September 29 - December 15th
We remain caught in the insidious evil maw of our country’s original sin, still looking to the promises of “we the people” and “pursuit of happiness” given in the U.S. Constitution, our founding text. Today we feel threats to these still unfulfilled aspirations. Yet an incurable idealism persists in the American soul. A response to these threats is a need to dream, to transcend, to see beyond our difficulties to a cure, to something better.
All art contains hope. At its most basic, an artwork evidences the wish to communicate. Even when reduced to only color and form, it inherently aims to engender something in the viewer. This something cannot be measured objectively, and its comprehension depends on a kind of magical thinking. In the exhibition When 6 is 9: Visions of a Parallel Universe, Renée Stout uses the conjurer’s imagery passed through her African American heritage to address our present state of stress and the subsequent need to dream. The subjects, one might say the voices, in her work speak to the madness of our time from their individual viewpoints. As we move through the exhibition, an elucidative empathy to these personal narratives fortifies our sense of whole beings, un-discountable, full of meaning. Progressing towards the end of the show we find ourselves in a parallel universe. Stout describes this as a place “where the spirits of mysterious colorful people… intersect in spaces teeming with possibilities.”
The founding text, setting us on a national journey, was a new contract of citizenship. The spiritual content of the contract requires us to work toward better circumstances for all, correct past transgressions, and to dream of a “more perfect union.” Stout’s When 6 is 9: Visions of a Parallel Universe decries the contract being set on its head. Using the pressure caused by our current moral and physical crisis to power her dreams, she pictures ways out of the chaos. Reminded of the Delmore Schwartz short story ”In Dreams Begin Responsibilities,” we might reverse his title to serve as the coda to the exhibition, “in responsibilities begin dreams.” Renée Stout’s show does not look away, it looks into and then dreams beyond.
Renée Stout is a recipient of the Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award (2018), Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize (2012), David C. Driskell Prize (2010), a Joan Mitchell Award (2005), The Pollock Krasner Foundation Award (1991 & 1999), the Anonymous Was a Woman Award (1999), and The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (1993). Her work is included in such collections as The Africa Museum, Berg en Dal, Netherlands, The Baltimore Museum of Art, The High Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Art, The San Francisco Museum of Fine Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, among others. Stout was the subject of the traveling exhibition “Tales of the Conjure Woman,” originating at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in 2013, a solo exhibition, “Funk Dreamscapes from the Invisible Parallel Universe” at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI in 2018 and “Church of the Crossroads: Renée Stout in the Belger Collection” at the Belger Center in Kansas City, MO in 2018. This is her 5th exhibition at Hemphill Fine Arts.
HEMPHILL 1515 14th Washington DC.
November 15 - December 22, 2018
moniquemeloche is thrilled to present …for those who bear/bare witness…, Ebony G. Patterson’s fourth solo show at the gallery. Patterson’s multilayered practice – in sculpture, installation, performance, and video – uses beauty as a tool. She employs opulent, hand-embellished surfaces and brightly colored patterns to seduce the viewer into bearing witness to the violence and social injustices imposed upon the invisible and the voiceless.
To this end, Patterson’s new body of large-scale tapestries and hand-cut paper works reflects her recent investigation of gardens:
“For almost five years, I have been exploring the idea of gardens, both real and imagined, and their relationship to postcolonial spaces. I am interested in how gardens – natural but cultivated settings – operate with social demarcations. I investigate their relationship to beauty, dress, class, race, the body, land, and death. These new works create an immersive installation – a nocturnal garden that acknowledges bodies and sites, that uses pageantry and beauty to create presence in ‘gardens’ gone awry. We come to pause, to bear witness, and to acknowledge…”
These new works – exquisitely and ornately embellished with myriad materials such as glitter, stickers, and varied textiles, among other things – is an unmistakable call to action and testimonial. The titular wordplay – …for those who bear/bare witness… – implicates not only the viewer, who must acknowledge the content of Patterson’s presentation, but also the anonymous victims memorialized by the works, whose bodies are disappeared, or laid bare.
Indeed, Patterson has been slowly taking apart her figures, calling attention to their invisibility on the larger world’s stage precisely by disappearing them in her own works. The new works depict a jumbled jungle of lush flora and fauna, through whose coiled vines and fertile floral sprays ghostly corporeal forms are just barely visible. A closer look and limbless, headless torsos, cloaked in jewel-toned finery, become apparent. Confidently posed, they flaunt a melancholy greatness. Elsewhere, unattached limbs mingle with the verdant density, and animals such as owls, bears, or roosters keep watch. Presented on a newly artist-designed fabric wallpaper, which depicts an uneasily peaceful image of a garden at night, these works put forth an environment of uncanny, ominous beauty and decay. These are gardens where life and death co-mingle, where bodies are buried, historical traumas are revealed, and souls are set free.
Ebony G. Patterson (b. 1981 in Kingston, Jamaica; lives and works in Kingston and Lexington, KY) received her BFA from Edna Manley College, Kingston, Jamaica (2004) and MFA from Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University, St. Louis, MO (2006).
moniquemeloche 451 N Paulina Street
September 7 – December 30, 2018
Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979–1980 includes the entire cache of works made by Jean-Michel Basquiat during the year he lived with his friend Alexis Adler in a small apartment in the East Village. The art and archival material provides rare insight into the artistic life of Basquiat before he achieved fame in the early 1980s. While living in this apartment, Basquiat’s creative impulses moved fluidly from his SAMO tags on the surrounding streets and neighborhood into a more sustained practice in their shared home. Through paintings, sculpture, works on paper, a notebook, and other ephemera, as well as Adler’s numerous photographs from this period, the exhibition documents the fluid evolution of Basquiat’s creative impulses into a more sustained practice. This exhibition includes rarely seen Basquiat works from local collections, adding a perspective of the artist’s evolution into the mid-’80s.
Basquiat Before Basquiat: East 12th Street, 1979–1980 is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and curated by Nora Burnett Abrams, Ellen Bruss Curator and Director of Planning. The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis exhibition is organized by Lisa Melandri, Executive Director.
CAM St. Louis 3750 Washington Boulevard
Coinciding with the release of Dawoud Bey’s new monograph, Seeing Deeply (University of Texas Press, Austin, September 2018), Stephen Daiter Gallery is pleased to present Dawoud Bey: Polaroid Works.
On view at the gallery will be large-scale prints of Bey’s early black-and-white Polaroid street portraits created mostly in his Brooklyn community in the late 1980s and very early 1990s; as well as his subsequent 1990s–early 2000s project of 20 x 24 inch color Polaroid studio portraits. These two bodies of work complement one another in process and outcome – both shot with large format cameras producing prints instantly, and both exhibiting Bey’s innate ability to create a genuine connection with his subject no matter who or where they were. These works also represent a conceptual shift in Bey’s early working process, taking him from small-format street photography, ultimately to a controlled studio environment where he favored the intimacy of the quiet room and the descriptive qualities of the much larger negative.
Please join us for a reception at the gallery on Friday, September 28th, from 5-8pm. The exhibition parallels our exhibit at EXPO Chicago with Rena Bransten Gallery, where Bey’s most recent body of work Night Coming Tenderly, Black will be featured.
Friday, September 28, 2018
Celebrate the opening of the Poetry Foundation’s new exhibition, Krista Franklin: “…to take root among the stars,” a speculative “mapping” project wherein evidence of Afrofuturist and AfroSurrealist thought is traced, imagined, and archived in and on handmade paper. Join us for performances by Franklin, Aricka Foreman, Kara Jackson, and Jamila Woods. Music courtesy of DJ Rae Chardonnay, will follow the program, which will begin promptly at 6:00 PM.
Krista Franklin is a writer and visual artist. She is the author of Under the Knife and the chapbook Study of Love & Black Body. Her work has been shown at The Columbia Museum of Art, The Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Chicago Cultural Center, National Museum of Mexican Art, Produce Model, Rootwork Gallery, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and has been featured on Fox’s TV drama series Empire. Franklin is a Cave Canem fellow and lives and works in Chicago.
Rae Chardonnay Taylor is a DJ and Arts Administrator. She is the Founder of Black Eutopia, a series of segmented programming intended to cultivate space for marginalized communities.
Aricka Foreman's poems, essays and features have appeared in numerous publications including The Offing, Catapult, Buzzfeed, The Collagist, RHINO and Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation (Viking Penguin). Author of Dream with a Glass Chamber (YesYes Books), she has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, and the Millay Colony for the Arts.
Kara Jackson is a poet, musician, and all-around performing artist. Kara has performed at Louder Than A Bomb as part of the spoken word group Bomb Squad.
Jamila Woods is a poet, singer, and teaching artist. She is the associate artistic director of Young Chicago Authors and a founding member of its Teaching Artist Corps. Woods is a member of Dark Noise, a collective of poets & educators of color. Her solo album, HEAVN, was released to critical acclaim in 2016.
Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street
Objects in the Midst of Other Objects: Black Male Formations
Featuring the art work of Stephen Flemister + Spencer Paul Hutchinson
In his seminal work of critical race theory, Black Skin/White Masks (1968), philosopher-psychiatrist Frantz Fanon eloquently reflected on his own racialized encumberment:
“I came into the world imbued with the will to find a meaning in things, my spirit filled with the desire to attain to the source of the world, and then I found that I was an object in the midst of other objects.”
Featuring the work of virtuosic painters and object makers—Stephen Flemister and Spencer Paul Hutchinson, with this exhibition, Rootwork Gallery explores the simultaneous objectification and subjectivity of Black masculinity in the contemporary U.S.
This timely reflection coincides with ubiquitous instances of police brutality against Black men, and the denial of agency to Black men (e.g. NFL players and other professional athletes) who choose to conspicuously protest.
The tension between these actions and counter-actions pointedly animates the circumscription that Fanon references, and demands a closer reading of the ways in which Flemister, Hutchinson and their peers directly and indirectly externalize notions of self-determination and autonomy in their making.
Definitions in use:
1. The action of degrading someone to the status of a mere object.
2. The expression of something abstract in a concrete form.
1. The quality of being based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.
2. The quality of existing in someone's mind rather than the external world.
- Tracie D. Hall and (Bessie Marie Sanders Scott), Co-curators.
This event is free and open to the public.
About the Artists:
Stephen Flemister is an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture, print media, and new media, with practices invested in the intersections of portraiture and influences of digital culture. Through objects, installations, and experimental studies, Flemister explores methods of visibility and fabricated realities among social systems, object making, and drawings. A recent graduate with an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a 2016/17 Artist in Residence with Arts + Public Life, Flemister has exhibited at Hyde Park Art Center, Columbia College Chicago, South Side Community Art Center, and the Arts Incubator, as well as with public installations throughout Chicago.
Spencer Hutchinson is a Chicago-based multidisciplinary artist whose work explores a range of subject matter in a variety of media from painting to sound to video and 3D animation. Having received his BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009, Hutchinson's work has been shown nationally and internationally from New York to Dubai.
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Echoes: Reframing Collage exhibiting artist Paul Mpagi Sepuya will discuss his work on view as well as his broader artistic practice. Sepuya’s work is held in the permanent collection of the Guggenheim Museum, NY; Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Modern Art; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; and Milwaukee Museum of Art, among others.
Lectures in Photography are co-presented by MoCP and the Photography Department at Columbia College Chicago.
618 S Michigan Ave