Bridging almost a century of Brazilian art, Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia at Blum & Poe in New York (30 April–22 June 2019), hosted in collaboration with Mendes Wood DM, offers a rereading of Brazilian Modernism through the works of artists practising at different times, from the 20th century through to the...
In 1969, Horikawa Michio, schoolteacher and member of the artist collective GUN (Group Ultra Niigata), filled out the customs paperwork to mail a one-kilogram river stone from Niigata, the proverbial 'backside of Japan', to President Nixon. In return, Horikawa received a thank you note for this 'most unusual Christmas gift'—a muted anti-war...
'He was not a "political" kind of person. He just wanted to be honest and straight. But it was not easy in Korea to live like that,' writes curator Kim Inhye on artist Yun Hyong-keun. For much of his life, Yun lived in proximity to some of the most tumultuous moments in modern Korean history, from which he emerged as a pioneer of abstract...
Exhibition view: Tim Rollins & K.O.S. and Glenn Ligon, Dialogues, at the Bronx Museum of the Arts (May 16–July 18 2018). Photo: Ken Tan. Image via Hyperallergic.
There is something utterly majestic about block letters — even more so at a staggering height of 12 feet. Such is the case of the letters 'IM' in the painting "Invisible Man (after Ralph Ellison)" (2008) by Tim Rollins & K.O.S.
Glenn Ligon is an artist based in New York City who employs painting, sculpture, neon, photography, installation and digital media in his work. He is also a writer and exhibition curator. His work focuses not only on his own experiences of being a gay, African-American man, but on the broader perceptions and representations of blackness and homosexuality in contemporary and historical American society and culture. Ligon is credited as one of the originators of the term 'Post-Black', which emerged in discussion with Thelma Golden and came to public attention in Freestyle, an exhibition Golden curated at The Studio Museum in Harlem in 2001, and which at its core is the philosophy of artists who, though they are engaged with issues of blackness, work to avoid being seen as simply black artists.
As an artist fascinated by networks of cultural meanings, Ligon often uses text in his work. Among his best-known works are the text-based paintings that he began making in the late 1980s, in which he stencils fragments of racially charged text in oil stick on canvas or paper. These have quoted sources as different as the comedian Richard Pryor and Ralph Ellison, author of Invisible Man. Ligon's neon works are also text-based and include Warm Broad Glow (2005), which features Gertrude Stein's phrase 'negro sunshine', and A Small Band (2015), which quotes the words, 'blues', 'blood' and 'bruise' from composer Steve Reich's 1966 piece, Come Out.
Ligon's tendency to quote other artists' work has led him into the domain of exhibition curation, first with Encounters and Collisions at Nottingham Contemporary in Nottingham, England in 2015, and also in Blue Black at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St Louis in 2017.
Ligon's public profile was boosted by a successful 2011 retrospective AMERICA, which was staged at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and then toured to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. His work is in the permanent collections of major museums across the United States.
Tim Rollins (b. 1955, Pittsfield, ME; d. 2017, New York, NY) began his career teaching art for special education middle school students in a South Bronx public school. In 1984, he launched the Art and Knowledge Workshop, an after school program for his most dedicated students, who named themselves Kids of Survival (K.O.S.). While many of the original K.O.S. members are actively involved in the collaboration today, Rollins intended for flexibility within the group to allow for new generations of members. Rollins’ pedagogical technique of reading and discussing literary texts as the inspiration for his students’ artwork continues to be the basis on which the group makes their collaborative work. Rollins and K.O.S. often paint and draw directly on the pages of books or sheet music that they adhere in a grid to the surface of the canvas. They have used numerous works as source materials, including literary classics by William Shakespeare, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mark Twain, and musical compositions by Felix Mendelssohn and Richard Strauss. For their 2013 show with Lehmann Maupin, the group exhibited Darkwater, using the pages of a 1920 first-edition copy of W.E.B. Dubois’ eponymous autobiographical collection of essays and short stories that confronted issues of race, class, and gender. Rollins and K.O.S. dipped 24 pages from the book in a solution of black watercolour paint, rendering the bottom half of every page illegible. The Darkwater series was made in collaboration with junior high school students in Savannah, Georgia, during a week-long workshop. Just as he had done with the original Kids of Survival, Rollins encouraged the students to engage with some of the very complex issues discussed in Dubois’ book through the process of art making, demonstrating the collective’s continued dedication to collaboration, social engagement, and education.
Rollins studied fine art at the University of Maine and earned a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Solo exhibitions of the group’s work have been organised at the Portland Museum of Art, ME (2016); SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2014); Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel (2012); Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo, Italy (2011); the Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA (2010); Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA (2010); Museum of Contemporary Art, Atlanta, GA (2006); The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, VA (2005); the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2002); and the Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA (2001). Select group exhibitions featuring the work of Rollins and K.O.S. include Black and Blue, Pulitzer Foundation, St. Louis, MO (2017); Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2017); Nightfall, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Geneva, Switzerland (2016–2017); Beyond the Veil: Works from the Permanent Collection, Bronx Museum, New York (2016); An Inclusive World, Queens Museum, New York (2015); Drawing Biennial 2015, Drawing Room, London (2015); Body Language, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (2013); This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL (2012); Wide Open School, Hayward Gallery, London (2012); and the Whitney Biennial, New York (2006). The group’s work is in numerous international public and private collections, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Tate Modern, London; Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC; Art Institute of Chicago; Aspen Art Museum, CO; Berkeley Art Museum, University of California Berkeley; The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; Dia Art Foundation, New York; The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; and Dallas Museum of Art, TX.
In 1997, the documentary, Kids of Survival: The Art and Life of Tim Rollins and K.O.S. was widely received at the London Film Festival; Cinéma du Réel, France; and the Hamptons International Film Festival, New York.
Glenn Ligon is one of the most celebrated American artists of his generation. He is credited alongside Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, with coining the term 'post-blackness', and is probably best known for his text-based paintings, though he has also worked in neon, video, and photography, and is also a...
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