THE INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART/BOSTON
TWO NEW EXHIBITIONS OPEN JULY 29 AT ICA/BOSTON
MOMENTUM 14: RODNEY MCMILLIAN FEATURES NEW COMMISSION BY THE ARTIST
IN HIS FIRST SOLO MUSEUM EXHIBITION
NEW ACQUISITIONS ON VIEW IN ICA COLLECTION: IN THE MAKING
Momentum 14: Rodney McMillian
July 29 – Nov. 1, 2009
Boston, MA – The 14th exhibition in the Institute of Contemporary Art's Momentum series features American artist Rodney McMillian in his first U.S. solo museum presentation. Momentum examines new developments in contemporary art, inviting emerging artists from the U.S. and around the world to show their work at the ICA. For his ICA exhibition, Rodney McMillian presents Sentimental Disappointment, a new installation featuring video, found-object sculpture and an over 30-foot long painting that stretches across the gallery. Momentum 14: Rodney McMillian is on view at the ICA from July 29 – Nov. 1, 2009.
In a moment of economic instability and housing foreclosures, McMillian’s new work, Sentimental Disappointment, offers a timely look at the social, political and personal meanings that construct the place we call “home”. Using many elements from his own house, the artist draws a connection between lived experience and larger movements in our society. Untitled (4443 Prospect Ave.)—McMillian’s largest painting to date—dominates the gallery with a life-sized outline of the artist’s house. In front of the painting, the artist has placed items from his home including a refrigerator, kitchen table and chairs—items whose worn surfaces hint at the people who once used them. In this familiar kitchen environment, McMillian introduces signs of emotional trauma and physical confrontation. A hole has been punched through the freezer door. The stained seat of an armchair is penetrated by a column covered in layers of black paint. On McMillian’s kitchen table, a monitor displays Untitled (futon), a video work depicting the artist laboriously destroying a futon mattress with nothing but a kitchen knife.
Outside the main gallery space, McMillian presents another video work, Untitled (I loves you Porgy). In the video, the artist moves in time to Diana Ross’s version of I Loves You Porgy from the Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess—the first opera about African-American life and performed by an all-black cast. Set in contrast to the gentle love song, McMillian’s anxious and insistent movements draw us into an atmosphere of emotional tension. Combining powerful aesthetic language with layers of different references, McMillian’s work pushes us to see how artistic form and cultural meaning are intimately connected.
Born in Columbia, South Carolina in 1969, McMillian lives and works in Los Angeles. McMillian has had solo exhibitions at the Kitchen, New York (2008); ArtNova, ArtBasel Miami Beach (2006); and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects (2006 and 2003). His work has been featured prominently in several group exhibitions, including 30 Americans, the Rubell Collection, Miami (2009) and the Whitney Biennial, New York (2008), among others. Momentum 14, which features a newly commissioned installation, is the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the U.S.
The Momentum series is sponsored by the Cartin Family, Rebecca and Martin Eisenberg, and Marlene and David Persky.
ICA Collection: In the Making
July 29, 2009 - July 18, 2010
In the Making is the fourth installation of the ICA Collection, which debuted in 2006 with the opening of the waterfront museum. The new exhibition marks the progressive development of the collection’s scope and depth with a focus on artistic approaches to process and medium. Rooms of photography, sculpture and painting offer insights into the decisions artists make to create transformative works of art. For the first time, an entire room in the Collection galleries is devoted to three decades of work by a single artist: the powerful paintings of Marlene Dumas.
The new installation of the Collection presents diverse photographic works, including recent acquisitions: From Here to Maternity (1986-2000),Nan Goldin’s assemblage of 24 candid photographs that capture the archetypal mother and child relationship, and Roe Ethridge’s posed portrait of a model perfect woman, Holly at Marlow and Sons (2004). These images point to classically composed subjects, but feel vaguely familiar, like a snapshot in a family album or an ad in a magazine. Including major works by Philip-Lorca diCorcia and Cindy Sherman, the exhibition reveals a wide range of photographic practices—from raw and candid to highly conceptual and constructed.
Artists in the Collection also apply singular attention to materials to create surprising sculptural forms. On view for the first time in the ICA Collection galleries, Tara Donovan’s Nebulous (2008) is a floor installation that suggests a low rolling mist but is actually an airy weave of Scotch tape. This accumulation of an everyday material assumes a delicate, fragile beauty distinct from Cornelia Parker’s dynamic suspended installation of charred wood, Hanging Fire (Suspected Arson) (1999) or the glistening stack of collapsing sugar cubes in Kader Attia’s video Oil and Sugar #2 (2007). While each artist draws on ordinary materials to create their work, their intentions range between formal, narrative, and political considerations.
This exhibition includes a gallery devoted to the emotionally-charged paintings of Marlene Dumas, whose arresting images are often inspired by newspaper and magazine clippings she collects, as well as personal snapshots. The Messengers (1992) is a powerful meditation on the cycles of life, relating to the artist’s experiences and fears as a parent. Jule-die Vrou (1985) is a striking larger than life-sized portrait, whose face is partially obscured by vibrant red paint. Her works on paper, including German Witch as well as Miss World Competition, further examine Dumas’ focus on single and serial figures awash in color.