The Whitney to Present First U.S. Retrospective of Jimmie Durham

The Whitney Museum of American Art will host the first North American retrospective of artist, performer, poet, essayist, and activist Jimmie Durham (b. 1940), one of the most compelling and multifaceted figures working internationally today. On view from November 3, 2017, to January 28, 2018, Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World features approximately 120 works from 1970 to the present, including sculpture, drawing, collage, printmaking, photography, and video.

Jimmie Durham

Jimmie Durham, Self-Portrait Pretending to Be a Stone Statue of Myself, 2006. Color photograph. Edition of 1 + 1 AP. 31 ¾ × 24 in. (80.7 × 60.9 cm). Collection of fluid archives, Karlsruhe. Courtesy of ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe.

Durham has, over the past nearly five decades, produced wryly political art, often raising questions about authenticity and making visible the ongoing repercussions of colonialism, both within the U.S. and globally. Frequently working with a combination of natural and found materials, he approaches his subjects with a poetic wit and a potent blend of irony and insight.

The Whitney is delighted to present the work of Jimmie Durham, who has made a singular contribution to contemporary art since the 1970s,” said Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director. “This retrospective provides an opportunity for audiences to gain a deeper understanding of Durham’s expansive practice, or perhaps to discover him for the first time. We are grateful to the Hammer Museum, in particular to director Ann Philbin and curator Anne Ellegood, for organizing this long-overdue retrospective.”

Jimmie Durham was born in 1940 in Houston, Texas, and raised in southwestern Arkansas. In the late 1960s, he enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in Geneva, where he worked primarily in performance and sculpture. At this time, he formed an organization called Incomindios, with Indigenous friends from South America, which attempted to coordinate and encourage support for the struggle of Indigenous people throughout the Americas. A lifelong activist, he returned to the U.S. at the end of 1973 during the occupation at Wounded Knee, in South Dakota, and became a full-time organizer for the American Indian Movement (AIM); he would become a member of their Central Council in 1974. That same year AIM established the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) and appointed Durham the executive director. Durham relocated to New York City to run the IITC and become the representative of American Indians to the United Nations.

Durham resigned from AIM in 1979 and returned to a focus on art making. He was the director of the Foundation for the Community of Artists in New York from 1981 to 1983 and edited their monthly Art and Artists Newspaper (formerly Artworkers News) from 1982 to 1985. In 1987, Durham moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico, and then in 1994 to Europe, where he has lived in Dublin, Brussels, Marseille, Rome, Berlin, and Naples. Since leaving the U.S., Durham has immersed himself in the culture and history of each adopted home, drawing on the local language, materials, and architecture to reframe his larger political, historical, and philosophical questions. Throughout his travels, he has dryly declared wherever he happens to be—from Mexico City to Berlin to Naples—the “center of the world.

Whitney curator Elisabeth Sussman, who is installing the exhibition at the Whitney together with assistant curator Laura Phipps, noted, “Although Jimmie Durham has lived as an expatriate for decades, his work has remained connected to crucial developments in American art, such as found-object assemblage, appropriation of text and image, institutional critique, performance art, and the politics of representation. This is Durham’s first substantial solo show in the United States in twenty-two years and it’s a rare chance to celebrate his extraordinary accomplishments as an artist and to revel in his wit, his fascination with language, and his remarkable use of materials.

This exhibition, as it has traveled from its previous venues at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, has revived debates, dating back to the early 1990s, over the artist’s claims of Cherokee ancestry. Durham is not recognized as a citizen by any of the Cherokee tribes, which as sovereign nations determine their own membership. Recent discussions of this point have prompted a wider audience to confront important questions regarding tribal sovereignty, and what it means—or does not mean—for an artist to self-identify as being Native American. This exhibition does not attempt to resolve these questions. Rather it contends that Durham’s work—with its singular and vital critique of Western systems of knowledge and power—offers a crucial perspective on the history of American art and life.

Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World was organized by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and curated by Anne Ellegood, senior curator, with MacKenzie Stevens, curatorial assistant. It traveled to the Walker Art Center prior to coming to the Whitney, where its installation is being overseen by Elisabeth Sussman, curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, and assistant curator Laura Phipps. Following the Whitney, the exhibition will travel to the Remai Modern in Saskatoon.

Durham’s exhibition history spans several decades and continents. Recent solo exhibitions include God’s Children, God’s Poems (Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, 2017); Here at the Center (Neue Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, 2015); Venice: Objects, Work and Tourism (Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice, 2015); and Various Items and Complaints (Serpentine Gallery, London, 2015). Group shows include Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology (Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2014) and Documenta (2012), among many others. A retrospective of his work—A Matter of Life and Death and Singing—was organized by the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp (2012), and a survey of his work from 1994 forward, Pierres rejetées, took place at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2009).

Durham’s works are included in major public collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Tate Modern, London; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp; the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; and the Museo Jumex, Mexico City.

Durham’s work is also part of The Whitney’s permanent collection. Self Portrait was included in the Museum’s inaugural show in its downtown home in 2015, America is Hard to See, and in the 1998 exhibition Art at the End of the Century: Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as in the exhibition The American Century: Art and Culture 1900-2000 (Part II). His work also appeared at the Whitney in the 1993 Biennial, the 2006 Biennial, and the 2014 Biennial. Durham has also co-curated a number of exhibitions, including Ni’ Go Tlunh A Doh Ka (We Are Always Turning Around On Purpose) at the Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, State University of New York Old Westbury, Long Island, New York, in 1986 (co-curated with Jean Fisher); We The People at Artists Space, New York, in 1987 (co-curated with Jean Fisher; special advisors Edgar Heap of Birds and G. Peter Jemison); and The American West, at Compton Verney in Warwickshire, England, in 2005 (co-curated with Richard W. Hill).

An avid essayist and poet, Durham has published many texts in journals such as Artforum, Art Journal, and Third Text. His book of poems, Columbus Day, was published in 1983 by West End Press, Minneapolis. A book of his collected essays, A Certain Lack of Coherence, was published in 1993 by Kala Press. In 2013, Jimmie Durham: Waiting to Be Interrupted, Selected Writings 1993-2012 was published by Mousse Publishing and Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp, and his book of poetry Poems That Do Not Go Together was published by Edition Hansjörg Maye. Continue reading

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Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined Opens At The Whitney On October 20

The Whitney Museum of American Art debuts Toyin Ojih Odutola’s first solo museum exhibition in New York on October 20, 2017. The exhibition presents an interconnected series of portraits that chronicle the private lives and surroundings of two fictional aristocratic Nigerian families: the UmuEze Amara clan and the house of Obafemi. Rendered life-size in charcoal, pastel, and pencil, Ojih Odutola’s figures appear enigmatic and mysterious, set against luxurious backdrops of domesticity and leisure. In tandem with the artist’s larger conceived narrative, they highlight the malleability of identity and upend assumptions about race, wealth, and class. The exhibition features a significant new body of work alongside a small selection of works made in 2016.

Toyin Ojih Odutola (b. 1985), Wall of Ambassadors, 2017.

Photo Credit: Toyin Ojih Odutola (b. 1985), Wall of Ambassadors, 2017. Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper, 40 x 30 inches. © Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Ojih Odutola creates intimate drawings that explore the complexity of identification and belonging. Depicted in her distinctive style of intricate mark-making, her sumptuous compositions reimagine the genre and traditions of portraiture. They are informed by the artist’s own array of inspirations, which range from art history to popular culture to experiences of migration and dislocation. Highly attentive to detail and the nuances of space and color—whether of palette or skin—Ojih Odutola continues her examinations of narrative, authenticity, and representation.

Toyin Ojih Odutola (b. 1985) was born in Ife, Nigeria and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She currently lives and works in New York City. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco (2016), the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (2015), and the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (2013). She has participated in several group shows including Disguise: Masks and Global African Art, Brooklyn Museum (2015); Ballpoint Pen Drawing Since 1950, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (2013); Fore, Studio Museum in Harlem (2012); The Moment for Ink, Chinese Cultural Center, San Francisco (2013); and The Progress of Love, Menil Collection, Houston (2012). Ojih Odutola received her MFA from the California College of Arts, San Francisco in 2012 and her BFA from the University of Alabama, Huntsville in 2008.

Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined will be on view in the first-floor John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Gallery, which is accessible to the public free-of-charge.

This exhibition is organized by Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator, and Melinda Lang, curatorial assistant. Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined is sponsored by Audi of America. Major support is provided by the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation. Generous support is provided by Jackson Tang.

The Whitney To Present Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium

Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium, to be presented at The Whitney Museum of American Art from July 14 through October 1, 2017, is the first retrospective to survey the groundbreaking Brazilian artist’s entire career, including the formative years he spent in New York in the 1970s. One of the most influential Latin American artists of the post–World War II period, Oiticica (1937–80) was a tireless innovator, from his start with the Neo-Concrete movement to his groundbreaking environmental installations. Co-organized by the Whitney together with the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, the exhibition presents a wide array of his paintings, interactive sculptures, films, audiovisual works, writings, and environments.

Hélio Oiticica (b. 1937), PN1 Penetrable (PN1 Penetrável), 1960. César and Claudio Oiticica Collection, Rio de Janeiro. © César and Claudio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro

Hélio Oiticica (b. 1937), PN1 Penetrable (PN1 Penetrável), 1960. César and Claudio Oiticica Collection, Rio de Janeiro. © César and Claudio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro

Oiticica was one of the most daring artists to appear anywhere in the years following World War II,” said Elisabeth Sussman, co-curator of the exhibition. “In conceiving this show, it was particularly important to us to focus attention on Oiticica’s presence in New York City in the 1970s, a time when many international artists came to live and work here. The expansion of his ideas into film, photography, and writing has been fully explored, as never before, in the research for this exhibition, and the works, some displayed for the first time, identify Oiticica as a paradigmatic presence in the global expansion of art practice in that decade.

Co-curator Donna De Salvo commented: “Oiticica’s departure from traditional notions of the static art object and his transformation of the viewer into an active participant were part of a larger, international desire to integrate art and life. Though his reputation is due primarily to his earlier work in Brazil, Oiticica was drawn to the scene of artistic experimentation in New York, and the eight years he spent working in the United States had a huge impact on his thought and continued to shape his art after his return to Brazil. By calling attention to the distinct differences that he absorbed in each locale, we hope to further the notion of art history as one comprised of multiple stories, and emphasize the Whitney’s expansive definition of who belongs in a museum of American art. This openness to patterns of artistic migration and cross-cultural thinking has a long history at the Whitney, which we are delighted to extend with this important exhibition.”

During his brief but remarkable career, Oiticica seamlessly melded formal and social concerns in his art, seeking to be internationally relevant and, at the same time, specifically Brazilian. The exhibition begins with elegant, geometric works on paper (1955–58): formal investigations in painting and drawing. These dynamic compositions gave way to more radical works as Oiticica became increasingly interested in surpassing the limits of traditional painting. By 1959, his painterly-sculptural Spatial Reliefs and Nuclei broke free of the wall and morphed into three-dimensional investigations of color and form. The Nuclei, composed of panels suspended from the ceiling, created areas through which the viewer could walk.

Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, Oiticica moved further toward the destabilization of the art form, making art that is intended for the viewer to manipulate, wear, and inhabit, including his Parangolés, wearable paintings inspired in part by samba schools in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, and Penetrables, colorful structures for viewers to navigate. In addition to viewing works on display, visitors will be invited to engage interactively with some of the artist’s works.

As Oiticica became further interested in bringing his art into the everyday, he began to create total environments suffused with color, texture, and tactile materials which were increasingly immersive in nature and transformed the viewer from a spectator to an active participant. The exhibition will include a number of these large-scale installations, including Tropicália and Eden. “Tropicália,” a name subsequently borrowed by the musician Caetano Veloso for his anthem against Brazil’s dictatorship, became an important and powerful movement in all the arts. Continue reading

The Whitney To Present Solo Exhibitions By Two Emerging Artists

Two New Exhibitions By Emerging Artists Will Be Presented By The Whitney This Summer.

Following close on the heels of the Biennial, The Whitney’s summer season builds on the strong energy of our emerging artists program,” remarked Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator. “Both born in 1990, Bunny Rogers and Willa Nasatir offer a pair of distinct but complementary visions. Each explores mysterious, often dark, narratives within stagey, lapidary tableaus, Rogers through sculpture and video, Nasatir in photography.

Bunny Rogers (b. 1990), Clone State Bookcase, 2014

Bunny Rogers (b. 1990), Clone State Bookcase, 2014 (detail). Maple wood, metal, limited-edition Elliott Smith plush dolls, “Ferdinand the Bull” third-place mourning ribbons, and casters, 97 × 121.5 × 24 in. (246 × 309 × 61 cm). Courtesy the artist and Société. Photograph by Uli Holz

BUNNY ROGERS

For her first solo museum exhibition, Rogers will create a new body of work to be installed in the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Gallery on the Museum’s first floor, which is free and open to the public. The exhibition goes on view on July 7.

In her work, Bunny Rogers (b. 1990, Houston, TX) draws from a personal cosmology to explore shared experiences of loss, alienation, and a search for belonging. Her layered installations, videos, and sculptures begin with wide-ranging references, from young-adult fiction and early 2000s cartoons, like Clone High, to autobiographical events and spectacles of mass violence, such as the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. Rogers’s techniques are as idiosyncratic as her subject matter. She borrows from theater costuming, design, and industrial furniture manufacturing, and often crafts her work by hand. This hybrid approach gives Rogers’s objects and spaces a distinct texture; they read simultaneously as slick and intimate, highly constructed, but also sincere.

Elisabeth Sherman, an assistant curator at the Whitney, who is co-curating the exhibition with curatorial assistant Margaret Kross, noted: “Rogers’s work reveals how certain emotions and traits that we consider to be completely opposite, like empathy and hate, sincerity and deceit, really exist in shades of grey. To paraphrase Rogers’s own words, the viewer may find that both extremes sit within themselves.

Rogers has had solo exhibitions at Greenspon Gallery, New York; Foundation de 11 Lijnen, Oudenburg, BE; Société, Berlin; and Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris. An artist book, Flowers for Orgonon, will be published in 2017. Continue reading

“Calder: Hypermobility” at The Whitney Museum of American Art

In the early 1930s, Alexander Calder invented an entirely new mode of art, the mobile— a kinetic form of sculpture in which carefully balanced components manifest their own unique systems of movement. These works operate in highly sophisticated ways, ranging from gentle rotations to uncanny gestures, and at times, trigger unpredictable percussive sounds.

Alexander Calder (1898–1976), Dancers and Sphere

Alexander Calder (1898–1976), Dancers and Sphere (maquette for 1939 New York World’s Fair) set in motion in Calder’s “small shop” New York City storefront studio, 1938. © 2017 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photograph by Herbert Matter, courtesy Calder Foundation, New York

Calder: Hypermobility (June 9 – October 6, 2017) focuses on the extraordinary breadth of movement and sound in the work, which encompasses major examples of Calder’s work including early motor-driven abstractions, sound-generating Gongs, and standing and hanging mobiles. This exhibition brings together a rich constellation of key sculptures and provides a rare opportunity to experience the works as the artist intended—in motion. Regular activations will occur in the galleries, revealing the inherent kinetic nature of Calder’s work, as well as its relationship to performance and the theatrical stage. Influenced in part by the artist’s fascination and engagement with choreography, Calder’s sculptures contain an embedded performativity that is reflected in their idiosyncratic motions and the perceptual responses they provoke.

In collaboration with the Calder Foundation, the exhibition will feature an expansive series of performances and events, including a number of episodic, one-time demonstrations of rarely seen works, as well as new commissions, which will bring contemporary artists into dialogue with Calder’s innovations and illuminate the many ways in which his art continues to challenge and inform new generations.

The exhibition is organized by Jay Sanders, Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance, with Greta Hartenstein, senior curatorial assistant, and Melinda Lang, curatorial assistant.

Major support for Calder: Hypermobility is provided by the Dalio Foundation, the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, and the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation. Generous Support is provided by Irma and Norman Braman, the Fisher Family, Norman and Melissa Selby, and Michelle Smith. Additional support is provided by the Mitzi & Warren Eisenberg Family Foundation.

Art News: Whitney Announces 2017 Biennial Film Program

A Broad Range Of Moving Image Artists To Be Shown In The 2017 Biennial’s Film Program

A series of film screenings and conversations will be presented as part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial, opening at the Whitney Museum of American Art on March 17. The series takes place over ten consecutive weekends, from March 17 through May 21, 2017, in the Susan and John Hess Family Theater on the Museum’s third floor. Each Sunday, the 3 pm screening will be followed by a conversation with the filmmakers, joined by writers, curators, and scholars.

leslie-thornton-b-1951-and-james-richards-b-1983-still-from-crossing-2016

Leslie Thornton (b. 1951) and James Richards (b. 1983), still from Crossing, 2016. High-definition video, color, sound; 19:10 min. Courtesy the artists

Film program co-curator and Biennial advisor Aily Nash notes: “At once radical and quiet, global and intimate, the works presented in the 2017 Whitney Biennial film program continue to reflect on the urgent themes seen in the exhibition. These artists are some of the most exciting voices working in moving image today. They engage the medium with formal rigor and innovation while exploring the subjective and affective experiences of the contemporary political and social moment. The broad range of artists spans generations and approaches to the moving image including documentary practice, experimental film, narrative cinema, and video installation.”

Featured artists are Basma Alsharif, Eric Baudelaire, Robert Beavers, Mary Helena Clark, Kevin Jerome Everson, Sky Hopinka, Dani Leventhal, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Cauleen Smith, Leslie Thornton and James Richards, Leilah Weinraub, and James N. Kienitz Wilkins. See a complete schedule at whitney.org.

The formation of self and the individual’s place in a turbulent society are among the key themes reflected in the work of the artists selected for the 2017 Whitney Biennial. The exhibition includes sixty-three participants, ranging from emerging to well-established individuals and collectives working in painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, film and video, photography, activism, performance, music, and video game design.16_biennial_gif_web_2340px_fullstart_2340

With a history of exhibiting the most promising and influential artists and provoking debate, the Whitney Biennial—the Museum’s signature exhibition—is the longest running survey of contemporary art in the United States. The Biennial, an invitational show of work produced in the preceding two years, was introduced by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932, and it is the longest continuous series of exhibitions in the country to survey recent developments in American art.

The 2017 Whitney Biennial will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue, designed by Olga Casellas Badillo of San Juan–based Tiguere Corp., which includes essays by the curators as well as Biennial advisors Negar Azimi and Gean Moreno, a conversation between the curators and Scott Rothkopf, and a roundtable with filmmakers moderated by Aily Nash. The book will also feature individual entries on each of the sixty-three participants in the exhibition along with reproductions of their work. It will be published by the Whitney Museum of American Art and distributed by Yale University Press.The Whitney Logo

The 2017 Whitney Biennial is co-curated by Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks Continue reading

The Whitney To Present Mid-Career Survey Of The Work Of Laura Owens

In November 2017, the Whitney Museum of American Art will open the most comprehensive survey to-date of the work of Los Angeles–based painter Laura Owens (b. 1970), one of the foremost artists of her generation. Organized by Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney’s Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, in close collaboration with the artist, this exhibition will be the first mid-career survey in the Whitney’s new downtown home. It will run from mid-November 2017 through early February 2018. Major support is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation.

laura-owens-untitled-2014

Laura Owens, Untitled, 2014. Ink, silkscreen ink, vinyl paint, acrylic, oil, pastel, paper, wood, solvent transfers, stickers, handmade paper, thread, board, and glue on linen and polyester, five parts: 138 1/8 × 106 ½ x 2 5/8 in. (350.8 × 270.5 × 6.7 cm) overall. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from Jonathan Sobel 2014.281a-e. © Laura Owens

For more than twenty years, Laura Owens has pioneered an innovative—and at times controversial—approach to painting that challenges traditional assumptions about the nature of figuration and abstraction, the relationships among avant-garde art, craft, and pop culture, and the interplay between painting and contemporary technologies. Owens emerged on the Los Angeles art scene shortly after completing her studies at the California Institute of the Arts in 1994, at a time when painting was viewed with suspicion by the academic establishment and many of her peers favored more conceptual approaches to art-making. Owens bucked this prevailing trend with a series of large-scale canvases marked by their grand ambition on the one hand, and their incorporation of humbler, low-key marks and subjects on the other, merging abstraction with goofy personal allusions, as well as materials that seemed more the province of craft stores than the fine arts. References to cartooning, doodling, and a high-pitch, sometimes pastel palette served as further irritants to ingrained painterly pieties.

Over the ensuing decade Owens established herself as a key voice pushing painting towards a new conception of site-specificity grounded in the social, poetic, and architectural conditions of a particular place. Early on, she demonstrated a keen interest in how paintings function in a given room and used trompe-l’oeil techniques to extend the plane of a wall or floor directly into the illusionistic space of her pictures. These canvases often featured paintings within paintings and sometimes paintings within those, creating an effect of Russian nesting dolls that confused the boundaries of actual and pictorial space, as well as reality and representation. Owens’s approach offered a highly original conception of how a portable painting might allude to its initial setting (and its siblings in a series) while nevertheless remaining distinct from it, unlike the in situ wall paintings of previous generations. These works demonstrate a self-conscious and reflexive relationship to the physical world they occupy, while opening, almost paradoxically, onto a lush space of reverie, conjecture, and play.

Owens’s interest in American folk art, historical tapestries, and other vernacular forms led her to fill her canvases with imagery and materials, such as felt appliqué and needlework, that were anathema to more serious discourses on painting and to some of her critical commentators. Yet this non-hierarchical and omnivorous approach to source material and technique allowed her to push painting forward and to engage broader social issues in surprising ways. In the aftermath of the United States’s call to war following the events of 9/11, Owens turned to almost childlike depictions of nineteenth-century American soldiers and medieval images of knights to address our increasingly bellicose national conversation. Her longstanding preoccupation with supposedly “feminine” colors and motifs from charming animals to infantile gestures, as well as her allusions to romantic love and motherhood (including the incorporation within her work of her own children’s drawings and stories) has led to a disruptive rethinking of feminism in art.

Over the past five years, Owens has charted a dramatic transformation in her work, marshaling all of her previous interests and talents within large-scale paintings that make virtuosic use of silkscreen, computer manipulation, digital printing, and material exploration. Wild blown-up brushstrokes push off finely printed appropriations from newspapers and other media sources; actual wheels or mechanical devices like clock hands spin across a painting’s surface; images shuttle between the physical and virtual worlds to arrive back on canvas magically transfigured by their journey. In a 2015 Berlin exhibition, Owens precisely positioned a group of five, large, freestanding paintings in a staggered row so that from a specific vantage the writing on their surfaces resolved into a unified image in the eye. The following year she created an installation at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco where paintings were embedded within walls covered in custom-printed wallpaper. Visitors were encouraged to interact with the installation by sending text messages to various numbers that triggered elliptical spoken replies broadcast by hidden speakers. Such bold experimentation with painting, sculpture, reference, and process have made Owens an important exemplar for younger generations of artists, many of whom cite her work as a key touchstone. Furthermore, she is a co-founder and programmer of 356 S. Mission Rd., a collaborative art gallery, bookstore, and event space that hosts regular exhibitions, readings, and screenings and has become a crucial gathering place and beacon for the Los Angeles art community and beyond. Continue reading