“Betye Saar: Call and Response”
Comprising twenty statues, reliefs, and medals, this exhibition presents all the surviving works of an artist who claimed to be a student of Donatello and a teacher of Michelangelo. Much favored by fabled patron Lorenzo de’ Medici, Bertoldo curated the statesman’s antiquities collection and headed the informal art school that met in his garden. Bertoldo’s own figurative works in wood, terra-cotta, and bronze are classic examples of fifteenth-century Florentine style, both religious and secular.
Nayland Blake has helped expand the purview of art institutions by introducing the codes and participants of subcultural communities ranging from punks to furries. The artist’s first museum survey pays special attention to work made in San Francisco in the late 1980s and ’90s, a formative period when Blake’s engagement with the politics of queer and feminist liberation intensified through AIDS activism and reaction to the culture wars. Comprising some one hundred pieces, the show traces the evolution of his use of unorthodox materials such as food, leather constraints, and medical equipment from that time to the present.
Romantic poet, painter, and printmaker William Blake (1757–1827) was little known in his own day, but has since proved culturally prescient. His art can be seen, for instance, as a precursor to movements like Symbolism and Surrealism, as well as a direct influence on subsequent pop cultural forms, including graphic novels and psychedelia. This show assembles some three hundred of the British visionary’s paintings, prints, and illuminated books, arguing that his concerns, such as fighting social, political, and sexual oppression, continue to resonate. Blake’s only exhibition during his lifetime—a failed affair he staged above his brother’s hosiery shop in 1809—is re-created in an immersive installation.
In Malaysia-born, London-based artist Mandy El-Sayegh’s many-layered paintings, room-size installations, and table vitrine sculptures, fragments of visual and textual information—including objects from the artist’s personal collection, skin-like rectangles of painted latex, samples of her father’s calligraphy exercises, and printed advertisements—are arranged to convey new meanings. Along with repeated references to the body, her pieces often feature pages from newspapers like London’s Financial Times and Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post—a reminder of the political, social, and economic structures to which bodies are subject and that these works challenge and disrupt. This exhibition presents new works commissioned in conjunction with Chisenhale Gallery in London.
DIRECTOR SPOTLIGHT: Mary Ceruti (Walker Art Center, Minneapolis) on Education
DIRECTOR SPOTLIGHT: Jennifer Doyle, Luke Fischbeck, Shoghig Halajian, and Eric Kim (Human Resources Los Angeles) on Inclusivity
DIRECTOR SPOTLIGHT: Polly Staple (Chisenhale Gallery, London) on Value
DIRECTOR SPOTLIGHT: Mélanie Bouteloup (Bétonsalon, Paris) on Hybrid Spaces
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