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For several years Boston-based artist Steve Locke has been making images of male heads with their tongues sticking out—a curious expression that suggests disgust or dislike as much as it does teasing or flirting. Lushly painted in a wide-ranging palette, they are alternately disturbing, comical, vulnerable, and sensual. Locke’s works challenge the historical tendency in portraiture to depict men as authoritative and powerful by suggesting a more ambivalent array of ideas and emotions regarding masculinity. His first solo museum exhibition, there is no one left to blame features twelve all-new works—including a “constellation” of paintings, paintings affixed to sculptural supports, and a neon work bearing the show’s title.

The male faces in Locke’s portraits float disembodied within the canvas, evoking a range of references—from the myth of Medusa to historical traumas such as the French Revolution or the lynching of African-Americans to current anxieties about terrorism, war, and torture. In addition to this layered and nuanced field of associations, Locke is also experimenting with a variety of display strategies for paintings. Whether embedding them in the wall of the museum, or propping them onto sculptural supports, Locke’s treatment of oil paintings—traditionally simply hung on the wall—is commensurate with his complication of our conventional images of men. In both instances, Locke’s work pushes boundaries and suggests subtle hopes for new ideas and expanded freedoms.

Steve Locke is an Associate Professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. His work has been exhibited in several solo and group shows, and he has served as Artist-in-Residence at Savannah College of Art and Design and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Locke has received numerous awards including the LEF Foundation Contemporary Work Fund Grant and the Art Matters Foundation Award. He lives and works in Boston.

 

“Meleko Mokgosi’s work flames with purpose and pointed history.”
Los Angeles Times 

African history meets Western forms of expression in the work of Meleko Mokgosi. Working from photos and clippings from his native Botswana, the New York–based artist creates scenes that investigate Southern Africa’s past and present.

While Mokgosi references history painting, film, and philosophy to create his powerful works, the results are distinctively his. Keenly realistic depictions of people, domestic dogs, and animals native to Africa fade into more abstract settings, or even open white space. Monumental and hung in immediate, filmstrip-like succession, these images challenge common understandings of history, country, and representation.

In Democratic Intuition, Mokgosi will present a new body of work created especially for the exhibition. Divided into five sections, the works offer five different perspectives on democracy.

The series title refers to a lecture by philosopher and activist Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, who suggests that to recognize the ability of other individuals and their children to think abstractly and take part in civic life is inherently democratic. Mokgosi is interested in the pursuit of recognition as both a primary goal of suppressed peoples and the essence of artistic expression.

Mokgosi currently lives in New York. His work has been exhibited at institutions such as the Botswana National Gallery, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He was featured in the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center’s first Made in L.A. biennial in 2012, where he received the prestigious Mohn Award. This is his first solo museum exhibition.

You’re invited to an eclectic, exuberant, gender-bending, and totally wild art experience.

#RRHparty

Ramin Haerizadeh (b. Tehran, 1975), Rokni Haerizadeh (b. Tehran, 1978), and Hesam Rahmanian (b. Knoxville, 1980) live and work communally in a shared house in Dubai. The three Iranian artists—two brothers and their childhood friend—combine their individual work, and that of other artists, in sculpture, painting, drawing, and video, to generate probing and beautiful environments. The ICA invites the trio to create an on-site installation in the gallery, joining the intimacy of the artists’ collective lifestyle with their critical engagement of a globalized contemporary culture.

They brought the spirit of their underground curation with them: challenge authority, work with friends, blur boundaries, and see what springs up.

The Boston Globe

 

Explore a world of shifting borders and precarious boundaries in the work of Mona Hatoum, a major figure in art today.

Over the past three decades, Lebanese-born Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum (b. 1952, Beirut) has explored the fine line between the familiar and the uncanny in her visceral body of work. Through the juxtaposition of contradictory materials, changes of scale, or the introduction of uncharacteristic elements, she infuses commonplace and even banal objects with an element of danger, references to violence, or the capability to inflict bodily harm. In doing so, Hatoum engages the tactile imagination, her sculptures, photographs, and videos incite viewers to imagine their own bodies in relation to these unruly objects. The myriad and often-conflicting allusions speak both to the history of conflict in the artist’s homeland and to the comfort and safety provided by the domestic realm. Mona Hatoum is drawn entirely from the ICA’s Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women.

Keogh’s work “affirms the power of imagery in a way that few painters do today.” —Observer 

This exhibition is the first solo museum presentation of the paintings of New York–based artist Caitlin Keogh (b. 1982, Anchorage, Alaska). Keogh’s work explores questions of gender and representation, articulations of personal style, and the construction of artistic identity. Her vivid, seductive paintings combine the graphic lines of hand-drawn commercial illustration with the bold matte colors of the applied arts to reimagine fragments of female bodies, natural motifs, pattern, and ornamentation. Drawing from clothing design, illustration, and interior decoration as much as art history, Keogh’s large-scale canvases dissect elements of representations of femininity with considerable wit, pointing to the underlying conditions of the production of images of women. Natural forms recur throughout her work as a means of depicting artistic style, and for the way that these different depictions speak to specific political and cultural contexts, such as her examination of the naturalistic designs of the 19th-century British textile designer William Morris and how they relate to his utopian politics.

​The exhibition takes its title from an interpretive poem written by Charity Coleman for Keogh’s recent artist book Headless Woman with Parrot (2017). Keogh is creating a new body of work in response to Coleman’s imagistic poem for the exhibition.

A playful and poignant parable of economic crisis and contemporary culture

Hito Steyerl (b. 1966, Munich, Germany) is an artist, filmmaker, and writer whose art speaks urgently to our digitally mediated era. In her work, she has addressed the wide-ranging effects of today’s mass proliferation and dissemination of images, issues of surveillance and militarization, and the evolving functions of technology in our networked culture. Liquidity Inc. (2014) is a new acquisition to the ICA’s collection and is on view at the museum for the first time. As suggested by the title, this video sculpture uses water as its guiding theme, and has particular resonance at the ICA’s waterfront location. Liquidity Inc. takes as a point of departure the story of Jacob Wood, a former financial analyst who lost his job during the 2008 economic recession and decided to turn his hobby in mixed martial arts into a career. Steyerl follows actor and martial artist Bruce Lee’s dictum to “be shapeless, formless, like water,” turning “liquidity” into a trope fluid enough to speak about everything from the weather to water as material resource, to the circulation of information and assets. Projected onto a double-sided screen in front of a wave-like ramp structure, Liquidity Inc. is a captivating parable of economic crisis and contemporary culture that is by turns playful and poignant.

Hito Steyerl: Liquidity Inc. is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Art in the Age of the Internet, 1989 to Today, on view February 7 – May 28, 2018.

Organized by Eva Respini, Barbara Lee Chief Curator, with Jeffrey De Blois, Assistant Curator.

Los Angeles–based artist Rodney McMillian creates sculptures, videos, and paintings, often based on found objects or elaborately constructed forms. Formally striking and emotionally charged, their poetic force is often sharpened by an engagement with personal and political themes.

For Momentum 14, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States, McMillian presents new work including a large-scale painting on canvas that spans the length of a gallery wall, two videos, and sculptures made using furniture from his home.

McMillian brings an immediacy and rawness to his work that reaches out, often literally, to the viewer, with appendages sprouting from large canvases and wall pieces. Found objects, such as a stained armchair, a kitchen table and chairs, and a refrigerator with a hole punched through the freezer door, speak eloquently to a sense of both abjection and loss. They are relics of former occupants, imbued with their physicality.

In these powerful works, themes of race, class, and identity are subtly woven into a formal language that mines personal and cultural history as it looks squarely at our present condition.

Vivian Suter (b. 1949, Buenos Aires, Argentina) works in close partnership with the natural environment surrounding her home and studio in Panajachel, Guatemala. Her method often involves moving her canvases between the indoors and outdoors and exposing them to the climate in order to allow nature to commingle with her broadly painted swaths of vivid color. Inspired by the surrounding vegetation and landscape, Suter’s gestural compositions work in concert with rainfall and mud puddles, with the light that passes between branches and the animals in the forest. A place of tremendous beauty and plant and animal life as well as the rich, indigenous Mayan culture, Panajachel and the area around Lake Atitlán has also witnessed countless disruptions throughout history, from active volcanoes and numerous floods to Spanish colonization and a thirty-six-year civil war that ended in 1996. This installation of layered and suspended canvases invites visitors to discover her unique dialogue with imagined and natural worlds.
 

Raúl de Nieves (b. 1983, Michoacán, Mexico) is a New York–based interdisciplinary artist, performer, and musician whose multifaceted practice ranges from stained-glass-style narrative paintings to animated performances, to densely adorned figurative sculptures encrusted with bangles, beads, bells, sequins, and other homespun materials. These opulent, joyful sculptures reference traditional costumes in Mexican culture and modes of dress from drag, ballroom, and queer club cultures, while also evoking religious processional attire and the outfits worn by circus performers. All of his works share a distinctive visual language that draws from Mexican craft traditions, religious iconography, mythology, and folktales to explore the transformational possibilities of adornment and the mutability of sexuality and identity. For the ICA, de Nieves is creating a body of interconnected works rooted in memory and exploring themes of personal transformation. The Treasure House of Memory expands the artist’s inventive adaptation of iconographic traditions inherited from the past through vibrant amalgamations of form and material rendered in an energetic and accessible visual language. 

 

The interdisciplinary practice of Los Angeles–based artist Carolina Caycedo (b. 1978, London) is grounded in vital questions related to asymmetrical power relations, dispossession, extraction of resources, and environmental justice.

Since 2012, Caycedo has conducted an ongoing project, Be Dammed, examining the wide-reaching impacts of dams built along waterways by transnational corporations, including the displacement and dispossession of peoples, particularly in Latin American countries such as Brazil or Colombia (where she was raised and frequently returns).

At the ICA, Caycedo will present the culmination of one component of the project, a series of hanging sculptures called Cosmotarrayas that are assembled with handmade fishing nets and other objects collected during field research in river communities affected by the privatization of waterways. These objects, many of which were entrusted to her by individuals no longer able to use them, demonstrate the meaningful connectivity and exchange at the heart of Caycedo’s practice. At the same time, they also represent the dispossession of these individuals and their continued resistance to corporations and governments seeking to control the flow of water and thus their way of life.

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Exhibition essay: The River as a Common Good: Carolina Caycedo’s Cosmotarrayas

 

 

Educational materials

Intro wall text

Intro text PDF

The interdisciplinary art of Los Angeles-based artist Carolina Caycedo (b. 1978, London) is grounded in vital questions related to asymmetrical power relations, dispossession, extraction of resources, and environmental justice. Since 2012, Caycedo’s ongoing, multivalent project Be Dammed has examined the wide-reaching impacts of dams built along waterways, particularly those in Latin American countries such as Brazil or Colombia (where Caycedo was raised and frequently returns). Be Dammed takes several different forms—from the workshops and collective actions that she refers to as “geochoreographies,” to installations of sculpture, video, or handmade books—many of which incorporate indigenous forms of knowledge. These various projects grow out of what Caycedo refers to as “spiritual fieldwork” and her intimate relationships with individuals and groups in different riverine communities adversely affected by the privatization of waterways.

This exhibition comprises the culmination of one component of Be Dammed, a series of hanging sculptures titled Cosmotarrayas (2016–20) that are assembled with handmade cast fishing nets and other objects collected during the artist’s field research. Cosmotarraya combines the words “cosmos” and “atarraya” (Spanish for net) to form a compound that conveys the centrality of the net in the life of those who fish. Each Cosmotarraya is linked to specific people, rivers, traditions, and cultures, from the Kayapo people of Pará in northern Brazil to the Yoruba river spirit Ósun. Likewise, each net is connected to an individual body, woven by hand with a needle made to the thickness of an individual fisherperson’s fingers. Flying Massachusett (2020), which Caycedo realized for this exhibition, is meant as a land acknowledgement to the indigenous groups who traditionally inhabited Greater Boston. The material qualities of the fishing net—they are porous, malleable, handmade, and embody ancestral knowledge—offer a potent counterpoint to the brute-force infrastructure of dams, which disrupt the natural flow of rivers, dispossess people of their homes, and threaten their way of life. Indeed, many of the fishing nets are entrusted to Caycedo by individuals no longer able to use them. For Caycedo, the Cosmotarrayas are talismanic objects that cast visual spells: they embody the continued resistance to corporations and governments seeking to control the flow of water, create visual narratives that counter the supposed neutrality of dams, and raise consciousness about land, history, and culture.

Object labels

Object labels PDF 

CAYCEDO_Cosmotarrafa Ver-o-peso_Object Image

Cosmotarrafa Ver-o-peso, 2016
Hand-dyed fishing nets with iron rings, embroidered cotton fabric, dyed cotton rope, and stic

Collection of Tracy O’Brien and Thaddeus Stauber, Los Angeles

CAYCEDO_Flying Massachusett_Object Image

Flying Massachusett, 2020
Hand-dyed artisanal fishing net, artisanal fishing trap with floaters, hand-dyed artisanal hammock, traditional textile from the Zamboanga Peninsula in the Philippines, hand-carved wooden gold pan, hand-carved wooden boat, white shell, wooden needle, pebbles and stones collected from Boston Harbor, Blue Hills Reservation, and Neponset River, tin jingle cones, cotton thread, and paracord

Courtesy the artist and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles

Produced on the occasion of this exhibition, Flying Massachusett is a sculpture that is imagined as the physical expression of a land acknowledgement: a statement that recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples as traditional stewards of this land and the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories. According to Caycedo, “It is an acknowledgment to Massachusett, the sacred Great Blue Hill that overlooks the Boston Harbor and that hosts my work; and to the people who traditionally inhabited the Greater Boston area, and today continue to live and relate to the lands and waters as the Massachusett Tribe at Ponkapoag, and the Natick Massachusett-Nipmuc.”

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Ósun, 2018
Hand-dyed artisanal fishing net, steel chain, steel pot lid, mirror, enamel, spray paint, hoop earrings, paracord, string, and brass handles

Collection of Vibiana Molina, Los Angeles

CAYCEDO_To Drive Away Whiteness_Object Image

To Drive Away Whiteness/Para a/ejar la blancura, 2017 
Hand-dyed fishing net, lead weights, hand-dyed jute cord, plastic and glass bottles, liquor, banknotes, seeds, chili peppers, achiote, sand, dried kelp seeds, water (Atlantic Ocean, Charles River, and Quabbin Reservoir), hibiscus, black beans, human hair, ginseng, and paper

Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, purchased through the Board of Overseers Acquisition Fund

A conical hanging sculpture made from a fishing net that is white except for a dark bottom, the widest part.

Undammed/Desbloqueada, 2017
Hand-dyed fishing net, lead weights, metal gold pan, Navajo sandstone, copper IUD, thread, and rope

Collection of Ann Soh Woods, Los Angeles

 

 

 

 

 

 

A hanging sculpture made of fishing nets suspended to create an inverse conical shape.

Limen, 2019
Three hand-dyed artisanal fishing nets, lead weights, metal rings, paracord, carved wooden gold pan (batea), and red, yellow, and orange flowers

Collection of Maria and Harry Hopper, Malibu, CA

 

 

 

 

 

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Cosmotarrafa Hamaca, 2016
Artisanal hammock made by the Kayapo people from Para in northern Brazil, dry palm branch wrapped with reed cord, wooden paddle, Bonfim ribbons, and Brazil nuts

Courtesy the artist and Institute deVision, Bogota, Colombia

 

CAYCEDO_Nuestro Tiempo_MG_5002-Installation_view_by_Mel-Taing.jpg

 

 

Nuestro Tiempo/Our Time, 2018
Hand-dyed artisanal fishing net, metal chain, palm mat, wool charm, tambourine, and white flowers

Collection of Tim and Maria Blum, Los Angeles

 

A hanging sculpture made of two fishing nets stretched around two metal rings with colorful, embroidered illustrations

Currents, Fire and Blood, 2018
Hand-dyed and tar-dipped fishing nets, lead weights, shackles, swivel, thread, paracord, and plastic rope

Promised gift of Steve Corkin and Dan Maddalena

 

Credits

Organized by Jeffrey De Blois, Assistant Curator and Publications Manager.

Carolina Caycedo: Cosmotarrayas is presented by Max Mara.

 

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