscures the text and imbues the work with a host of ambivalent undertones: “I am drawn to black because of all of the contradictory readings it engenders. Worthless. Waste. Black. Beautiful. Shiny. Refective.”
19. Noah Purifoy Untitled signed and dated “Noah Purifoy 1992” on the lower surface mixed media 16 x 24 1/8 x 4 3/8 in. (40.6 x 61.3 x 11.1 cm.) Executed in 1992. Provenance Private Collection (acquired directly from the artist) Tilton Gallery, New York Exhibited Oshkosh, Allen Priebe Gallery, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Random Transformations: Assemblages by Noah Purifoy, October 13 - November 7, 1999
Born 1917, Snow Hill, AL Died 2004, Joshua Tree, CA 1956 BFA, Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA 1948 MA, Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA 1943 BS, Alabama State Teachers College, Montgomery, AL
Selected honors: Visual Artist Award, The Flintridge Foundation, Pasadena, CA (1997-8), Pollock Krasner Foundation (1993) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio; Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, California; and the Hammer Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles, California Selected public collections: Museum of Modern Art, New York; Smithsonian Archives of American Art; University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, Wisconsin; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington DC “I do not wish to be an artist,” Noah Purifoy wrote in 1963, “I only wish that art enables me to be.” The frst African American full-time student to enroll in Chouinard Art Institute, Purifoy was a social worker, teacher and assemblage artist whose remarkable legacy is only beginning to be fully understood, due in part to his 2015 retrospective at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.
A key fgure in the California assemblage movement in the 1960s and 1970s, Purifoy was a founding director of the Watt Towers Arts Center. In art as in life, he pursued his fervent belief in “art as a tool for change”. As Purifoy once explained, “I’ve never been happy with the little things that hang on the wall. I perceived art as a tool for change and when I started the program in Watts I saw art as a potential savior.” Inspired by Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers, an outdoor installation created from scrap metal and found objects, and the charred debris of the 1965 Watts Rebellion, Purifoy pursued a Duchampian approach to art making that profoundly impacted artists such as David Hammons, John Outterbridge and Senga Nengudi. As Purifoy recalled of the impact of the Watts rebellion: “I was in the middle of it but I wasn’t afraid, I thought it was great because it was overdue and it turned out to be a gold mine for me. I collected three tons of debris from the riot and began making art out of it…the debris from the riot is what fnally launched me on my own course.” Afer eleven years of public policy work for the California Arts Council, where Purifoy initiated programs such as Artists in Social Institutions to bring art into the state prison system, the artist moved to the southern Mojave Desert in the late 1980s. Over the course of the last ffeen years of his life, Purifoy created what is now the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Sculpture Museum, which contains large scale assemblages, sculptures and installations.
20. Sam Gilliam All Colors Stacks signed, titled and dated “”All Colors Stacks” Sam Gilliam, ‘96” on the reverse polypropylene and acrylic on wood with aluminum fasteners 56 7/8 x 31 3/4 x 5 7/8 in. (144.4 x 80.5 x 15 cm.) Executed in 1996. Provenance Private Collection, Asia Baumgartner Galleries Inc., Washington, D.C. Private Collection Phillips, London, March 9, 2018, lot 192 Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Born 1933, Tupelo, MS Lives and works in Washington, D.C. 1955 BA, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 1961 MFA, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Selected honors: Archives of American Art Medal (2018); U.S. State Department Medal of Arts (2015); Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts (2007); Workshop Activities Grant, National Endowment for the Arts (1973-1975); Solomon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1971); Norman W. Harris Prize, Art Institute of Chicago (1969); and Individual Artist Grant, National Endowment for the Arts (1967) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: The Phillips Collection, Washington DC; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Speed Art Museum, Louisville; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, Lyon, France; 34th Biennial of Contemporary American Painting, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Museum of Modern Art, New York; XXXVI Venice Biennale, American Pavilion, Venice, Italy Selected public collections: The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Tate Modern, London; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York “At Age 84, ‘Living Legend’ Sam Gilliam Is Enjoying His Greatest Renaissance Yet” – so read the headline of a
January 2, 2018 artnet article covering the all-time high of Sam Gilliam’s critical and market attention. More than 40 years years since Gilliam became the frst African American artist to represent the United States at the Venice Bienniale in 1972, the abstract painter’s career has been catapulted to widespread acclaim. In 2016, a major new commission, Yet I Do Marvel, debuted in the lobby of the highly anticipated National Museum of African American History and Culture in his hometown of Washington, DC, and in 2017 he made his return to the Venice Biennale with his brilliantly colored, unstretched canvas Yves Klein Blue that welcomed visitors to the Giardini’s main pavilion. Most recently, his work has been included in Soul of A Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, the landmark exhibition organized by the Tate Modern, London, that will travel to the Broad Museum in Los Angeles afer closing at the Brooklyn Museum in February 2019. Gilliam’s innovations from the late 1960s and early 1970s cemented his reputation as one of the most preeminent artists associated with the Washington Color School. Characteristically pushing his medium to its very limits, Gilliam experimented with color, process and materiality like earlier Color Field artists Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland, but took a radically diferent path in his dismantling of the canvas stretcher. He frst rose to fame in the late 1960s with his drape paintings, which came out of his experiments with unsupported canvases – works he said were partly inspired by watching women hang laundry on clotheslines from his studio window in Washington, DC. In 1967, he began creating his slices, or bevelled-edge paintings, which saw him pour paint onto unstretched and unprimed canvases and then fold and crumple the fabric before stretching it on a frame. Since then, he has produced considerable bodies of work, ranging from geometric collage, etchings, watercolors, and quilted paintings to more recent forays into computer generated images and assemblage.
21. Thornton Dial Looking for the Right Spot metal, clothing, oil, enamel, and Splash Zone compound on canvas 72 x 84 in. (182.9 x 213.4 cm.) Executed in 2004. Provenance Private Collection Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York Exhibited New York, Andrew Edlin Gallery, Beverly Buchanan, Thornton Dial, and the Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers, June 27 - August 17, 2018
Born 1928, Emelle, AL Died 2016, McCalla, AL
Selected museum exhibitions and performances: New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; American Folk Art Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; New York, Andrew Edlin Gallery, Beverly Buchanan, Thornton Dial, and the Gee’s Bend Quiltmakers, June 27 - August 17, 2018 Selected public collections: Brooklyn Museum, New York; Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York The “discovery” of Thornton Dial’s work in the 1980s has ofen been retold. Growing up in rural Alabama and beginning full-time farm work at age fve, Dial spent most of his life working in heavy industry—building highways, houses and railcars. Widely considered as of the most revered self-taught artists of the past century, Dial was an extraordinarily prolifc maker of assemblage sculptures from childhood on. Using industrial and organic scrap materials, he built what he considered as “things”. It was only late in life, when Atlanta collector William Arnett brought his work to prominence, that he learned that others viewed this as art. With a raw, gestural aesthetic, and containing both abstract patterns and
fgurative forms, Dial’s work demonstrates the ambition and intellectual reach reminiscent of many modern and contemporary masters. “Dial’s life is inseparable from history because he had made it his business as an artist to be a historian,” John Beardsley has written “Dial lived history, then he represented it in paintings and sculptures”. Using the overlooked and under-considered material artifacts of everyday American life, Dial addresses American sociopolitical exigencies such as war, racism, bigotry and homelessness. Though initially heralded within the framework of “outsider art”, in recent years Dial’s far-reaching legacy has been acknowledged. In a 2011 Time Magazine profle, art and architecture critic Richard Lacayo argued that Dial’s work should not be pigeonholed into the narrowly-defned categories: “Dial’s work has sometimes been described as ‘outsider art’… But if there’s one lesson to take away from “Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial,” a triumphant new retrospective at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, it’s that Dial, 82, doesn’t belong within even the broad confnes of that category.... What he does can be discussed as art, just art, no surplus notions of outsiderness required….And not just that, but some of the most assured, delightful and powerful art around.”
22. Kehinde Wiley Passing/Posing, Jean de Carodelet signed “Kehinde Wiley 04” on the reverse oil and enamel on canvas 96 x 72 in. (243.8 x 182.9 cm.) Executed in 2004. Provenance Simon Watson Arts, New York (acquired directly from the artist) Acquired from the above by the present owner
Born 1977, Los Angeles, CA Lives and works in New York, NY 2001 MFA, Yale University, School of Art, New Haven, CT 1999 BFA, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
Selected honors: US State Department Medal of Arts (2015); The Brooklyn Museum Asher B. Durand Award for Artistic Achievement (2014); Cultural Leadership Award, American Federation of Arts (2013); Americans for the Arts, Young Artist Award for Artistic Excellence (2008) Selected museum exhibitions: The Brooklyn Museum, New York; Phoenix Art Museum; The Jewish Museum, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon Selected public collections: Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Denver Art Museum; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Seattle Art Museum and many private collections Kehinde Wiley made history in 2018. Having gained international acclaim for his portraits of African Americans over the past 15 years, Wiley became the frst black artist to paint the ofcial presidential portrait for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. The unveiling of his portrait of former president Barack Obama in February 2018 was followed shortly afer by the momentous announcement that he was named as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most infuential people in the world. Hip hop artist LL Cool J penned Wiley’s profle, lauding him as a “classically, formally trained artist who is transforming the way African Americans are seen—going against the grain of what the world is accustomed to…Kehinde has an MFA from Yale, but instead of using his art to assimilate into mainstream society, he goes minorstream, creating major works that outpace that of the majority of his contemporaries. When you see a Kehinde Wiley painting, you recognize it. He has created a visual brand that remains artistically fresh. And his many paintings in the Smithsonian—including one of me and one of former President Obama—speak to his creative genius.”
© Tony Powell 2015
The large-scale portrait Jean de Carodelet belongs to Wiley’s series Passing/Posing that featured prominently in his breakthrough museum exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum in 2004. As art historian and curator Sarah Lewis wrote in her Art in America feature “De(i)fying the Masters”: “the artist renders casually dressed African-American men standing in the postures of prophets, saints and angels from Renaissance paintings, or of male subjects from later European portraits. Wiley thus inserts black males into a painting tradition that has typically omitted them or relegated them to peripheral positions. At the same time, he critiques contemporary portrayals of black masculinity itself… the frst room contained the foundational elements of Wiley’s portraits: four framed photographs of his models posing, a selection of books on European portraiture and Renaissance painting, and a single portrait, Jean de Carondelet (2004), accompanied by a thumbnail reproduction of its identically titled source painting, a ca. 1530 work by Jan Cornelisz in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum.” While Wiley has now become widely known for his portrait of Barack Obama, his models largely consist of African American men Wiley encountered on the streets of Harlem. Approaching them with images of his work, Wiley asks permission to make a portrait of them in his studio. “They’re assuming the poses of colonial masters, the former bosses of the Old World,” Wiley explains, “Whenever I do photo shoots for paintings, I pull out a stack of books, whether it be something from the High Renaissance or the late French Rococo or the 19th century, it’s all thrown together in one big jumble. I take the fgure out of its original environment and place it in something completely made up.” Dressed in everyday clothing, Wiley’s larger-than-life fgures blur the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation. His portraits force a critical consideration of the codifed portrayal of black masculinity, a deeply personal concern for Wiley. A contemporary descendent of such Old Master portraitists as Velázquez, Holbein, Titian and Ingres, Wiley engages the visual rhetoric of the heroic and majestic to explore pressing issues surrounding race, gender and sexuality, in the process correcting the lack of black fgures in the canon of art history.
23. Mickalene Thomas Diamond in the Rough signed “Mickalene Thomas 2005” on the reverse rhinestones, acrylic and enamel on wood panel 60 x 48 in. (152.4 x 121.9 cm.) Executed in 2005. Provenance Rhona Hofman Gallery, Chicago Acquired from the above by the present owner
Born 1971, Camden, NJ Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY 2002 MFA, Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT 2000 BFA, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
Selected honors: Audience Award: Favorite Short, 2nd Annual Black Star Film Festival (2013); Asher B. Durand Award, Brooklyn Museum of Art (2012); Timerhi Award for Leadership in the Arts (2010); Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (2009) Selected museum exhibitions: The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO; Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY Selected public collections: Brooklyn Museum, NY; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and many private collections Drawing on art history and popular culture, Mickalene Thomas examines black female sexuality, beauty and power through paintings, collages, photography, video, and installations. Thomas is perhaps most widely known for her signature use of rhinestones that she incorporates to create texturally rich paintings, using them to shade and accentuate specifc elements of each work. A symbol of femininity, the rhinestones serve as an added layer of meaning but also metaphor of artifce – subtly confronting assumptions about femininity and womanhood. While
choosing to depict powerful women, such as her mother, family members, friends, and also celebrities and art historical fgures, Thomas models her women on the classic poses and abstract settings found throughout Western art history. As Roberta Smith wrote about the hugely successful 2012 exhibition Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe in The New York Times on September 27, 2012, “The unabashed visual richness of these works attests to the power of the decorative while extending the tenets of Conceptual identity art into an unusually full-bodied form of painting. Enhanced by burning colors; outrageously tactile, rhinestone-studded surfaces; and fractured, almost Cubist perspectives, these images draw equally from 19th- and 20th-century French modernism, portrait painting, 1970s blaxploitation extravagance and an array of postwar pictorial styles…As a black woman who loves women, Ms. Thomas is in a double bind, and she makes the most of this in order to transcend it. Through the scale and material capaciousness of painting, she celebrates, decorates and really venerates the black female body by making it and its lavish surroundings bracingly tangible. She doesn’t so much depict a universal humanity as practically force it into the viewer’s place, where it implicates, illuminates and bedazzles.”
24. Betye Saar Domestic Life mixed media assemblage 34 1/2 x 17 1/8 x 18 in. (87.6 x 43.5 x 45.7 cm.) Executed in 2007. Provenance The Artist Exhibited Milan, Fondazione Prada, Betye Saar: Uneasy Dancer, September 15, 2016 - January 8, 2017
Born 1926, Los Angeles, CA Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Courtesy of the artist and Roberts Projects, LosAngeles; Photo: Ashley Walker
1949 BA, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
Selected honors: Edward MacDowell Medal for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts (2014); Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles Distinguished Women in the Arts Award (2013); Anonymous Was A Woman Award (2012) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Norton Museum of Art, West Palm, Beach, FL; Crocker Museum of Art, Sacramento, CA; The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA Selected public collections: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Gallery of American Art, Washington, DC; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY Betye Saar’s work coalesces the “personal” with the “political”, utilizing the intimacy of nostalgia and assemblage to address social inequalities and cultural issues. An instrumental participant in many 20th century artistic moments – including the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s and feminist art – Saar began creating politically-charged collages and assemblages afer the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Since then, her art has tackled the realities of racism and sexism and has been a mode of processing outrage; the artist has explained that her work looks to answer the questions: “What can you do when you see that violence and racism on television? What do you do with that rage and negativity?”
Working with myriad media and concepts, Saar has deemed herself a recycler or conjurer. “I recycle things that I fnd. It’s not only materials, images and objects, but feelings and ideas. I put them together and they turn into an art object, collage, assemblage or installation.” Her technique of salvaging objects at yard and estate sales and transmuting them into three-dimensional contained spaces was infuenced by the small-scale intimate box works of Joseph Cornell, an exhibition of which Saar visited at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1967. Cornell’s impact on Saar’s oeuvre is particularly conspicuous in Domestic Life, 2007, which is composed of miniature fgures confned by a bird-cage; however, while her predecessor experimented with the fantastical world of Surrealism, Saar’s assemblage addressed the current reality of oppressed identities. “Cages were about incarceration,” she asserted. “Racism is a cage that still prevails.” The exaggerated features of the trapped fgures evoke racist stereotypes and depictions of African Americans and their captivity might allude to Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem Sympathy, in which a caged bird symbolizes a chained slave. The metal structure of Domestic Life may also reference one of Saar’s favorite architectural sculptures, the Watts Towers – the landmark of a working class African-American neighborhood famous for the 1965 Watts riots. Not only does Domestic Life explore the dialectics of personal / political and private / public, but also that of birth / death. To Saar, the artist is an active resuscitator as opposed to simply a passive recorder of death. “I work with dead objects, with things that people have thrown away: old photographs, and so on,” Saar has said. “But my work is at the crossroads between death and rebirth. Discarded materials have been recycled, so they’re born anew, because the artist has the power to do that.”
25. Tyree Guyton Highway acrylic, plastic and paint lids on Masonite 51 3/8 x 41 1/4 x 5 1/2 in. (130.5 x 104.8 x 14 cm.) Executed in 2008. Provenance The Artist and Martos Gallery, New York
Born 1955, Detroit, MI Lives and works in Detroit, MI College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI Honorary Doctorate, College for Creative Studies, Detroit, MI Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Ecumenical Theological Seminary, Detroit, MI
Selected honors: White Columns /Shoot the Lobster Award (2018), Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2015); Wayne County International Artist Award (2003); “Spirit of Detroit Award,” Detroit City Council, Detroit, Michigan (1989) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfeld Hills, Michigan; Minnesota Museum of Art, Saint Paul; The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit; and Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; The Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI For over three decades, Tyree Guyton has dedicated himself to being an artist, educator, and community activist. Guyton found his way to art in 1980, having previously served in the U.S. Army and working at the Ford Motor Company. Studying painting and sculptor at the Detroit’s College for Creative Studies and at Marygrove College, he was mentored by Charles McGhee, who introduced Guyton to the works of Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and Robert Blackwell. It was in 1986 that Guyton, shocked by escalating urban violence and deterioration, began painting found objects that he placed into trees or nailed stufed animals and dolls to abandoned houses as memorials. In the same year he initiated the Heidelberg Project, the colorfully painted polka dotted outdoor art installation on Guyton’s childhood street in Detroit for which he became famous. It is through his art
that Guyton managed to bring the world’s attention to the East Side of Detroit that has largely been abandoned since the 1967 riots. With his multi-media practice, which encompasses painting, sculpture, assemblage and installations, Guyton aims to, “challenge tradition and convention. We live in a world full of corruption from the top to the bottom, values seem to no longer exist and rules are broken everyday. For me, art is a way of expressing life. My work is a science that deals with colors, shapes, objects that brings about a rare beauty to the mind and eyes of people, a type of esthete. My art is life, life that lives on with time because the entire creation is an art form.” As Carl Swanson most recently wrote in his December 5, 2018 Vulture article, “Tyree Guyton, famous for his whimsically apocalyptic Heidelberg Project in Detroit, has ofen been categorized more as an ‘outsider’ than as an ‘artist,’ but now he’s moving inside. Literally: There is an elegantly and pristinely curated show of his work at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD). But also inside the art world: He’s joined the Martos Gallery in New York, which will do a show with him next fall…”. Afer years of dedication to his socially engaged public art installations, Guyton is receiving due recognition, including his participation in the 2011 Venice Architecture Biennale followed by exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland and at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, among others.
26. Whitfeld Lovell Cut signed “Whitfeld Lovell Whitfeld Lovell” on the reverse conte crayon and wallpaper on wood with axes and nails 45 1/2 x 36 3/4 x 4 in. (115.6 x 93.3 x 10.2 cm.) Executed in 2008. Provenance DC Moore Gallery, New York Exhibited New York, DC Moore Gallery, Whitfeld Lovell: Kith and Kin, October 2 - November 8, 2008 Photo: Sandra Paci
Born 1959, Bronx, NY Lives and works in New York, NY 1981 BFA, The Cooper Union School of Art, New York, NY
Selected honors: National Academy Award for Excellence, New York, NY (2014); Malvina Hofman Artist Fund Prize for Sculpture, National Academy Museum, New York, NY (2009); MacArthur Fellows Program (2007) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Seattle Art Museum, WA; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY Selected public collections: Brooklyn Museum, NY; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY History, memory and identity are at the core of Whitfeld Lovell’s practice. For almost 30 years, Lovell has created nuanced portraits of anonymous African Americans by combining exceptional drafsmanship with evocative found images and objects he fnds at fea markets, antique stores and estate sales. Lovell, who counts his earliest memories as being of his father developing family photographs in their Bronx apartment, bases his detailed drawings on pre-Civil Rights era photographs and tintypes. While matching the photographs’ precision, he ofen draws these portraits on stained and weathered wood and juxtaposes the evocative images with objects that seem to point to diferent moments of U.S. history.
As Kimberly Lamm, writing for The Brooklyn Rail on the subject of Lovell’s solo exhibition at DC Moore Gallery in 2008, highlighted the present work: “The objects Lovell places within the frame of these portraits do not reveal historical or narrative context easily. In ‘Cut’ (2008), Lovell depicts a middle-aged woman in a thick coat that buttons loosely at the waist. She wears a day bonnet at a sharp angle and is posed looking diagonally across the frame with hurt and determined eyes. In the wood plank furthest to the right are the lacy remnants of a foral wallpaper that give a sense of gentility and beauty to the work, but also contrast sharply with the two axes and two nails Lovell has placed to her lef. The axes suggest the violence against which this woman may have defended herself, but this response relies too easily on narratives of her victimization. How do we see this woman in relation to racist violence without cutting into her image with cruel simplicity? Lovell’s work ofers the possibility of reading images of African-Americans without flling in our gaps of knowledge too quickly.”
27. Dread Scott Four performance stills from I Am Not a Man: (i) still 60; (ii) still 68; (iii) still 114; (iv) still 220 pigment print each 22 x 30 in. (55.9 x 76.2 cm.) Executed in 2009, each work is number 4 from an edition of 5. Provenance The Artist Exhibited Houston, Contemporary Art Museum Houston; New York, Studio Museum in Harlem; Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, San Francisco, Yerba Buena Art Center, Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, November 17, 2012 - October 11, 2015 (another example exhibited) Opa-locka, FL, The Arc, Through the Eyes of Others, December 1 - December 12, 2015 (another example exhibited) Warsaw, Poster Museum at Wilanów, 25th International Poster Biennale in Warsaw: The Poster Remediated, June 12 - September 25, 2016 Copenhagen, The Center for Art Migration Politics, Decolonizing Appearance, September 21, 2018 - March 30, 2019 (another example exhibited)
Born 1965, Rochester, NY Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY 1993 Independent Study Program, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY 1989 BFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL Selected honors: The MAP Fund (2016); Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2014); Artist-in-Residence, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn New York (2014); Art Matters Grant (2013); Franklin Furnace Fund Grant (2009) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Santa Fe Art Institute, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Rosenberg Gallery, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York; Bowery Poetry Club, New York, New York; MoCADA, Brooklyn, New York; and Ringling School of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida Selected public collections: Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York; Laura Lee Brown, Steve Wilson Collection, International Contemporary Art Foundation, Louisville, KY; The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Dread Scott is known for his provocative and frequently controversial work that illuminates the realities of oppression and exclusion. His 1989 work What is the Proper Way to Display a US Flag? attracted national attention and sparked massive protests about the sacredness and inviolability of the symbol of America. Never shying from controversy, Scott’s work has always tackled contentious topics with bravery and tact.
For the piece I Am Not a Man, 2009, the artist wandered the streets in Harlem, New York wearing a sign that read the title of the work. According to Scott, “throughout the walk, action in the performance evoked the humiliation that is visited on black people and the negation that defnes our existence.” The performance—which took place on September 9, 2009—alludes to 1968 Memphis Sanitation workers strike by inverting its iconic sign ‘I Am a Man’. Further, by repudiating the assumption that the United States has entered a ‘post-racial’ era, “I Am Not a Man resides in the uncomfortable space between a racefree fantasy world and the lived experience of millions.” The focus of Scott’s work can perhaps best be comprehended by understanding his name. His professional name carries a myriad of interpretations: it evokes Dred Scott, the black slave who fled a lawsuit for his freedom during the 1850s while also referring to Rastafarian dreadlocks and bringing up the concept of dread. As he explained, “if people see me or my work with dread, if they are threatened by it, well, those people who want to exploit society should be threatened by art.”
28. Trenton Doyle Hancock Hot Coals in Soul acrylic and mixed media on canvas 90 x 108 in. (228.6 x 274.3 cm.) Executed in 2010. Provenance James Cohan Gallery, New York Exhibited New York, James Cohan Gallery, ...And Then It All Came Back to Me, November 8 - December 2, 2012 Cincinnati, Carl Solway Gallery, Shooting the Moon in the Eye, April 25 - July 26, 2014 Fayetteville, University of Arkansas Fine Arts Center Gallery, About Face, October 24 - December 4, 2016
Born 1974, Oklahoma City, OK Lives and works in Houston, TX 2000 MFA, Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Philadelphia 1997 BFA Texas A&M Unviersity, Commerce
Selected honors: Texas Medal of Arts Award for Visual Arts (2019); Greenfeld Prize for Visual Art (2013); Joyce Alexander Wein Award, Studio Museum Harlem (2007); Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (1998) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, VA; The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. TX; The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland; and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands Selected public collections: Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; the Studio Museum, New York, NY; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA For almost two decades, Trenton Doyle Hancock has been constructing fantastical narratives of the battle between good and evil. Hancock pursues his singular vision and distinctive means of storytelling across a variety of media, including painting, collage, sculpture, print and the performing arts. Featured in the 2000 and 2002 Whitney Biennial, Hancock was one of the youngest artists in history to participate in the museum’s prestigious survey at the time and has garnered acclaim for his exuberant worlds sufused with autobiography and fantasy.
Hancock’s complex mythological battles at once recall biblical stories that the artist learned as a child from his family and local church community, comic-strip superhero battles, and medieval morality plays – all conveyed through a visual language that merges disparate infuences such as pulp fction, comic books, abstract painting with references to forebears as varied as Hieronymus Bosch, Max Ernst, and Philip Guston. “For years I was actively searching in art history and contemporary art for things that were refections of me,” Hancock recalled of his earlier work in conversation with Paula Ferrario for Art in America in 2012. “I could only fnd my voice as a composite of many diferent artists… But I could only put the process in motion by setting up a narrative, where I felt more in control.” Hancock transforms traditionally formal decisions—such as use of color, language, and pattern—into opportunities to create new characters, develop sub-plots and convey symbolic meaning. As Hancock stated, “I hope for my painting to be the merging of comic book narrative with the history of abstraction.”
29. Shinique Smith Bale Variant #0021 clothing, fabric, objects, wrapping paper and ribbon 84 x 27 x 27 in. (213.4 x 68.6 x 68.6 cm.) Executed in 2011. Provenance David Castillo Gallery, Miami Exhibited Los Angeles, California African American Museum, Shinique Smith: Refuge, March 14 - September 9, 2018
Photo: Gary Pennock
Born 1971, Baltimore, MD Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY 2003 MFA Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD 2000 MA, Tufts University, Medford, MA 1992 BFA, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Selected honors: Louis Comfort Tifany Foundation Biennial Award (2016); Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship (2008); New York Foundation for the Arts, Gregory Millard Fellowship in Sculpture (2007); Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture Fellowship (2003) Selected museum exhibitions: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville Selected public collections: Denver Art Museum; Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Rubell Family Collection, Miami; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York In 2005, Shinique Amie Smith was among the 35 artists chosen for The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Frequency, an exhibition that continued the tradition of identifying a new generation of black artists that the museum had initiated nearly fve years earlier with the groundbreaking show Freestyle. Exhibited next to the work of other emerging artists such as Nick Cave, Xaviera Simmons and Hank Willis Thomas, Shinique’s bale sculpture composed of second-hand clothing gained her critical attention. Ever since, she has made installations incorporating materials collected from communities and thrif shops, notably clothes, but also toys and other ephemera.
“I think my work is very American, and the way we consume and cast of is unique to us,” said Smith, who was inspired to make sculpture from clothing afer reading an article of how a shirt given by a woman in Manhattan to a local thrif store, made its way to a bale of used clothing and eventually was bought in Africa. While retaining the associations, Smith subsumes the material into a composition by tying the textiles together in cubes, bundles and dense assemblages. She describes her process as a personal one: “It all begins with emotion, an expression and I allow myself to go on a journey in the making of each work, a journey of associations between object and color, between lyrics and fabric, between the viewer and me.” Exploring the connections and values we ascribe to objects, Smith addresses questions of abstraction, all the while probing how her material has both personal meaning, as well as social and cultural signifcance.
30. Jack Whitten Target (In & Out) #7 signed, titled, numbered and dated “TARGET (IN & OUT) #7 2011 J. Whitten JW00740D” on the reverse magnetite and acrylic on rice paper 16 7/8 x 17 in. (42.9 x 43.2 cm.) Executed in 2011. Provenance Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago
Born 1939, Bessemer, AL Died 2018, New York, NY 1964 BFA, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, NY
Selected honors: Skowhegan Medal for Painting (2017); National Medal of Arts (2016); The Aldrich A2A Award (2017); National Medal of Arts (2015); and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship (1976) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Baltimore Museum of Art, MD; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; MoMA PS1, Queens, NY Selected public collections: The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and Tate, London
Jack Whitten, who passed away at age 78 in January 2018, is celebrated for his infuential approach to painting. While initially aligned with the New York circle of Abstract Expressionists in the mid-1960s, particularly Willem de Kooning, Whitten became known for his focus on the experimental aspects of process and technique in painting. Fascinated with the materiality of painting at a time when the medium was deemed “dead”, Whitten in the early 1970s fervently sought an alternative approach to art making. As he wrote in 1972: “I’ve done so much. I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried the saw blade, afro comb… To be as clear as possible without becoming confused. I JUST WANT A SLAB OF PAINT.” He achieved his artistic breakthrough with what he called the “developer”, a proprietary foor-based tool that allowed him to quickly
spread a layer of acrylic paint onto the canvas with a single gesture – resulting in his signature slab paintings. For the next fve decades, Whitten relentlessly pushed his practice to new heights – bridging gestural abstraction with process art, mechanical automation with intensely personal expression. “I sincerely believe that in the black community of artists, especially those of us dealing with abstraction, art has to go beyond the general notions of race, gender, nationalism,” he told Art in America magazine in 2013. “Things have evolved to the degree where there is a possibility of a new sensibility out there. We’re into a global aesthetic here, and anyone that doesn’t see that has a real old-fashioned way of thinking.” His all-embracing vision led him to create works on such diverse themes as quantum physics and contemporary events, such as 9/11 or school shootings, as well as experiment with diferent media. While former President Barack Obama awarded Whitten the National Medal of Arts in 2016, he was profoundly under recognized by the mainstream art world for most of his 55-year career. Most recently, his sculptural output was subject to a major exhibition that travelled from the Baltimore Museum of Art to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2018.
31. Mark Bradford 1872 South signed with the artist’s initial, titled and dated “1872 South 2012 m” on the reverse mixed media collage on canvas 104 x 144 in. (259.1 x 365.76 cm.) Executed in 2012. Provenance Private Collection, Los Angeles Exhibited London, White Cube, Through Darkest America by Truck and Tank, October 16 – December 22, 2013, p. 146 (illustrated)
Born 1961, Los Angeles, CA Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA 1997 MFA, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA 1995 BA, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA
Selected honors: Bucksbaum Award (2006); Louis Comfort Tifany Foundation Award (2003); and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2002) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Baltimore Museum of Art; Broad Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; REDCAT, Los Angeles; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
Now acclaimed worldwide, Mark Bradford was frst recognized on the contemporary art scene in 2001, following the inclusion of his multi-layered collage paintings in Thelma Golden’s Freestyle exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem. The groundbreaking exhibition introduced him alongside 27 other emerging African American artists as part of a generation of “post-Black” artists who sought to transcend the label of “Black artist”, while still deeply exploring and re-defning the complex notions of blackness. Bradford’s ascent has been as awe-inspiring as it is deserving: from critical attention in Freestyle, to his frst solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York in 2007, to his installation at the 2017 Venice Biennial as the frst African American artist to represent the United States.
Critical of the ways in which the annals of art history divorced abstract art from its political context, particularly when looking at the Abstract Expressionists working in the 1950s, Bradford has endeavored to “make abstract painting and imbue it with policy, and political, and gender, and race, and sexuality”. Bradford’s pursuit of what he has termed “social abstraction”, that is, “abstract art with a social or political context clinging to the edges”, is deeply indebted to his choice of materials that allow him to imbue his works with a proliferation of readings, from art historical, to political, to autobiographical. Bradford’s choice of material has always been deeply connected to his biography and everyday existence. While Bradford’s early work utilized end-papers, the use of which was inspired by time at his mother’s hair salon, in the mid-2000s the artist shifed towards using paper material sourced on the streets of his immediate neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles. Despite the fact that Bradford is known for making paintings out of found printed material, his works only reveals glimpses of their original documentary intent. Working in the lineage of the Dadaists and the Nouveau Réalisme movement, Bradford honed a refned technique of a décollage, a process defned by cutting, tearing away or otherwise removing, pieces of an original image. As Bradford notes of his choice of material, “I am an artist that paints with paper… I begin to take these materials and form what I consider painting, sculptural painting.”
32. Theaster Gates Civil Rights Throw Rug (7200.43) decommissioned fre hose and trim 38 x 32 in. (96.5 x 81.3 cm.) Executed in 2012, this work is from an edition of 20 unique variants plus 3 artist’s proofs. Provenance Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago
Born 1973, Chicago, IL Lives and works in Chicago, IL 2006 MS (Urban Planning, Ceramics, Religious Studies) Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 1998 MA (Fine Arts, Religious Studies), University of Cape Town 1996 BS (Urban planning, Ceramics), Iowa State University, Iowa
Selected honors: Nasher Prize (2018), Artes Mundi (2015), Creative Capital Grant (2012) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Fondazione Prada, Milan; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Seattle Art Museum; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Documenta 13 Selected public collections: Art Institute of Chicago, Brooklyn Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem and many other public and private collections.
Rebuild Foundation in Chicago as a not-for-proft engine to rebuild the cultural foundation of underinvested neighborhoods. Perhaps Gates’s most ambitious urban development project is The Dorchester Project, the transformation of an abandoned building in Chicago’s South Side into a cultural hub. Gates has described this project as “real estate art”, as part of a “circular ecological system” whereby the sale of sculptures and works of art that were created from the materials salvaged from their interior fnance the renovation of the buildings.
Theaster Gates has expanded the defnition of what it means to be an artist. Trained in urban planning, religious studies and fne arts, Gates has developed an expanded practice that works to bridge the gap between art and life. Encompassing sculpture, installation, performance and urban interventions, Gates’s practice aims to function as a catalyst for social engagement to engender political and spatial change. Gates is widely known for forming the
Civil Rights Throw Rug 7200.43 belongs to Gates’ series of appropriated regulation fre hoses. By incorporating a medium loaded with symbolism and historical propensity (policemen ofen stymied civil rights protests by blasting activists with high-pressure fre hoses), Gates simultaneously references both the racial tensions of the 1950s while also identifying the ongoing struggle for civil rights.
33. Fred Wilson No Way But This Murano glass and light bulbs 70 1/8 x 68 1/2 x 68 1/2 in. (178.1 x 174 x 174 cm.) Executed in 2013, this work is number 1 from an edition of 6 plus 2 artist’s proofs. Provenance The Artist Pace Gallery, New York
Born 1954, Bronx, NY Lives and works in New York, NY
© Kerry Ryan McFate, February 2005
1976 BFA, State University of New York, Purchase
Selected honors: Larry Aldrich Foundation Award (2003), MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” (1999) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: New York, Pace Gallery, Fred Wilson: Sculptures, Paintings and Installations 2004 - 2014, September 12 - October 18, 2014, p. 71 (another example exhibited); New York, Pace Gallery, Glass, June 27 - August 19, 2016 (another example exhibited); Ohio, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Fred Wilson: Black to the Powers of Ten, August 30, 2016 - June 12, 2017, pp. 78 and 82 (illustrated); Purchase, New York, Neuberger Museum of Art, Fred Wilson, March 19 - July 30, 2017 (another example exhibited) Selected public collections: Tate Museum, London; The Art Institute of Chicago; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Denver Art Museum; Long Museum, Shanghai; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston For over three decades, conceptual artist Fred Wilson has drawn our attention to objects and cultural symbols as he brilliantly deconstructs social and historical narratives regarding art, culture and race. Wilson is perhaps best known for his 1992 landmark exhibition Mining the Museum, in which he created provocative tableaux by selecting and arranging objects from the collection of the Maryland Historical Society to confront politics of erasure and exclusion. In tandem with his project of creating site-specifc installations as a form of institutional critique, Wilson also uses pre-existing objects as a springboard for new work to explore the role of creating and shaping meaning. As the artist explains: “Objects have various lives and these lives are formed by the context that they’re in. Where they’re moved to can change their meaning… My goal is to tease out other ways of looking at and viewing the objects, and see what that elicits.”
The chandelier No Way But This, 2013, is an iconic work that developed out of Wilson’s contribution to the 50th Venice Bienniale in 2003. Selected to represent the United States, Wilson’s exhibition Speak of Me as I Am presented site-specifc work that examined both the participation and representations of Africans in early modern art and decorative objects, as well as contemporary race relations in Venice. His carved wooden “blackamoors” – black fgurine sculptures in subservient poses ofen used as lampstands– made visible the incendiary nature of objects that are so common in Venice that few people even notice them. For another installation, he employed an acquaintance to pretend to be an African street vendor selling fake designer bags pointedly placed outside of the U.S. pavilion, with the bags in fact being Wilson’s own designs. The work attracted the attention of local police who dragged the vendor away. As Phoebe Hoban wrote in her review of the U.S. pavilion in New York Magazine, “Perhaps the most resonant work in the pavilion is its simplest: Wilson contracted the famed Murano glassmakers to create a traditional seventeenthcentury chandelier in ebony-black glass. Hung in the entrance of the neoclassical pavilion, against yellow walls meant to evoke the gold-leaf chambers of St. Mark’s basilica, the chandelier could be a giant spider, or a black cloud of tears.” Wilson’s work with Murano glassmaking, a prestigious 500 year old tradition, was prompted by his research about Venice’s rarely discussed or even acknowledged yet substantial African population in 18th century and their participation in glassmaking. Fabricating works such as No Way But This from onyx Murano glass, a color never before used for decorative objects, opaque material ironically obscures light. Equally mournful and seductive, the chandelier sees Wilson use black both as a material and a subject – confronting us with themes of class privilege, tradition and race relations.
34. Pope.L Gold People Shit in their Vale mixed media on paper in artist’s frame 85 x 62 3/4 in. (215.9 x 159.4 cm.) Executed in 2014. Provenance Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York (acquired directly from the artist) Exhibited Brussels, Catherine Bastide, Pope.L: Gold People Shit In Their Valet, September 13 - October 18, 2014 Photo courtesy of the artist
Born 1955, Newark, NJ Lives and works in Chicago, IL 1981 MFA, Rutgers University, NJ 1978 BA, Montclair State University, NJ
Selected honors: Whitney Museum Bucksbaum Award (2017); Joyce Foundation Award (2012); Tifany Foundation Award (2007); United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship (2006); Guggenheim Fellowship (2004) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Museum of Modern Art, New York; New Museum, New York; the Tate Modern, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Shinjuku Station, Tokyo; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago Selected public collections: the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago; the DuSable Museum of African American History; the Johnson Publishing Company (publishers of Ebony and Jet); and the Brooklyn Museum, NY Pope.L, who calls himself “The Friendliest Black Artist in America©”, is a visual artist and educator whose multidisciplinary practice uses binaries, contraries and preconceived notions embedded within contemporary culture. “At 62, POPE.L is inarguably the greatest performance artist of our time,” Megan O’Grady wrote in The New York Times Style Magazine in March 2018, “This is exactly the kind of label he would fnd absurd,
but over the course of the last four decades, no artist has so consistently broken down the accepted boundaries of the genre in order to bring it closer to the public, with lacerating, perspicacious and gloriously anti-authoritarian projects that play with our received notions of race and class and almost always cut more than one way.” Building upon his provocative performances and public interventions, Pope.L has applied the same social and formal strategies to painting, photography, performance, video, and installation to probe issues of language, system, class, race and gender. For his RePhoto collage series, Pope.L has manipulated and combined images of body parts to create “fgural encounters”. Originating out of the artist’s desire to betray the artist’s hand while simultaneously creating images highly suggestive of the body, these compositions are scanned, fattened and reprinted on single large planes of paper. These works exemplify the core of Pope.L’s socially engaged art: “Like the African shaman who chews his pepper seeds and spits seven times into the air, I believe art reritualizes the everyday to reveal something fresh about our lives. This revelation is a vitality and it is a power to change the world.”
35. Sedrick Huckaby The Bride to Be signed “Sedrick Huckaby” lower right of the right sheet mixed media on paper each 11 1/2 x 9 in. (29.2 x 22.9 cm.) overall 11 1/2 x 18 1/2 in. (29.2 x 47 cm.) Executed in 2015. Provenance The Artist
Born 1975, Fort Worth, TX Lives and works in Forth Worth, TX 1999 MFA, Yale University, New Haven, CT 1997 BFA, Boston University
Selected honors: Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant (2014), Texas State Visual Artist (2018), Beth Lea Clardy Memorial Award (2004) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Greenville County Museum, Greenville, South Carolina, Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, Massachusetts, San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo, Texas, Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, Louisiana Selected public collections: Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts. Boston. Massachusetts; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota; Nasher Museum, Duke University Friends, family and neighbors serve as the subjects of Sedrick Huckaby’s art. Drawing people he knows, the Fort Worth-based artist monumentalizes the ordinary person. “My work has always been about African-American culture, family, and heritage,” Huckaby explained in the 2011 National Endowment for the Arts “Up-and-Comers in the Arts” issue in conversation with his wife and fellow artist Letitia Huckaby. “Some of the early works were paintings of diferent family members, sort of large-scale portraits that aggrandized ordinary people and things related to our family.”
Huckaby, whose approach to portraiture connects him to artists as diverse as Lucien Freud, Alice Neel, Henry Taylor and Kerry James Marshall, considers the creative act of painting and drawing as a form of thinking. “I believe my paintings are done in a language more closely in tune with my soul than the language of my tongue. For me, the act of painting is not just a means to a product; it is also a meditative process of communication,” Huckaby was quoted by art critic John Yau, who aptly titled his 2017 Hyperallergic article “Everybody Should Want to Belong to Sedrick Huckaby’s Tribe”. In his recent solo debut in New York at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects in 2017, Huckaby presented lithographs and preparatory drawings, as well as paintings and mixed media “family pieces” from his The 99% Project series from 2012-2013. The series aimed at making visible the invisible by representing the voice of a community not traditionally imaged in portraiture. Huckaby has become known for his use of impasto paint to create murals evocative of traditional quilts, as well as working with images of quilts as background components of his portraits. In a similar vein, he considered The 99% Project to be like a quilt, so that these individual voices were heard as one unifed community. Many of the sheets also feature transcribed sentences and phrases of the things his subjects said during the sitting. “Huckaby’s art is the result of his desire to give his subjects a face and a voice,” John Yau has observed, and it is this that infuses these portraits with a remarkable immediacy and presence.
36. Kara Walker The Marvelous Sugar Baby Production Model in Bronze bronze 10 1/2 x 7 x 21 3/4 in. (26.7 x 17.8 x 55.2 cm.) Executed in 2015, this work is from an edition of 10. Provenance Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York Acquired from the above by the present owner
Born 1969, Stockton, CA Lives and works in New York, NY 1994 MFA, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI 1991 BFA, Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta, GA
Selected honors: American Academy of Arts and Letters (2012); Eileen Harris Norton Fellowship (2008); MacArthur Fellowship (1997) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO; Camden Arts Centre, London; Art Institute of Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and the Tate Liverpool Selected public collections: Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Menil Collection, Houston, TX; the Tate Collection, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; the Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo (MAXXI), Rome; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
visual stereotypes from the era of slavery. Subverting the silhouette portrait tradition, Walker creates nightmarish worlds that reveal the brutality of racism and inequality at the fundament of America’s past, but also exposes contemporary issues such as the white supremicist movement or gun culture. “Walker’s vision, here and elsewhere, is of history as trompe-l’oeil,” Hilton Als wrote in The New Yorker. “Things are not what they seem, because America is, literally, incredible, fantastic—a freak show that is almost impossible to watch, let alone to understand. In Walker’s work, slavery is a nightmare from which no American has yet awakened.”
One of the youngest artists to be awarded the prestigious MacArthur “Genius” fellowship, Kara Walker became known in the mid-1990s for her instantly recognizable panoramic black silhouetted fgure cuttings. For the past two decades, Walker has continued her candid investigations of race, gender, sexuality, and violence in such diverse media as gouache, watercolor, video animation, “magic-lantern” projections, sculptures and large-scale installations.
In 2007, Walker was named one of the top 100 infuential persons by Time Magazine. As Barbara Kruger summed up Walker’s infuential vision on that occasion: “Few [artists] have managed to capture the collision between past and present, between histories and horror stories, between sexuality and shame, between skin and meat, as powerfully and provocatively as Kara Walker, 37. Walker’s vigilance has produced a compelling reckoning with the twisted trajectories of race in America. Her installations and flms forcefully pluralize our notion of a singular ‘history.’… She raucously engages both the broad sweep of the big picture and the eloquence of the telling detail. She plays with stereotypes, turning them upside down, spread-eagle and inside out. She revels in cruelty and laughter. Platitudes sicken her. She is brave. Her silhouettes throw themselves against the wall and don’t blink.”
“I didn’t want a completely passive viewer,” Walker has said. “I wanted to make work where the viewer wouldn’t walk away; he would either giggle nervously, get pulled into history, into fction, into something totally demeaning and possibly very beautiful.” Walker, who considers her work as an antidote to politeness, unapologetically confronts America’s troubled history by provocatively incorporating
37. Radclife Bailey Madagascar 1 signed and dated “Radclife Bailey 2/8/16” on the reverse mixed media including collage elements, paint and glass on panel 60 x 60 x 5 3/8 in. (152.4 x 152.4 x 13.7 cm.) Executed in 2016. Provenance Jack Shainman Gallery, New York Exhibited New York, Jack Shainman Gallery, Radclife Bailey: Quest, April 28 - June 23, 2016
Born 1968, Bridgeton, NJ Lives and works in Atlanta, GA 1991 BFA, Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta, GA
Selected honors: Gibbes Museum of Art Factor Prize (2010); and Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts, The Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Art Fund Inc. (1999) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Atlanta College of Art, Atlanta; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, Louisiana; and SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia Selected public collections: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri; The Denver Art Museum, Colorado; and The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia For nearly thirty years, Radclife Bailey’s paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media works of art have explored themes of race, ancestry, and cultural memory through the lens of both personal and collective African American histories. Across his varied practice, Bailey draws upon personal experiences as an African American growing up in the South in the latter half of the 20th century, and also pays homage to historic fgures who have shaped the narrative of black history at large. At a young age, his mother encouraged him to visit museums such as the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, where he was frst exposed to works by African American artists such as
James Van Der Zee and Jacob Lawrence. In 1991, Bailey received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Atlanta College of Art, and a decade later began showing with Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. Bailey’s works convey the powerful sentiment of memory, and are ofen composed of found materials such as traditional African sculptures, vintage photographs of his family members, and piano keys. In discussing the nature of his practice, the artist explains, “I believe that by making things that are very personal they become universal. I am frst and foremost an artist, a person of this world, and an artist of African descent who grew up in the South and has chosen to continue to live and work in the South. My art is about history and the mystery of history.” Bailey’s practice delves into his own personal history as a means of exploring larger themes of race and civil rights. His creative process is fuid and wholly infuenced by his day-to-day experiences, despite the layer of history intrinsically imbedded within the larger narratives they convey. In 2011, a solo traveling exhibition of Bailey’s work, Memory as Medicine, was exhibited at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta an institution that the artist cites as having a profound impact on the development of his artistic career. Bailey continues to reside and work in Atlanta today.
38. Oliver Lee Jackson No. 5 signed and dated “© O.L.J. 11.29.16” along the lower edge oil paint and mixed media on linen 114 3/4 x 108 1/2 in. (291.5 x 275.6 cm.) Executed in 2016. Provenance Burning in Water Gallery, New York
Born 1935, St. Louis, MO Lives and works in Oakland, CA 1958 BFA, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL 1963 MFA, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Selected honors: National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1980-81); Nettie Marie Jones Fellowship (1984); Art Matters Grant (1988); Fleishhacker Foundation Eureka Fellowship (1993); Award in Painting and Sculpture, Flintridge Foundation, CA (2003/2004) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: the Contemporary Art Museum, MO; Harvard University, MA; Newport Harbor Art Museum, CA; Crocker Art Museum, CA; Seattle Art Museum, WA; St. Louis Art Museum, MO; and Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, NC Selected public collections: The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Detroit Institute of the Arts; New Orleans Museum of Art; Portland Art Museum, Oregon; St. Louis Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; San Jose Museum of Art; and Seattle Art Museum, WA Oliver Lee Jackson is an American painter, printmaker, and sculptor whose complex body of work is infuenced by a vast range of sources from the Renaissance to Modernism, with principles of rhythm and improvisation drawn from his study of African cultures and American jazz. Having spent his formative years in the vibrant, cross-disciplinary arts scene of St. Louis in the mid-1960’s, Jackson’s work has been particularly infuenced by his involvement with avant-garde jazz musicians at the center of the Black Artists Group (BAG) movement, most notably the free jazz musician Julius Hemphill, who became a lifelong friend and collaborator. Afer six decades of art making, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. will present a major Oliver Lee Jackson retrospective in March 2019.
In reference to having cited a wide range of infuential sources for his own painting, Jackson said that, “if you are true to yourself and the inner logic that develops with each painting, unity will take care of itself. The painting and everything in it - whether it’s the ‘realism’ of a Vermeer or the ‘abstraction’ of a Pollock - is a vehicle for something beyond it. It has to be put together as perfectly as possible, like any vehicle, but it is the vision beyond that gives the painting meaning.” Jackson refers to the bodily forms evident in his works as “paint people”. The sinewy shapes are defned by their materiality, rather than by their representation of the human fgure. This emphasis on anatomies that exists only “in the paint” is apparent in the layered abstraction present in his work No. 5, 2016, where the space is implied rather than illustrated, and does not obey the physical rules of reality outside of the painting. This creative freedom that Jackson allows himself accommodates a bridge between fguration and abstraction. No. 5 communicates greater truths about the internal complexities of experiencing movement, rather than those related to the witnessing of movement. In his own words, “My forms are not illustrations of feelings. The paint is the form the feelings take when they come into the world. Paintings have moral implications only when they can make you stand in front of them and feel the urgency of their relationships.”
39. Rashid Johnson Color Men spray enamel, soap and wax on ceramic tile 96 x 80 in. (243.8 x 203.2 cm.) Executed in 2016. Provenance Private Collection, New York This work will be ofered at auction in May 2019.
Born 1977, Chicago, IL Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY 2002-2005, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL 2000 BA, Columbia College, Chicago, IL
Selected honors: David C. Driskell Prize (2012); Hugo Boss Prize fnalist (2012) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Grand Palais, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Selected public collections: Art Institute of Chicago; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and many private collections In 2001, Rashid Johnson made his name as the youngest participant in Freestyle, the exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem that put forward some of today’s best-known African American artists. Thelma Golden, who selected Johnson for the groundbreaking exhibition, identifed at the core of his practice, “a deep engagement with the history of conceptual art, but also the history of Black people,” with his work always operating “on an emotional level and an intellectual level at once.” Color Men, 2016, developed out of the work Johnson created for the exhibition Anxious Men at The Drawing Center in New York in 2015. The series was prompted when curator Claire Gilman asked him about considering “the use of the drawn gesture that unifed all the diferent bodies of his work.” Using black soap and wax, a mixture he calls “cosmic slop”, Johnson was soon creating visceral portraits. As The New York Times critic Cameron Shaw observed in his review of the exhibition, “The series of loose portraits in black soap and wax animates what Mr. Johnson has termed the “now space” of being a Black man
in America: characterized by fear. The portraits have an undeniable urgency. Mr. Johnson’s handling of materials is visceral; the quasi-faces fll their white frames in a way that feels unavoidable, necessary.” In the present work, Johnson has smeared a mixture of black soap and wax against the backdrop of ceramic tiles. “I think of them almost as audiences to the bizarre political theater we’ve been witnessing,” Johnson said, referencing “global immigration issues, attacks on America, and attacks within America by police on young Black men.” Johnson’s frequent use of black soap is exemplary of the artist’s narrative embedding of a pointed range of everyday materials and objects, ofen associated with his childhood and frequently referencing collective aspects of African American intellectual history and cultural identity. In a 2012 article by Christopher Stackhouse in Art in America, Johnson said “I was celebrating Kwanzaa, hearing this unfamiliar language, Swahili, and seeing black soap and chew sticks around the house, things that were about applying an Africanness to one’s self. Then my parents evolved into middle-class Black professionals, and I was kind of abandoned in this Afrocentric space they had created. I was forced to negotiate what that period and those objects meant for me. I saw these things, as I got older, in Harlem and in Brooklyn, being sold on the street…So I started playing with those ideas and objects on a formal level, fueled by my interest in abstraction and mark-making as well as my interest in the constructed object, in the recent shelving units, for example. How do these things become signifers? What are these things when they no longer function in the way they were originally intended to function?”
40. Rashaad Newsome Grand Prize! stamped with the artist’s seal on the reverse collage in custom frame with leather and automotive paint 43 x 53 1/8 in. (109.2 x 134.9 cm.) Executed in 2016. Provenance De Buck Gallery, New York Exhibited New Orleans, Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, Rashaad Newsome: Mélange, January 14 - February 12, 2017
Born 1979, New Orleans, LA Lives and works in New York, NY 2001 BFA, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Selected honors: Rush Arts Gold Award (2017), Louis Comfort Tifany Award (2011) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; MoMA PS1, New York, New Orleans Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris Selected public collections: Brooklyn Museum, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Rashaad Newsome is a multidisciplinary artist whose work is deeply invested in how images used in media and popular culture communicate distorted notions of power. As Newsome has explained, “using images from popular culture that produce and perpetuate systems of oppression, I explore how race, capitalism and gender are employed to facilitate those systems… My use of material from popular culture is a subversive way of helping the viewers to understand the politics of diference.”
It is difcult to precisely say what Newsome’s primary medium is at any moment – mediums that stretch from complex video and computer production to vogue choreography and performance to ofen heraldic and elaborate collage – as he moves from one to another and sometimes brings them together. Using the equalizing force of sampling, Newsome crafs compositions that surprise in their associative potential and walk the tightrope between intersectionality, social practice and abstraction and minimalism. For his exuberant, meticulously composed collages, Newsome culls images from hip-hop and luxury magazines. In an interview with Laila Pedro, The Brooklyn Rail, from July 11, 2016, Newsome spoke about how he used his expertise in digital production to enhance his work in collage: “When I started my collage works they were more fat. As a way to push the material further, I started to scan the images and bring them into postproduction sofware and animate them. This allowed me to create the illusion of depth in a way that had been more difcult previously. I then brought what I did in postproduction back to the analog process, putting everything on diferent planes and making the images much more three-dimensional.”
41. Paul Anthony Smith So What signed “Paul Anthony Smith” on a label afxed to the reverse picotage on inkjet print, mounted on museum board and Sintra 95 x 47 3/4 in. (241.3 x 121.3 cm.) Executed in 2016, this work is unique. Provenance Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
Born 1988, Jamaica Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY 2010 BFA, Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO
Selected honors: Charlotte Street Foundation Visual Artist Award (2013) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; The NelsonAtkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; New Museum, New York, NY; and Brooklyn Museum, NY Selected public collections: Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN; Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC; and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS Paul Anthony Smith creates paintings and unique picotages on pigment prints that explore the artist’s autobiography, as well as issues of identity within the African diaspora. Smith employs methods of manipulation as a conceptual strategy for questioning the potential of a photograph to retain and tell the truth of one’s past. “From a distance,” as Erica Rawles observed writing for Artforum in September 2018, “Paul Anthony Smith’s ‘picotage’ pieces, 2012–, resemble movie stills interrupted by television static. Up close, they look like pictures dotted with tiny dabs of white paint. Smith creates these small, textured imperfections by carefully picking apart his mounted photographs with a ceramic needle, exposing their white undersides. These sculptural marks form layers of neatly patterned geometric shapes that mask some parts of his photographs, manipulating the pictures’ depths and conveying a sense of movement.
Like old-fashioned lenticular billboards that display a diferent image depending on the viewing angle, Smith’s works require you to shif your position to read the whole picture. Within the gaps of these crafed designs are glimpses of public spaces in Jamaica, Brooklyn, and Puerto Rico where black people are socializing, grieving, and being…. These edits challenge the tendency to assume that a photograph necessarily represents reality while pointing out that there can be unknown complexities and intricacies in the story behind a picture.” Referencing both W.E.B. Du Bois’ concept of double consciousness and Franz Fanon’s theory of diasporic cultural confusions caused by colonialism, Smith alludes to African rituals, tribal masks, and scarifcation to obscure and alter his subjects’ faces and skin. Smith employs a similar style of manipulation for his silkscreen series, which sees him collage and reprint pictures. “Both series evoke the nostalgia of found, stained photographs,” writes Erica Rawles, “…they rearrange, invert, and obstruct memory and identity, revealing the malleability and frailness of both.”
42. Derrick Adams Fabrication Station 14 signed and dated “Derrick Adams 2017” on the reverse mixed media 72 x 108 in. (182.9 x 274.3 cm.) Executed in 2017. Provenance Primary Projects, Miami Exhibited Miami, Primary Projects, Derrick Adams: Black White and Brown, December 2018
Born 1970, Baltimore, MD Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY 2003 MFA, Columbia University, New York, NY 1996 BFA, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY
Selected honors: Louis Comfort Tifany Award (2009) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; MoMA PS1, New York; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; Brooklyn Museum, New York; PERFORMA, New York Selected public collections: Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond Through the mediums of collage, video, sculpture and drawing, Brooklyn-based artist Derrick Adams explores the way mass media afects identity, particularly in the context of African Americans in contemporary culture. “Most of my work resides in this idea of how outside infuences impact the construction of self-image,” he has said.
In his collage works mimicking television screens, Adams takes his source imagery from screen captures of old clips from YouTube, which he then uses as reference. “The images come from…everything from ‘Good Times’ to ‘Coming to America’ to Oprah on the news…These images I’m taking from all these shows—from comedy to news or whatever—all are representations of black characterization…These images can be problematic because they’re such a high-animated state that they become more like caricatures of themselves”. In rendering these reference images with blocks of color, Adams confronts the media’s deconstruction of reality. In 2016, Adams described his complex relationship with mass media: “I have a love/hate relationship with media and television. My practice in general is a middle way of meeting the viewer. I’m interested in form, function and formal aesthetics, but I’m also interested in people having fun and enjoying themselves”.
43. Sanford Bigers BAM (Seated Warrior Queen) bronze with silver nitrate patina and HD video 40 x 5 x 6 in. (101.6 x 12.7 x 15.2 cm.) Executed in 2017, this work is unique from a series of 3. Provenance The Artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York and Aspen
Born 1970, Los Angeles, CA Lives and works in New York, NY 1999 MFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL 1996 BA, Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA
Selected honors: Rome Prize in Visual Arts (2017), Creative Capital Award (2008) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, NY; The Studio Museum in Harlem; The Menil Collection, Houston; MoMA PS1, Queens, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Selected public collections: Brooklyn Museum; MoMA; Studio Museum in Harlem; Walker Museum of Art, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Pursuing a multi-disciplinary formal process, Sanford Biggers creates artworks that integrate flm, video, installation, sculpture, drawing, textile, music and performance. Engaging with the past to help better understand the present, Biggers intentionally complicates issues such as hip hop, Buddhism, politics, identity and art history in order to ofer new contemporary perspectives and associations for established symbols. History is not a thing of the past for Sanford Biggers, but an ongoing current that he confronts head on. “We revisit history in order to add a diferent context and meaning to it,” he has said. “I ofen think of history itself as a material—a malleable material.”
Viewing himself as a collaborator with the work of the African and African American artists and artisans who came before him, Biggers borrows, enhances and memorializes their work, as well as their struggles, through his own object-making. He has done so, for example, by turning his attention to the signs and symbols embedded in quilts that were purportedly used to help slaves escape north along the Underground Railroad. Investing the quilt form with new meaning and adding his own set of abstract codes as he cuts, re-sews and embellishes antique quilts, Biggers constructs modern statements on the state of America. In BAM (Seated Warrior Queen), Biggers has created a bronze of cast a life-size warrior based on a small wooden African sculptures that he has marked and mutilated. To Biggers, damaged sculptures are “power objects” like African Nkisi — wooden fgures embedded with shards of glass, mirrors or nails, totems with spiritual energy. Although sharp objects penetrate the bodies violently, as traditional artisans believed, Biggers said, “They create power in these sculptures and give that object strength, to help ward of evil and promise good luck and prosperity for the people.” By expanding the sculpture in size, he both hides and exaggerates the violence done to the original – confronting the viewer with a jarring juxtaposition of spirituality and the contemporary epidemic of violence inficted against African Americans.
44. Letitia Huckaby Old Slave Quarters pigment print on cotton sateen with vintage embroidery hoop 19 1/4 x 26 3/8 in. (48.9 x 67 cm.) Executed in 2017. Provenance The Artist Exhibited Dallas, Liliana Bloch Gallery; Grambling, Dunbar Gallery, Grambling State University, 40 Acres...Gumbo Ya Ya, 2017
Born 1972, Augsburg, Germany Lives and works in Forth Worth, TX 2010 MFA, University of North Texas, Denton, TX 2001 BFA, Art Institute of Boston, Boston, MA
Selected honors: Hopper Prize (2018) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: McKenna Museum of African-American Art, New Orleans, African American Museum Dallas, Tyler Museum, Tyler, TX Selected public collections: Library of Congress, Washington D.C.; Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont, TX; Samella Lewis Contemporary Art Collection, Scripps College, Claremont, CA Fusing photography and textiles, Letitia Huckaby creates powerful vignettes exploring both family narratives and African American history. Huckaby began her career as a documentary photographer and it is through the camera’s lenses that we she gives the overlooked and forgotten renewed value. Old Slave Quarters, 2017, is based on a photograph Huckaby took of old slave quarters in Greenwood, Mississippi, in which, to her surprise, African-American families were still living. As Huckaby recalled in the 2011 National Endowment for the Arts “Up-and-Comers in the Arts” issue: “Shortly before I went to graduate school, my father passed, so I immediately started thinking about family and how I became the person that I am. He was from a small town in Mississippi called Greenwood, which is the fourth-largest producer of cotton in the country. I was a documentary photographer at that time, so I started taking pictures of cotton, cotton felds, and family members.”
Huckaby is married to the artist Sedrick Huckaby, whose work with quilts inspired her to expand her photographic practice: “Through Sedrick’s infuence, I also started noticing my grandmother’s quilts, not just as blankets passed down to me, but as fne art. So I started making quilts out of photographs of cotton and family members and began stitching them together, learning to sew as I went. My work now combines this documentary-style photography and my crafy side. I’m also becoming more sculptural with my work and have recently created dresses and freestanding forms incorporating images. ” Huckaby’s mixed media work fuses both a documentary (she holds a degree in Journalism) and highly personal impulse, elevating ofen overlooked subjects and narratives. With her 2015 Bayou Baroque series, Huckaby honored the nuns at the Sisters of the Holy Family Mother House in New Orleans, Louisiana. While presenting the black women with the same solemn compositional weight as that shown in older master religious paintings, Huckaby’s use of fabric as the ground for her photographic prints subverts traditional distinctions between fne art and craf. More recently, Huckaby has employed vintage embroidery hoops to frame her images. The use of this domestic object infuses Huckaby’s subjects with emotional charge and nostalgia, as well as seemingly elevating it to the status of an icon in its resemblance to religious mandorlas that transcend time and space.
45. Ayana V. Jackson Seeking the Source of Perfection archival pigment print on German etching paper 43 x 43 in. (109.2 x 109.2 cm.) Executed in 2017. Provenance Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Seattle
Born 1977, Livingston, NJ Lives and works in New York, NY 2005, Universität der Künste, Berlin, DE 1999, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA
Selected honors: National Black Arts Festival’s (NBAF) Visual Arts Award (2017); and New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship for Photography (2014) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: San Francisco Mexican Museum, San Francisco, CA; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL; The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; Museo del Hombre, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Selected public collections: The Newark Museum, NY; The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; Princeton University, NJ; JP Morgan Art Collection, USA; World Bank Art Collection, Washington D.C.; Wedge Collection, Toronto, CA; University of South Africa (UNISA), Pretoria South Africa Ayana V. Jackson is a photographer and performance artist based in South Africa, Paris and New York whose practice is deeply rooted in both her personal experience as a black woman, and in the history of black enslavement on a global scale. Jackson’s work is an interrogation of stereotypes surrounding both race and gender, with her photographs exploring how the tropes are rooted in the ongoing impact enslavement has on contemporary culture. Seeking the source of perfection, 2017, is a work from her series entitled Intimate Justice in the Stolen Moment which pulls thematic infuence from 19th and early 20th century photographic representations of Black women. Seeking the source of perfection depicts the artist gazing downwards, having just jumped—seemingly
weightlessly—into an indeterminate black void-like space. Her style of dress in the photograph informs the viewer of both the performative aspect to her practice, as well as provides reference for the history her work focuses on. However, the work’s form and her autonomy in its creation – as both the photographer and the subject – indicate that Jackson’s work is a reinvention, rather than a reproduction, of the image of the Black woman’s body, delivered to us by ways of her own creative and physical presence. When speaking about how she sees herself within the greater historical context, Jackson says that “While I am not only proud, but thankful for this inheritance, I nevertheless continue to battle personally with the contradictions within what it means to inhabit a Black woman’s body. I am certain that strength and endurance are part of our legacy, but I am just as convinced that it is not the entirety of our experience. Even within captivity there must have been stolen moments of reprieve, pleasure, self-nurturing sensuality, fragility and love. Therefore, this must also be coded within my DNA. Regardless of defnitive proof or documentation of this truth, I feel compelled to remind and be reminded because as I scan my own subjectivity I encounter as much powerlessness as power and I yearn to be protected as much as I am secure in my self-sufciency – likewise my sensuality is as passive as it can be self-determined.”
46. Tomashi Jackson State’s Rights (Brown et al. vs The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas) (Limited Value Exercise) mixed media on gauze 89 x 91 x 45 in. (226.1 x 231.1 x 114.3 cm.) Executed in 2017. Provenance The Artist Tilton Gallery, New York Exhibited North Adams, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, In the Abstract, May 30, 2017 - April 9, 2018
Born 1980, Houston, TX Lives and works in New York, NY 2016 MFA, Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT 2012 MS, MIT School of Architecture and Planning, Cambridge, MA 2010 BFA, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, NY
Selected honors: Toby Devan Lewis Prize (2016); Blair Dickinson Memorial Scholarship (2015 – 2016); Alice; Richard Lewis Bloch Memorial Prize (2010); Benjamin Menschel Fellowship for Creative Inquiry (2008) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA; Michigan State University, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, East Lansing, MI Selected public collections: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA Color in its widest sense is at the heart of Tomashi Jackson’s research-based practice. Jackson, who has said that she fnds “our current moment to be subliminally charged with horrifcally distorted perceptions of color”, combines painting with sculpture, textile, embroidery, printmaking and photography to probe the intertwined histories of abstract painting, color theory and human rights legislation. It was while studying at Yale University that Jackson noticed how the language Josef Albers used in his 1963 instructional text Interaction of Color mirrored the language of racialized segregation, particularly as made manifest in the 1954 court transcripts of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. “I recognized terms about how “colors” interact from Albers’s text: colored, boundaries, movement, transparency, mixture, purity, restriction, deception, memory, transformation, instrumentation, systems, recognition, psychic efect,
placement, quality, and value,” Jackson explained. “The language around de jure segregation is similar to Albers’s description of the wrong way to perceive color, as if color is static…Color is always changing, and, contrary to popular belief, it is not absolute. I saw the phenomenon of vibrating boundaries aligned with residential redistricting and redlining. Color theory and human rights are conceptually interwoven in my paintings. I fnd the language comparisons appropriate metaphors for a critique of racism rather than a critique of categories of race.” “There is power in the decisions we make as artists,” Jackson said. “I provide clues to my thinking in the titles I give my work.” States’ Rights (Brown et al. vs The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas) (Limited Value Exercise) is a vivid example from Jackson’s most celebrated body of work. It recognizes the artist’s using the properties of color perception as a formal and conceptual strategy for investigating the history of American school desegregation, as well as contemporary racial tensions. Jackson incorporates into her artwork elements from the legal cases they reference. The present work was inspired by Stanley Forman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph The Soiling of Old Glory, which showed white supremacists attacking an African-American passerby in Boston at a 1976 riot in the wake of court-ordered busing.
47. Deana Lawson Barbara and Mother pigment print 69 x 55 in. (175.3 x 139.7 cm.) Executed in 2017, this work is number 4 from an edition of 4. Provenance Rhona Hofman Gallery, Chicago
Born 1979, Rochester, NY Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY
Self-portrait; © Courtesy of the artist
2004 MFA, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI 2001 BFA, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Selected honors: Guggenheim Fellowship (2013), Aaron Siskind Fellowship (2009) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Brooklyn Museum, New York; PS 1, Queens, NY; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York Selected public collections: Art Institute of Chicago; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, MoCA, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York Deana Lawson’s strikingly intimate photographs examine themes of family, cultural legacy, sexuality, spirituality and employ black aesthetics as the cornerstone of her distinctive oeuvre. Her works draw upon visual traditions such as formal portraiture, social documentary, and personal family albums, expertly recording social narratives of African American day-to-day life in contemporary America. Her highly stylized compositions are remarkable in their meticulous staging – they are, in the artist’s own words, “a mirror of everyday life, but also a projection of what I want to happen. It’s about setting a diferent standard of values and saying that everyday black lives, everyday experiences, are beautiful, and powerful, and intelligent.”
Lawson’s subjects are ofen strangers she meets in public spaces, yet she refers to them as “her family”. She arranges her models in domestic settings, paying particular attention to lighting and pose, which the artist utilizes to transform and intensify these intimate spaces. Lawson painstakingly arranges her subjects – a young man holding up a West Side symbol, a mother cradling her crying child, and an elderly woman she met at a corner store with a prosthetic foot – and her environments – lace curtains, plastic couch covers, and peeling wallpaper. She embraces her models’ bodies, their lives, and their collective histories, explaining: “they are displaced kings and queens of the diaspora. There’s something beautiful and powerful that hasn’t been taken away”. Lawson was the recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, afording her the opportunity to practice photography on an international scale. Recently, her large-scale work, Ring Bearer, 2016, was exhibited at the 2017 Whitney Biennial, and earlier this year the artist had her frst solo show with Sikkema Jenkins & Co. in New York.
48. Paul Sepuya Exposure (_2000921), Exposure (_2000877), Exposure (_2000915), Exposure (_2000930), Exposure (_2000917) archival pigment prints, set of fve each 32 x 24 in. (81.3 x 61 cm.) Executed in 2017, this work is from an edition of 5. Provenance Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York Exhibited New York, New Museum, Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon, September 27, 2017 - January 21, 2018 ÂŠ Courtesy Brian Kaminsky
Born 1982, San Bernardino, CA Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY 2016 MFA, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 2004 BFA, New York University Tisch School of the Arts, New York, NY
Selected honors: Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant (2017); Jackman Goldwasser Artist-in Residence, Hyde Park Arts Center, Chicago (2014) Selected museum (group) exhibitions: The New Museum, New York, The Studio Museum, Harlem, New York Selected public collections: The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Paul Mpagi Sepuya’s distinct photographs are not portraits in the conventional sense. The viewer may catch a glimpse of an arm, torso, or hand, but rarely the sitter’s entire body. Deliberately employing fragmentation and manipulating perspective by using mirrors, drapery and collage, Sepuya has become known for photographs that explore the construction of queer and photographed bodies. This photographic investigation of identity and what it means to be represented is at the core of Sepuya’s artistic project, and has garnered him widespread attention since his graduation with a MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2016, as evidenced most recently in his inclusion Being: New Photography 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in March August 2018. Investigating the studio as a social environment, Sepuya stages friends, partners, muses and lovers as the subjects of his photographs. The deliberate fragmentation of
bodies in Sepuya’s photographs is meant to provoke a feeling of desire within the viewer, a longing to see what is concealed. “Portraiture is a starting point to acknowledging a direction in which looking and desire goes,” Sepuya has pointed out, “but I am more interested in the material result of the complication in the production of portraiture.” Sepuya’s work features photographic equipment and studio space as a way to examine how identity and individuality – of both the image-maker and the subject – are made manifest in the construction of an image. As Sepuya explained, “I am interested in how we let images, identity and subjectivity go into the construction of an image. How central elements of photography break it apart and how it relates to ideas of gender, race, sexuality, community and friendship, and how all those come together.” Sepuya’s photographs are groundbreaking in their simultaneous investigation of racial and sexual identities in reference with the history of photography itself; the stating of props are a sly nod to those found in photography studios from the early 19th century to modern times, drawing our attention to the artifce and constructed image inherent to the photographic process. “(The elements) are tied to a point in time starting in the 1920s and ’30s with (the emergence of) a more self-acknowledged gaze in photography,” Sepuya said. “You put a drapery and a column and mirror, and it’s art instead of a naked person.”
49. Hank Willis Thomas Then is Now lenticular 57 x 43 in. (144.8 x 109.2 cm.) Executed in 2017, this work is number 4 from an edition of 5 plus one artist’s proof. Provenance Jack Shainman Gallery, New York
Born 1976, Plainfeld, NJ Lives and works in New York, NY
© Hank Willis Thomas. Photo by Andrea Blanch. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
2004 MA, MFA, California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA 1998 BFA, New York University, New York, NY
Selected honors: International Center of Photography 2015 Infnity Award for New Media (2015), Soros Equality Fellowship (2017); Aperture West Book Prize (2008) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Brooklyn Museum, NY; SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; The Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; The Baltimore Museum of Art; and the Cleveland Art Museum Selected public collections: Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Museum of Modern Art, NY; Brooklyn Museum, NY; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. “In recent years I have approached my art practice assuming the role of a visual culture archaeologist,” Thomas has said. “I am interested in the ways that popular imagery informs how people perceive themselves and others around the world.” Working across photography, installation, video and media work, Thomas’s engagement with identity politics, history, and popular culture is particularly pertinent to today’s social and political climate. Willis employs the visual language and terminology of mass media, ofen appropriating symbols and images from popular culture, to investigate the idea
of representation. At the core of his practice has been photography, and, by extension, the truth claims inherent to imagery. As he explained, “My mother, Deborah Willis, is a photographer, photo-historian, author, and educator. Cameras have been part of my life since I can remember… In the United States, every photograph of a person speaks to issues of race, class, and identity. I use photography to approach these issues because I already know that the public’s eye is trained to subconsciously imbibe images on a massive scale. For this reason, it is the perfect medium by which to problematize these things in order to inspire dialogue.” Several of his series have explored the infuence that power structures, such as advertising agencies and governing bodies, exert over our understanding of the world, while other works have played into the infuence of social media outlets such as Instagram. Thomas’s lenticular text-based works such as Then is Now, 2017, require viewers to shif position in relation to the work in order to be able to fully view the content. “I like the idea of something that’s not just all right in front of you,” Thomas explained. “Something that’s kind of hidden or revealed that takes a conversation to interact with.” Requiring multiple “ways of looking”, these works are, “really about how we approach looking specifc images or objects and trying to encourage the viewer to be hyperaware of their agency, but also of their unique perspective.”
50. Deborah Willis Hortense’s Mirror inkjet on rag paper, in 3 parts each 64 x 36 in. (162.6 x 91.4 cm.) Executed in 2017. Provenance The Artist Exhibited Florence, Villa La Pietra, Regarding Women in the Acton Collection, June 25 - December 14, 2017
Photo: Alice Proujansky
Born 1948, Philadelphia, PA Lives and works in New York, NY PhD, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA MA, City College of New York, New York, NY MFA, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY BFA, Philadelphia College of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Selected honors: Susan Koppelman Award (2011); John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow (2005); The Studio Museum in Harlem Award for Achievement in Scholarship (2001); MacArthur Fellow (2000); Anonymous Was A Woman Foundation (1996) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ; New Museum, New York, NY; Kemper Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; International Center of Photography. New York; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Florence, Villa La Pietra, Regarding Women in the Acton Collection, June 25 December 14, 2017 Selected public collections: Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California; Center for Creative Photography, Duke University, North Carolina As an artist, author, curator and preeminent historian of African American photography, Deborah Willis’s art and pioneering research has focused on cultural histories envisioning the black body, women and gender. Photography is embedded in her DNA—her father was a photographer, as is her son, the conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas.
As Willis writes of the present work: “Hortense’s Mirror explores the ways in which the concept of beauty and desire has been represented in an historical and contemporary context through the intimate space of the closet. Throughout the history of art and image-making, beauty as an aesthetic impulse has been simultaneously idealized and challenged, and the relationship between beauty and identity has become increasingly complex within contemporary art and popular culture. My work challenges the relationship between beauty and desire by examining the representation of fashion and reinvention. Beauty as an act is fraught with meanings and attitudes about class, race, gender, and aesthetics. My project focuses on framing Hortense’s Mirror as reinvention of the New Woman at the turn of the 20th century through the 1930s. This installation is part of a project that explores a new way of looking at women as consumers, fashion and art through the personal safe space of the closet.”
51. Mequitta Ahuja The Making Of signed “Mequitta Ahuja 2018” on the reverse oil on canvas 84 1/8 x 72 in. (208.6 x 182.9 cm.) Executed in 2018. Provenance The Artist
Born 1976, Grand Rapids, MI Lives and works in Baltimore, MD
© Courtesy of the artist
2003 MFA, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 1998 BFA, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA
Selected honors: Houston Artadia Prize (2008), Joan Mitchell Award (2009), Louis Comfort Tifany Award (2011), and Guggenheim Fellowship (2018). Selected museum exhibitions and performances: The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; and Minneapolis Institute of Arts,. Selected public collections: Philadelphia Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts Houston; Saatchi Gallery, London; and Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto. Selected honors: Houston Artadia Prize (2008), Joan Mitchell Award (2009), Louis Comfort Tifany Award (2011), Mequitta Ahuja embraces the genre of self-portraiture to explore issues of race, gender and identity. As Ahuja writes in her artist statement for her 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship: “My central intention is to turn the artist’s self-portrait, especially the woman-of-color’s self-portrait, long circumscribed by identity, into a discourse on picturemaking, past and present.” Insistent on positioning “a woman of color as the central creative agent”, Ahuja has exclusively painted self-portraits since 2007. Described as “whip-smart and languorous” by The New Yorker in July 2017, Ahuja’s evocative self-portraits arise from a three-step process that involves performance, photography and drawing/painting. Developing a series of performances with diferent props, poses and costumes, Ahuja photographs herself with the aid of a remote shutter. This source material serves as a point of
departure for her paintings that see her fuse “personal narrative with cultural and personal mythology”. Ahuja has described her practice as feminist, referring to her process as “Automythography”. As she explained, “I defne Automythography as a constructive process of identity formation in which nature, culture and selfinvention merge. Proposing art as a primary method of this process, my works demonstrate female self-invention and self-representation through the deployment of her own tools.” Since 2017, Ahuja has started to integrate paintings within her paintings a way to address painting both as an act and as an object. She strategically employs stylistic traditions and tropes from the past to update and alter pre-existing meanings of representation within her contemporary context. In addition to drawing on the Western art canon, Ahuja embraces narratives and imagery connected to her ethnic heritage of being African American and Indian American –weaving her complex cultural experience into the history of art and representation. The Making Of perfectly embodies how Ahuja has replaced the common self-portrait motif of the artist standing before the easel into a conceptual portrait of the work of painting: “I show my subject reading, writing, handling canvases in the studio…By positioning a womanof-color as primary picture-maker in whose hands the fgurative tradition is refashioned, I knit my contemporary concerns, personal and painterly, into the centuries old conversation of representation. This is where I live.”
52. Marcus Brutus Atelier signed “M. Brutus ‘18” on the reverse acrylic on canvas 36 x 36 in. (91.4 x 91.4 cm.) Executed in 2018. Provenance The Artist and Harper’s Books, East Hampton
Lives and works outside of Washington, D.C. 2013 BS, St. John’s University, Queens, NY
Marcus Brutus’s paintings explore, in the artist’s words, “ideas of power through portraiture.” The self-taught painter received this frst solo show afer the artist Jennifer Guidi discovered and shared his work on Instagram, where it caught the attention of Harper’s Books in New York. Brutus’s frst solo exhibition there in September 2018 debuted his series of fgurative paintings that defly examined Black American identity and civil right struggles. As Brutus explained in a Twilight Talks interview with Kevin Moore in September 2018, “My family is Haitian. So I’m from an immigrant family. So that’s just another layer to feeling as if you don’t really have much of identity here in America. So it’s connecting to an imagined identity, an identity from an imagined past...Feeling alienated, I think it helps me understand things holistically.” Brutus captures real and imagined characters in evocative scenes that are meant to confront the “internalization and reproduction of racist attitudes by racial minorities.” Brutus, who studied at the St. John’s University in Queens and previously worked in Public Relations, defly applies his innate ability of storytelling to art. Drawing inspiration from diverse source materials culled from the realms of fashion, flm, music, photography, art, and politics, he fuidly interweaves subtle and overt references to the past and present, the real and imagined to creates vignettes that seem to collapse discrete eras and context. “What I’m trying to do is establish a legacy,” Brutus explained, “I want to show these very contemporary issues, but show them as having some long past.” There is a palpable emotional intensity to Brutus’s painting, reinforced by his saturated use of color and dynamically askew lines. Paintings such as Atelier, 2018, ofer subtle alternative narratives of black life in America.
53. Vaginal Davis (i) Misty Copeland (ii) Cyd Charisse (iii) Isadora Duncan (iv) Martha Graham (v) Jane Avril (vi) Raven Wilkinson (vii) Two Mary Wigmans (viii) Martha Graham in Serenata Morisca (i) signed, titled, numbered and dated “VD 19 “Misty Copeland” Vaginal Davis 2018” on the reverse (ii) signed, titled, numbered and dated “VD 17 “Cyd Charisse” Vaginal Davis 2018” on the reverse (iii) signed, titled, numbered and dated “VD 27 “Isadora Duncan” Vaginal Davis 2018” on the reverse (iv) signed, titled, numbered and dated “VD 24 “Martha Graham” Vaginal Davis 2018” on the reverse (v) signed, titled, numbered and dated “VD 12 “Jane Avril” Vaginal Davis 2018” on the reverse (vi) signed, titled, inscribed, numbered and dated “ VD 20 “Raven Wilkinson” Vaginal Davis 2018 Berlin” on the reverse (vii) signed, titled, numbered and dated “VD 14 “Two Mary Wigmans” Vaginal Davis 2018” on the reverse (viii) numbered and titled “VD 29 “Martha Graham in Serenata Morisca”” on the reverse each glycerin, hydrogen peroxide, coconut oil, perfume, water color pencil, eye shadow, rouge, foundation, nail enamel, lacquer, polish, Datura, Hamamelis, Wasser, Mandrake, Henbane, hairspray and Iberogast on found paper (i) 11 x 8 in. (27.9 x 20.3 cm.) (ii) 11 x 8 in. (27.9 x 20.3 cm.) (iii) 10 5/8 x 7 1/2 in. (27 x 19.1 cm.) (iv) 12 x 9 in. (30.5 x 22.9 cm.) (v) 9 x 6 in. (22.9 x 15.2 cm.) (vi) 8 1/4 x 6 3/8 in. (21 x 16.2 cm.) (vii) 5 3/4 x 4 in. (14.6 x 10.2 cm) (viii) 5 3/4 x 4 in. (14.6 x 10.2 cm) Each executed in 2018. Provenance Adams and Ollman, Portland
Born 1969, Los Angeles, CA Lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Selected honors: Queer|Art|Prize for Sustained Achievement (2018) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: New Museum, New York; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria; Kunstverein Hannover, Germany; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Tate Modern, London, Southbank Centre, London Since the late 1970s, Vaginal Davis has been a trailblazing force as a genre- and gender-bending performance artist, painter, activist, musician, flmmaker and writer. Though Davis has always practiced painting, she presented her frst exhibition of purely visual art in 2012. She brings to painting the same uncompromising politics, humor and resourcefulness that informed her artistic practice in the decades prior, an approach that has put her in the spotlight in past years, particularly following her inclusion
in the critically acclaimed group exhibition Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon at the New Museum, New York, in 2017. “My paintings are kind of a feminine totem style. It’s all about female imagery, and female worship,” Davis explained of her so-painterly debut in a 2012 interview with Ryann Donnelly in Art In America. Positioning her works afer a wide range of public fgures, largely women of color, Davis transforms starlets and role models into iconoclastic creatures by employing the very materials associated with womanhood and femininity: makeup. Inventing an entirely new genre of “make-up paintings”, Davis pointedly uses cheaply functional materials to imbue her work with latent social currency: “When I frst started painting I used my mother’s Fashion Fair cosmetics, a cheap drugstore makeup line for black women.” Wet n Wild nail polish, Aqua Net hair spray and perfume by Jean Nate are mixed with glycerin to varying chromatic and textural efect, coalescing into ghostly, abstracted, mythical fgures. These works were paired to powerful efect with a sculpture by Louise Nevelson in the two-person show Chimera at the New York gallery Invisible Exports in 2017. Much like Nevelson, Davis breaks free from the social shackles of prescribed feminism. “The resulting forms suggest faces or masks, exposed intestines, genitals and knots of musculature,” Holland Cotter wrote in a 2015 review. “Bracingly feminist, prophetically antipatriarchal.” Davis, who assumed her name as an homage to activist Angela Davis, got her start in the Los Angeles punk scene where she developed multiple personas and performed incongruous identities, notably revolutionizing drag. As Grace Dunham wrote in The New Yorker, her “political critique, simultaneously absurd and hyper-real, made Davis a muse to a generation of queer writers and critics…in particular, the way she interrogated rather than obscured her cultural otherness.” While Davis’s performances were bold and audacious, her make-up paintings are conversely ethereal and sensual, infused with sacred introspection.
54. Florine Demosthene Where is the love you promised me...Where is it? Mylar, ink, glitter, metal leaf and pigment stick on paper 44 x 30 in. (111.8 x 76.2 cm.) Executed in 2018. Provenance Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Seattle
Born 1971, United States Lives and works in New York, Accra and Johannesburg. 2002 MFA, Hunter College-City University, New York 1998 BFA, Parsons the New School for Design, New York
Selected honors: Tulsa Artist Fellowship (2018); Arts Moves Africa Grant (2015); Creative Black Star Award (2015); and Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (2011) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Musée de l’Homme, Paris; and The Malcolm, Brooklyn, NY Selected public collections: Lowe Museum of Art, University of Miami; University of South Africa (UNISA), Pretoria South Africa Born in the United States and raised between Port au-Prince, Haiti, and New York, Florine Demosthene spent several years living and working across Africa. Demosthene is an artist with a truly global outlook. Using a combination of fgurative and abstract mark making, Demosthene constructs alternative landscapes to reevaluate the socio-political structures and conditions that surround black female sexuality and physicality today. The protagonists of her compositions are black heroines, depicted with rich folds of fesh as they weightlessly foat through the air. “Would you be willing to suspend all your preconceived notions of what a heroine is supposed to be?”, Demosthene was quoted by Ayoediji Rotinwa, “Can we exist within ourselves without comparing and contrasting to white culture?”
This investigation of themes surrounding race and gender is deeply informed by Demosthene’s own experiences. A visit to Ghana in 2009 served a critical turning point in both her life and career; it was in Accra that she, as Ayoediji Rotinwa noted in her March 2018 Artsy feature, “no longer carried the burden of being a black woman the way she had in the West… In Accra, Demosthene was not a minority. There were many others like her, their skin the color of autumn leaves freshly set adrif from trees, or the color of the star in Ghana’s national fag… In Accra, the artist was suddenly a new woman, one who emerged gradually through this series of mixed-media work.” Because Demosthene could not fnd any models in Accra willing to pose semi-nude, she became her own subject, posing for photographs that she would combine with references found online and in magazines to serve as a study for her fnal paintings and works on paper. As Demosthene explains, “For me, my art has been a peeling away of layers of preconceived ideas; much in the way a snake sheds its skin, this slow shedding process can be viewed as a continual rebirth of my identity.” If her earlier work examined the commodifcation and fetishization of black culture, more recent works such as Where is the love you promised me are a poetic and jubilant re-assertion of Demosthene’s own sense of self.
55. Awol Erizku Oh, what a feeling, fuck it, I want a Billion mixed media with seven regulation size basketball rims and Spalding NBA basketball 148 1/8 x 18 7/8 x 24 3/8 in. (376 x 48 x 62 cm.) Executed in 2018, this work is an edition of 1 plus 1 artist’s proof. Provenance The Artist
Born 1988, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Lives and works in New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA
Photo by Levi Mandel, Courtesy Ben Brown Fine Arts, London
2014 MFA, Yale University, New Haven, CT 2010 BA, The Cooper Union School of Art, New York, NY
Selected museum exhibitions: The FLAG Art Foundation, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museo Stefano Bardini, Florence Selected public collections: The FLAG Art Foundation, New York and the Mott-Warsh Collection, Flint, Michigan LA-based artist Awol Erizku is among the most exciting artists of his generation. Installation, performance, photography, conceptual art and social media meld in his hands to create a vibrant currency. Defly bridging the gap between fne art and popular culture, Erizku was catapulted to widespread fame in early 2017 for his pregnancy portraits of Beyoncé, which quickly became Instagram’s most popular post of all time. This was perhaps the crowning moment of Erizku’s quick rise in the art world ever since his exhibition debut in 2011 when his work was selected for the critically acclaimed exhibition Art? alongside the likes of Richard Prince and Roy Lichtenstein at the FLAG Foundation in New York. The photograph exhibited, which depicted his sister posing as Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, helped him land representation by a New York gallery when he was only 24. Erizku’s incisive approach to subverting the history of art also informs Oh what a feeling, aw, fuck it, I want a Billion. With a sly nod to Donald Judd’s stacks and 1960s minimalism, Erizku in has aligned seven basketball rims
with a miniature basketball resting atop the highest basket. As Erizku recalled in a 2014 interview with Paul Laster in Whitehot Magazine, “I thought it would be interesting to replace the stacked boxes with basketball hoops, a reference to David Hammons, and also signifers of my life in New York City.” Born in 1988 in Ethiopia, Erizku grew up in South Bronx, New York and studied art at Cooper Union, and later at Yale University. As Erizku continues to explain, “The piece operates as a striking metaphor, embodying the anxieties inherent to life as a young contemporary artist by aligning basketball with the practice of making art—both are games, shaped half by talent and half by luck. If you ask me, you have more to chew on when you look at those stacked hoops than those metal boxes.” Music and contemporary culture plays a critical role in Erizku’s work. The stacked hoops, as he recalled, were “highly infuenced by Jay Z’s ‘Picasso Baby,’ specifcally the line, ‘Oh what a feeling, aw, fuck it, I want a trillion.’ It’s a metaphor; people who understand hip-hop know what that means.” Embodying the hopes and economic plight of his generation, the debut of this series in the exhibition The Only Way is Up in 2014 was accompanied by a hip-hop mixtape Erizku created in collaboration with DJ Kitty Cash: “Music is universal and I wanted to create a musical defnition of my work that spoke to my generation about the issues and ideas my work represents.”
56. Alteronce Gumby My President’s Orange but my Painting is still Blue signed, titled, inscribed and dated “Alteronce Gumby “My President’s Orange but my Painting is still Blue” 2018 © BX/NYC” on the reverse oil on panel 54 x 70 in. (137.2 x 177.8 cm.) Executed in 2018. Provenance The Artist
Born 1985, Harrisburg, PA Lives and works in New York, NY 2016 MFA, Yale University, New Haven, CT 2013 BFA, Hunter College, New York, NY
Selected honors: the AAF/Seebacher Prize for Fine Arts (2005), the Dumfries House Residency (2015), Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship (2016) Within just two years of completing his MFA at Yale University, Alteronce Gumby has made a name for himself as an emerging artist to watch. It is his approach to color that has garnered him attention, most notably when Gumby’s work was included in Color People, a group show curated by Rashid Johnson at the Rental Gallery in East Hampton, New York, in July 2017. Exploring the social radicality of color, the acclaimed exhibition positioned Gumby with a venerable lineage of artists including Sam Gilliam, Bob Thompson, Robert Colescott, and Mary Heilmann. As Johnson put forward: “The artists included are a wide range of painters whose works perform diferently but with a shared radicality in their employment and understanding of color.” Gumby’s paintings draw the viewer into textured, layered color felds he has created using his fngers to spread paint and create color gradations. Inspired by his childhood fascination with jigsaw puzzles, he typically create tetraptych compositions as a way of, in the artist’s own words, “directing the mind’s eye to another space”. Gumby, whose practice includes paintings, ceramics, installation and performance, explores color as a compositional linkage between space, identity and ideas:
“The intention of my tetraptych compositions is to present color as a shapeshifer. A transcendental object of shade, light and form. I want to arrange abstract paintings as both a medium of unity and a moment of individuality. Meditating beyond what I can see, in search of a more ambiguous horizon. Ofen I ask myself, “What does it mean to be an artist of color and make paintings about color?” There seems to be no rest for a person of color in America. The ability to recontextualize hue through abstract painting is the most emancipating act in my practice. I consider color to be more than just a hue, race, mood, shade, a mark, a line, a man, a woman, a country, a nation. It’s an amalgamation of experiences, signs, and signifers that tell a story, my story, written and rewritten with each painting.” Painted in 2018, My president’s orange, but my painting is still blue evokes the changed political landscape in America since Gumby painted My president’s black but my painting’s blue in 2016, asserting the vitality and signifcance of abstract painting with its tongue-in-cheek title. As Gumby wrote in Bomb Magazine in October 2017, “I felt the need to create a safe space for myself, as a result of feeling insecure in the natural world. I have ambitions to see beyond my imagination in search of a more abstract horizon…There is always a space beyond what we can see. Through the process of painting I created spaces of light, hue and shape that ofer me a place of freedom.”
57. Texas Isaiah Space Beneath my Feet color inkjet archival print 53 1/2 x 35 1/2 in. (135.9 x 90.2 cm.) Executed in 2018. Provenance The Artist and Residency Art Gallery, Inglewood
Born in Brooklyn, NY Lives and works in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland, CA
Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; The Kitchen, New York, NY; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Slought Foundation, Philadelphia, PA; and New Space Center for Photography, Portland, OR Referring to himself as a “visual narrator”, Texas Isaiah invested in the possibilities of what it can mean to be seen, loved, and cared for when you have your photograph taken. His work, which notably featured in the Hammer Museum’s 2018 Made in L.A. biennial, explores gender, race, and sexuality by inviting the sitter to participate in the photographic process. “The invitation constructs a space to begin and continue collaborative visual dialogues about legacy, self-empowerment, emotional justice, protection, and topophilia (the afective bond between people and place),” he has written, adding elsewhere, “It is incredibly important for Black and Brown TLGBQIA+ folks to be photographed, and to have a consensual and thoughtful space that promotes personal agency.” Texas Isaiah embraces a deeply collaborative and personal approach to photography, taking considerable efort to understand the sitter’s relationship to being photographed. “Texas Isaiah feels you as much as he sees you,” Tiona Nekkia Mcclodde wrote on the artist in ArtForum’s Summer 2018 issue. “Afer Texas Isaiah makes a portrait of you, you retain an emotional marker. He captures the depth of the moment, but you retain the copyright to your narrative. The focus and care that he gives to Black and queer and trans people acknowledge that we have not always had a consensual space in the history of photography and imagemaking. He brings a proximity to this experience as a Black trans man. He knows that photography can be a violent space for many, including himself. His eye is subjective. This is neither voyeurism nor spectacle; this is a knowing image. This is an image of intimacy and relation.”
Self-portrait; © Courtesy of the artist
58. Clotilde Jiménez La Cama mixed media 53 x 43 in. (134.6 x 109.2 cm.) Executed in 2018. Provenance Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Seattle
Born 1990 in Honolulu, Hawaii Lives and works in London, England 2018 MFA, Slade School of Fine Art, London, England 2013 BFA, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, OH
Selected museum exhibitions and performances: the Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando, FL Selected public collections: the Orlando Museum of Art University Hospital, Cleveland, OH Clotilde Jiménez composes the fgures in his portraits by applying a diverse range of materials, including pieces of fabric, kitchen towels and magazine pages onto drawn or painted elements, resulting in a dimensionality as multifaceted as the identities he has tasked himself to extract from. As the artist explains, “my work explores the notions of Black, queer, male bodies. I’m trying to negotiate my queerness by race-ing homonormative ways of being, and examining how I understand Black male masculinity.” Although Jiménez’s distinct experience of being a gay, black, Hispanic, American male is in itself an isolated cultural subject, his work reveals a universal allegorical impetus through which to explore objectivity within contemporary existence. In the work on paper, La Cama, a fgure sits on a bed made up of actual pieces of fabric. This work exemplifes the artist’s investigation of materiality by way of culling interpretations from various, seemingly unrelated sources, not dissimilar from the way in which he chooses to describe his own multi-cultural identity. Jiménez elaborates on his use of collage as “a way of assembling found ephemera…a way to put together the elements or building blocks of perception that we have. Each disparate part of a person is a collage that comes together and blends to form a person. My aim is to transcribe and reconstruct the fxed idea of the Black body within popular culture, where many of us grapple with racial objectifcation from outside the Black community and homophobic ridicule within.”
59. Basil Kincaid Healing Hand a selection of the artist’s mother’s white shirts backed with the artist’s parents’ old bed sheet 76 x 67 in. (193 x 170.2 cm.) Executed in 2018. Provenance Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago
Born 1986, St. Louis, MO Lives and works in St. Louis, MO 2009 BA, Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO
Selected honors: Arts Connect International Artist In Residence Grant (2014 – 2015) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Missouri Valley College, Marshal, MO; Pulitzer Arts Foundation, St. Louis, MO Basil Kincaid’s multi-disciplinary practice can be seen as the conceptual examination of two core notions: reclamation and heritage. For Kincaid, reclaiming is a process of acknowledging what has been cast of by people as part of the ordinary processes of living everyday life, as well as fnding new meanings and values in what has out-lived its previous uses. Kincaid’s assemblages, collages and quilts are primarily composed of materials that he collects from his immediate surroundings and are donated from people through social media. “This methodology,” according to Kincaid, “explores the seeming immateriality and physical/personal disconnection within online spaces while observing how waste is refective of lived experience.” Working within the tradition of assemblage, Kincaid adopts and adapts quilting as his core formal approach to engage with the concerns of his day and age. “My quest is to understand the wild tapestry of my own personal identity and cultural identity within the African Diaspora, contextualized by the scafolding of my American experience,” Kincaid writes in his artist statement. Informed by an over 100-year family history of quilting, Kincaid considers the quilts he makes to be metaphysical collaboration with his ancestors, which allows him to participate in a legacy that extends both backwards and forward in time. “I am currently most interested in the practice of quilting as a way to collaborate with ancestral energy and as a method of empowerment. It is imperative that I nurture the evolution of my creative family traditions, honoring my predecessors while adapting the practice to address the questions and concerns of contemporary life.”
60. Adam Pendleton WHAT IS THE... silkscreen ink on mylar overall dimensions variable each sheet 38 x 29 in. (96.5 x 73.7 cm.) Executed in 2018. Provenance The Artist Pace Gallery, New York
Born 1984, Richmond, VA Lives and works in Germantown and Brooklyn, NY
Pendleton Portrait © Matthew Septimus
2000-2002 Artspace Independent Study Program, Pietrasanta, Italy
Selected honors: Artspace Independent Study Program, Pietrasanta, Italy (2000-2002) Selected exhibitions and performances: Baltimore Museum of Art; Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gatesheard; Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; and La Triennale at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris Selected public collections: Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Tate, London Adam Pendleton’s work defes categorization. Fluidly moving between painting, publishing, photography, collage, video and performance, Pendleton creates work that centers on an engagement with language – in both the fgurative and literal senses – and the re-contextualization of history through appropriated imagery. Establishing alternative interpretations of the present, Pendleton seeks to create, “a future dynamic where new historical narratives and meanings can exist.” While exploring themes such as the Civil rights era or the recent “Black Lives Matter” movement, Pendleton intentionally creates open-ended works of art that allow for multiple interpretations. Within just ten years, Pendleton has risen to one of the most highly regarded artists of his generation. He moved to New York at age 18 with the resolute intention
of becoming an artist. “So I sometimes think that I basically went to art school in public,” Pendleton mused in conversation with Allie Biswas in a 2016 Brooklyn Rail interview. “I did my frst solo show in New York at Yvon Lambert in 2005, and I did a project at Wallspace in 2004 just before that. I was twenty.” Pendleton’s frst came to widespread notice in 2007, when he delivered an impassioned soliloquy about politics and language accompanied with a live gospel choir at Performa, the New York performance art biennial. By 2012, he signed with Pace Gallery at age 28 – making him the youngest artist to do so since the 1970s, and has since featured twice in Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” list. On the subject of his remarkable rise to fame, Pendleton remains conscious of the fact that he has a platform that was denied to a generation of Black artists before him, such as Alma Thomas and Jack Whitten. “They are people who continued to make work even when no one was looking,” he pointed out. “In my work, there’s this attitude of ‘take it or leave it,’ but also ‘take what you need’ …I think it gets lost that a lot of what I actually do is look and listen, rather than scream and shout.” Speaking of his understanding of the notion of protest in conversation with Thoma Donovan for Bomb Magazine in 2010, he explained, “That’s what protest is: it’s saying that something is not quite right and we are moving toward something else. I hope my work can embody some of that spirit.”
61. Jacolby Satterwhite Anton chromogenic print, diptych each 33 x 50 in. (83.8 x 127 cm.) Executed in 2018, this work is from an edition of 3 plus 1 artistâ€™s proof. Provenance Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York (acquired directly from the artist)
Born 1986, Columbia, South Carolina Lives and works in New York, NY 2010 MFA, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 2009 Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine 2008 BFA, Maryland Institute college of Arts, Baltimore, Maryland
Portrait of Jacolby Satterwhite. Photograph by Matthew Placek ÂŠ Courtesy of the artist and Moran Bondarof, Los Angeles
Selected honors: United States Artists Fellowship (2016); Louis Comfort Tifany Grant (2013); and Art Matters Grant (2013) Selected exhibitions: San Francisco Museum of Art; Seattle Art Museum; 9th Berlin Biennale; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Bufalo, NY; and Dallas Museum of Art Selected public collections: The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Seattle Art Museum; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Museum of Modern Art, New York A leading fgure within the generation of artists working with the visual language of new technologies, Jacolby Satterwhite is celebrated for a conceptual practice addressing themes of labor, consumption, sex and fantasy through immersive installation virtual reality and digital media. Best known for his futuristic, dance-infused animated works, he uses a range of sofware to produce intricately detailed animations and live action flm of real and imagined worlds populated by the avatars of artists and friends. Satterwhite infuses his fantastical digital worlds with references to popular culture – ranging from video games, music videos, club dance styles – and biography to playfully probing questions of memory and queer desire. “It’s about observing my personal archive of people, places, and things, and making poetic, moving visuals from that,” he explained, “Connecting spaces that don’t normally converse is how I yield an honest, unpretentious form.”
Ever since his frst solo exhibition in 2013 and participation in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Satterwhite has garnered considerable critical acclaim for his infuential subversive practice. A signifcant infuence for the artist has been his mother: Satterwhite uses the diagrams, drawings and recorded songs she created as source material for his video imagery and audio soundtracks, but also credits her as the inspiration to abandon painting. As Satterwhite explained in a 2016 Frieze interview, “…being an AfricanAmerican artist and a gay artist, I could not escape the 400 years of oppressive history attached to the medium [of painting]. Eventually, I threw away all my paints and primers, picked up a camera at Wal-Mart and started to perform in front of it. Around the same time, I watched my mother make the same drawings she had been making since I was a child. She was mentally ill but, over the course of her life, recorded seven albums and made over 10,000 drawings…I realized that Patricia Satterwhite was the artist hero I should have had all along. So, I decided to make her a rubric for the way I thought about art. That’s why I began performing…I felt confned by the fact that every gesture I make as an African-American artist would be placed under the umbrella of politics, so I tried being less contrived and didactic. I know that I have a lot of loaded images in my videos, but there are many ways in which to read them.”
62. Xaviera Simmons Found the Sea Like the River acrylic on wood panel 74 1/4 x 96 3/4 in. (188.6 x 245.7 cm.) Executed in 2018. Provenance David Castillo Gallery, Miami
Born 1974, New York, NY Lives and works in New York, NY 2005 Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, New York, NY 2004 BFA, Bard College, Annandale-onHudson, NY
Selected honors: Visionary Artist Award Honoree, Art in General (2017); The Louis Comfort Tifany Foundation Award (2016); The Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant (2015); The David C. Driskell Prize (2008) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; The Museum of Arts and Design, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York Selected public collections: The Guggenheim Museum, New York; The High Museum of Art, Atlanta; ICA Miami; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago Xaviera Simmons’s interdisciplinary approach is rooted in a critical interrogation of the constant fux of fction and reality, public and private histories and identities. A modern-day Renaissance woman, Simmons combines a wide range of art forms. While she is perhaps best known as a photographer, Simmons also is committed to performance, sculpture, installation, and video as the means to investigate experience and memory as cyclical versus linear. As fellow artist Adam Pendleton succinctly said, “As comfortable with taking a picture as she is with producing a theater piece or performing a DJ gig, she makes work that is perpetually in fux.” Simmons probes the question of how identitiy comes into being by a research-based investigation of history, mythology, archival materials and her own personal collection.
All of Simmons’ artistic endeavors are connected by overarching investigation of landscape in its widest sense. As she has explained, “I tend to think of my whole practice as landscape based. Any photograph I make is a landscape; even in the text and sound works there’s some landscape I’m trying to construct.” The infuence of her travels and interdisciplinary training comes through in all her work, particularly her experience of joining a group of Buddhist monks on a pilgrimage that retraced the route of the transatlantic slave trade. They walked from Massachusetts to Florida, and later from Gambia to Nigeria. Found the Sea like the River, 2018, is a quintessential example of Simmons’ text-based paintings that draw from the diaries and observations of Christopher Columbus. Devoid of context, Columbus’ observations of his encounter with the North American continent are transformed into poetic visual gestures. Text becomes images as the observations conjure an idyllic landscape, seemingly at odds with the loaded historical confict that would follow. Re-engaging with historical narrative, Simmons probes shifing notions of landscape, history and memory to capture the fction/truth dialectic.
63. Vaughn Spann DALMATIAN NO. 6 (Desert Storm) signed, titled and dated “Vaughn Spann 2018 DALMATIAN (No. 6) (Desert Storm)” on the reverse polymer paint and fabric on canvas 70 x 70 in. (177.8 x 177.8 cm.) Executed in 2018. Provenance Night Gallery, Los Angeles Private Collection, Los Angeles
Born 1992, Orlando, FL 2018 MFA, Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT 2014 BFA, Rutgers State University, Newark, NJ
Selected honors: Titus Kaphar’s Next Haven Residency (2018); New American Paintings Cover Artists (2018); Alice Kimball English Traveling Fellowship (2017); Leopoldo Villareal III Scholarship at Yale University (2017) Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando, FL; Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT; and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Baltimore, MD. Selected public collections: Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL; Credit Suisse Corporate Collection One of the most talked about emerging artists of the past year, Vaughn Spann moves between fguration and abstraction with equal ease. Spann approaches painting with a highly distinct material-based approach, using twine, fabric, spray and oil paint, t-shirts and paper and other materials readily found in hardware stores or from his local environment to expand the possibilities of painting. Engaging in a type of social abstraction, Spann places the importance of family and everyday materials at the core of his practice. Spann spent his childhood learning the craf of working with his hands from his grandparents, who passed down their knowledge of sewing to the family. In Spann’s hands, everyday materials are transformed into abstract works rich with color and texture.
Since graduating with a MFA from Yale School of Art in 2018, Spann’s work has participated in 15 group shows across the United States in the past year alone. Antwaun Sargent, reviewing the exhibition Street Block: Lost/ Found/Chance at Jenkins Johnsons Projects in New York for The New York Times in August 2018, highlighted Spann’s unique approach to Minimalism: “Mr. Spann, 25, seemed to be thinking of the block as a unit of measurement; its capacity to form a component of a larger whole. To achieve this, the work is made of terry cloth, painted black and broken into pieces that form a city grid, circling another grid. It underscores Mr. Spann’s belief that ‘we are all enmeshed within the grid, both functioning within it and fghting to work against it.’” An artist to watch, Spann’s frst solo exhibition at Half Gallery in New York was selected as one of Artnet News Editor’s picks in November 2018.
64. Cameron Welch Pathfnder signed, titled and dated “CAMERON WELCH PATHFINDER 2018” on the reverse oil, acrylic, spray paint, ceramic, and found objects on panel 78 3/4 x 68 1/2 in. (200 x 174 cm.) Executed in 2018. Provenance The Artist
Born 1990, Indianapolis, IN Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY 2016 MFA, Columbia University, NY 2013 BFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Selected honors: SAIC Distinguished Scholarship of Merit, The Elizabeth C. Nolan Shortridge PTA Scholarship. Cameron Welch’s work puts forth an explosive cross between painting and mosaic, bringing classical mythology into the 21st century. Quickly rising in the international art world, Welch developed his recent mosaic works as a continuation of his interest in the juxtaposition of images and materials. As Welch wrote in his 2016 artist statement: “My work is invested in visual information, and how materials have content inherent in them.” His varied use of materials and processes, including collage, sewing, dying, and painting, has recently expanded to encompass the ancient practice of mosaic making. “You go to the Met and you don’t see people of color,” the 28-year old artist told VICE in May 2018. “What do you do when you want to pose a new paradigm in representation? People always look back to look forward but stop at like 1950, and I’m like, ‘Why can’t we look back to Greece and ancient craf making?’”
Working within the tradition of the ready-made, Welch constructs mythical worlds by using smashed objects and materials he fnds while dumpster-diving: brooms, mirrors, CDS. As Welch explained the inspiration behind using mosaics in his work: “I was thinking a lot about what could be a new myth and trying to create a new world where people of color get to be represented in this way. So I thought about mashing ancient myths around beauty, sexuality, and identity with more modern signifers. There are CDs—which are like fossils in the world now because we don’t use them anymore. I was interested in the stories they evoke for people.” Culturally signifcant objects like a MIDI keyboard and a car rim fgure as specifc references to time and identity in Welch’s elaborate compositions, bringing the street into the realm of history painting. Pathfnder confronts the viewer with a larger-than-life deity, the objects it is created from putting forth oblique references to time and identity. “I’m putting Black fgures in romantic spheres to do away with the construct that people of color can’t be represented in that way,” Welch explained. “I’m an artist that doesn’t want to be bound, materially speaking, to one mode of representation. I think it’s all about pushing a new myth of liberated existence in terms of selfidentifcation but also knowledge and narrative. I think it’s all about being free.”
Index Adams, D. 42
Kincaid, B. 59
Ahuja, M. 51 Alston, C. 1
Lawson, D. 47 Ligon, G. 18
Bailey, R. 37
Lovell, W. 26
Basquiat, J. 13 Bearden, R. 14
Middleton, S. 5
Biggers, S. 43 Binion, M. 8
Nengudi, S. 12
Bradford, M. 31
Newsome, R. 40
Brutus, M. 52 Buchanan, B. 16
Outterbridge, J. 9
Clark, E. 2
Pendleton, A. 60 Pope.L 34
Davis, V. 53
Purifoy, N. 19
Demosthene, F. 54 Dial, T. 21
Saar, B. 24 Satterwhite, J. 61
Erizku, A. 55
Sepuya, P. 48 Scott, D. 27
Gates, T. 32
Simmons, X. 62
Gilliam, S. 20
Smith, P. 41
Gumby, A. 56
Smith, S. 29
Guyton, T. 25
Spann, V. 63
Hancock, T. 28
Thomas, A. 3
Harris, L. 15
Thomas, H. 49
Hendricks, B. 7
Thomas, M. 23
Huckaby, L. 44 Huckaby, S. 35
Walker, K. 36
Hunt, R. 6
Welch, C. 64 Whitney, S. 11
Isaiah, T. 57
Whitten, J. 30 Wiley, K. 22
Jackson, A. 45
Williams, G. 10
Jackson, O. 38
Willis, D. 50
Jackson, T. 46
Wilson, F. 33
JimĂŠnez, C. 58
Woodruf, H. 4
Johnson, R. 39 Young, P. 17
Front and Back cover Kehinde Wiley, Passing/ Posing, Jean de Carodelet, 2004, lot 22 (detail) Inside Front cover Trenton Doyle Hancock, Hot Coals in Soul, 2010, lot 28 (detail) Kara Walker, The Marvelous Sugar Baby Production Model in Bronze, 2015, lot 36 Opposite Rashaad Newsome, Grand Prize!, 2016, lot 40 (detail)
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