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2727 South La Cienega Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90034
310 836 2062

Also at:
19 East 66th Street
New York, NY 10065
212 249 2249
Artists Represented:
Alma Allen
Theodora Allen
Karel Appel
March Avery
Darren Bader
Alvaro Barrington
Lynda Benglis
JB Blunk
Mohammed Bourrouissa
Pia Camil
Robert Colescott
Carroll Dunham
Sam Durant
Kōji Enokura
Anya Gallaccio
Aaron Garber-Maikovska
Tomoo Gokita
Françoise Grossen
Mark Grotjahn
Ha Chong-hyun
Julian Hoeber
Yukie Ishikawa
Matt Johnson
Susumu Koshimizu
Friedrich Kunath
Shio Kusaka
Kwon Young-woo
Mimi Lauter
Lee Ufan
Tony Lewis
Linder
Florian Maier-Aichen
Victor Man
Eddie Martinez
Paul Mogensen
Dave Muller
Kazumi Nakamura
Yoshitomo Nara
Asuka Anastacia Ogawa
Solange Pessoa
Harvey Quaytman
Matt Saunders
Julian Schnabel
Hugh Scott-Douglas
Nobuo Sekine
Jim Shaw
Penny Slinger
Kishio Suga
Henry Taylor
Alexander Tovborg
Yukinori Yanagi
Yun Hyong-keun
Zhu Jinshi

 

 
Gallery exterior. Courtesy of Joshua White and Blum & Poe Gallery, 2010.


 
Online Programming

Nobuo Sekine

Broadcasts: Tribute to Nobuo Sekine (1942-2019)



Blum & Poe Broadcasts presents a tribute to the late Nobuo Sekine, one of the central figures of the Mono-ha movement in Japan. This month marks a year since his passing.

Broadcasts: Three Day Weekend Presents "The Gallery is Closed"



Engaging directly with this shared global experience of pandemic-motivated social distancing, Blum & Poe Broadcasts, Dave Muller, and Three Day Weekend present an online group exhibition titled "The Gallery is Closed." A number of artists and members of our community have contributed personal drawings and public signs that announce closure and reflect a multitude of absent voices and voices in waiting.

Solange Pessoa

Broadcasts: Solange Pessoa at Ballroom Marfa



Blum & Poe Broadcasts presents a focus on the practice of Brazilian artist Solange Pessoa, in conjunction with her first US museum exhibition currently installed at Ballroom Marfa, Texas. Like many other museums today, Ballroom Marfa is now closed indefinitely—this Broadcast is intended to share significant work that would otherwise be on view to the public.

 
Past Exhibitions

Kazunori Hamana

Kazunori Hamana in collaboration with Yukiko Kuroda



September 10, 2021 - October 23, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present an exhibition of ceramic sculptures by Chiba, Japan-based artist Kazunori Hamana alongside works made in collaboration with fellow artist Yukiko Kuroda. This exhibition follows the announcement of Hamana’s representation this summer. The surfaces of Hamana’s sculptures are variously rough, finger-textured, cracked, and fissured. His large and delicate vessels are made from natural clay sourced from Shiga Prefecture in Japan, each finished with Hamana’s own mineral glazes. Inspired by traditional Japanese "tsubo," functional clay jars dating back to prehistoric times, he creates each sculpture by hand, making use of improvisation and experimentation and cultivating new, inventive techniques in shaping, glazing, coloring, and firing. After the vessels are fired, he places them outside of his studio for the natural elements to mark and transform, determining their final form. Irregular and imperfect in shape, and sometimes imbued with geometric shapes and abstract symbols, his pots resemble ancient terra-cotta objects that were hidden in the soil for ages. Hamana collaborates with Yukiko Kuroda on vessels that undergo the process of "kintsugi" (the art of repairing broken pottery). Both based in a rural village in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture, Hamana and Kuroda pursue the principles of "kintsugi"—refusing waste and celebrating the act of recycling—in both their art practices and in the daily routines of their personal lives and philosophies. Their collaboration began with one of Hamana’s vessel that was damaged by accident—alongside traditional Japanese mending methods, Kuroda used large metal staples to hold the fractures together following the ancient Chinese technique of riveting—the idiosyncratic beauty that resulted spawned a new series of works made in partnership. Kuroda’s interventions follow the traditional practice of treating the ceramic surfaces with the combination of colored "urushi" (Japanese lacquer) and gold, silver, and pewter, but also include adjoining flaking or cast-off layers of ceramics from other vessels which are created organically during the pottery process. Additionally, she integrates unconventional found materials, often sourced from her neighborhood. Kuroda’s home was previously a local farmer’s and still hosts a variety of abandoned farming materials, many of which find their way into her "kintsugi" practice, such as traces of bamboo baskets or antique paper. She also marks Hamana’s pots with remnants of rice grain harvested from his organic rice fields, leaving strong lines and adding new visual landscapes. Each pot is treated as an individual entity with specific needs. Accepting that repair might not be the solution in some cases, Hamana and Kuroda’s collaborations embrace each unique narrative, and the natural flow of the life cycle which is transient and impermanent. Kazunori Hamana (b. 1969, Osaka, Japan) lives and works in Chiba, Japan. His work has been exhibited in public art institutions including the Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA (2021); Towada Art Center, Towada, Japan (2017); and Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan (2016). His work was showcased in a two-artist exhibition at Blum & Poe, Tokyo, Japan (2020) and a group exhibition at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA, curated by Takashi Murakami, which later traveled to Blum & Poe, New York, NY (2015). Yukiko Kuroda (b. 1968, Shizuoka, Japan) lives and works in Chiba, Japan. She is an artist who embraces cracks, chips, and fissures in ceramic works, salvaging and generating new forms from pieces that are otherwise considered broken. She began collaborating with Kazunori Hamana in 2017. Her works have been included in group shows including most recently at Amelie, Maison d’art, Paris, France in 2021.

Mark Grotjahn

Backcountry



September 10, 2021 - October 23, 2021
Mark Grotjahn: Backcountry

Kenjirō Okazaki

TOPICA PICTUS / La Cienega



July 17, 2021 - August 14, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present Tokyo-based artist Kenjirō Okazaki’s "TOPICA PICTUS / La Cienega," a suite of twenty abstract paintings, each paired with a short essay and reference image(s), which function as key components to provide multi-layered experiences to audiences. This is Okazaki’s fourth presentation with the gallery and follows the recent announcement of his representation. In an ongoing series that now comprises over 150 works since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the works on view were made in response to the unprecedented condition of isolated co-existence, the suspension of time and space, and the perceived loss of tactile or concrete experience, which has significantly impacted our social reality. For the artist, this condition has provided the “possibility of going everywhere because we cannot go anywhere,” an opportunity to go on a solitary journey. In the process of making these paintings, Okazaki finds that the multitude of issues that historically face painting is akin to the discovery of a place. Namely, each painting confronts a unique issue and allows for a unique "topos" (place) to emerge. The term "topica" in "TOPICA PICTUS" is derived from Aristotle’s "Ars Topica" (The Topics) on the art of the dialectic, and is associated with "topos," which indicates a place. In the course of his work, Okazaki recalled not only art historical objects such as African masks, decorative and colored manuscripts, Kamakura-era picture scrolls, Momoyama-era Japanese paintings, Renaissance, Impressionist, and Modernist art, but also medieval maps, images of Dumbo, Pearl Harbor, and Google Earth. We, the viewers=readers, will read the unexpected network of sensibility and thought that spreads among various literary and artistic works, transcending time, space, and cultural differences. Okazaki likens this process to the three-body problem in celestial mechanics: “when there are three or more stars with mass enough to influence each other's gravity, the motion of these stars becomes almost unpredictable. . . Multiple activities work and intertwine, and the whole thing moves.” The paintings do not function as formal correlations to the reference work but as creative cues that encode Okazaki’s distinct visual and literary narratives that continue to circumnavigate a topos. In his quadriptych—"Antaninaomby / Ataokoloinona (Water a Strange Thing) 水のヘンテコなもの; Kilimanjaro / Wakonyingo (Bring negative spirits) カラッポのたましいを運ぶ; Asase Ya / 河を産めば畑をうるおすさ; Nyame / 空はなんでもみているさ (2020)," his references span mathematical symmetry, African mythology, Bedu plank masks, Francesco di Giorgio Martini’s human proportion drawings, anthropomorphic seventeenth century maps, and David Smith sculptures. "Hina-phases of the moon, Tunaroa-the father of eels / 月日の満ち欠け" (2020) brings together a constellation of narratives. In his text, we learn how the “lake in the sea” shape of Tongareva (Penrhyn atoll of the Cook Islands) resembles the Google Earth view of the island in the center: a wholly oceanic earth outlined by a thin atmospheric layer. Okazaki recounts the legend of Hina, a Polynesian goddess associated with the moon and responsible for the creation of coconuts, which are said to have grown from the burial site of the decapitated head of her lover, Tuna, god of the eels, after a heavy rain. Okazaki links the split form of the inner white coconut flesh, "te roro o te Tuna" (Tuna’s brains), to the shape of Tongareva. There is an implicit reference to "Weeping Coconuts" (1951) by Frida Kahlo (notably in LACMA’s collection), where tears fall from the (Tuna’s) eyes of a coconut. The undulating dark, purple curve in the top left corner of Okazaki’s painting ties the narratives together—Tongareva’s shape, the moon, Kahlo—perhaps a forewarning of Earth’s water crisis in the post-Anthropocene era. In another work, the clear-cut split down the top and bottom of the wooden frame of "Open Sea, Stormy Weather / 潮水の波、真水の滝" (2020) articulates the vertical break between the horizontal purple and black strokes on the left and the foamy blue cascade on the right. While there are clear formal cues of the fierce perpendicular movement of crossing wind and rain in John Constable’s "Rainstorm over the Sea" (c. 1824–1828), or the visceral texture of the rolling waves in Claude Monet’s "At Sea, Stormy Weather" (1880), Okazaki also captures the sensation of immersion and rebirth, embodied in Kaihō Yushō’s "Dragon and Clouds" (1599), depicting a powerful dragon emerging out of a spiraling cloud. In this way, "TOPICA PICTUS" involves a multiplicity of places (a set of issues) generated from the artist’s creative thought processes. A compilation of essays accompanying each work in "TOPICA PICTUS" will be published by Iwanami Shoten this fall. Kenjirō Okazaki (b. 1955, Tokyo, Japan) lives and works in Tokyo. His work was featured in independent curator Mika Yoshitake’s 2019 two-part exhibition at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, "Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s." His work has been exhibited in institutional solo exhibitions including at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan (2020); Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, Toyota, Japan (2020 and 2019); Kaze-no-sawa Museum, Kurihara, Japan (2016); BankArt29, Yokohama, Japan (2014); Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Japan (2009); Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Karuizawa, Japan (2002); and Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Agen, Agen, France (1994). His work is represented in the permanent collections of Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, Japan; Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Japan; Museum of Modern Art, Toyama, Japan; Rachofsky Collection, Dallas TX; among many other museums. Okazaki’s publications include "Abstract Art As Impact: Analysis of Modern Art" (Aki Shobō, 2018), which was awarded the 2019 Ministry of Education Award in Fine Arts, and "Renaissance: Condition of Experience" (Chikuma Shobō, 2001/Bungeishunjū Gakugei Library, 2014). A revered professor, he founded and directed the Yotsuya Art Studium in 2004. He is a recipient of the 2014 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship at Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. He is currently a visiting professor at Musashino Art University and University of Tokyo.

Yukinori Yanagi



July 17, 2021 - August 14, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present the first major U.S. survey of work by Onomichi, Japan-based artist Yukinori Yanagi. This is Yanagi’s fourth presentation with the gallery, following his solo show at Blum & Poe Tokyo in 2019 and his participation in the group exhibitions “Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s” (Los Angeles, 2019) and “Mountains Carrying Suns” (Tokyo, 2021). Having resided in the U.S. in the late 1980s and 1990s, obtaining his MFA in sculpture from Yale University School of Art in 1990, Yanagi was first recognized on the world stage at the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993 with “World Flag Ant Farm” (1990). As a monumental process-based installation, this work featured 180 national flags—recognized by the United Nations, including colonized countries—each made out of acrylic panels of painted sand and connected by plastic tubes through which ants burrowed and effectively broke down both physical and geo-political borders. First presented at LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) in 1991, “World Flag Ant Farm 2020” will be featured in the current exhibition in an updated version, comprising approximately 200 national flags that reflect radical shifts in world politics over the last thirty years. As his former professor Vito Acconci once stated in 1990, Yanagi "attempts to join natural processes with cultural mechanisms... that then go on to have a life and duration all their own." Yanagi’s machine-perfect sculptures and installations probe the contested boundaries or limits of politically and ideologically constructed territories and national myths. In “Banzai Corner 2020” Yanagi uses the Ultraman figurine, a half-extraterrestrial and half-Japanese superhero who fights to save Japan from aliens. In this installation, Yanagi aligns the figures in perfectly alternating rows of red and silver forming a quarter of a circle, positioned toward two adjacent mirrors lining the right angle of a room. The reflections of the figures on both mirrors create the illusion of a 360-degree circle which forms the pre-war imperial flag, a red circle with radiating white lines. Both arms of each figurine are raised in a “banzai” gesture, recalling wartime kamikaze pilots, soldiers, and citizens hailing to the emperor. The irony behind this work is that the original creator of Ultraman is from Okinawa (the southernmost island of Japan), and according to Yanagi, likely critical of the use of national myth to retain ethnic homogeneity to promote Japanese nationalist identity. By using mirrors to indicate the constructed quality of national unity, Yanagi deconstructs the “illusion” of Ultraman’s contribution to national unity, revealing the incompleteness of Japanese identity. Yanagi’s work also investigates borders or the spaces at the edges of a boundary, where oppression is felt most by inhabitants and the manipulation of myth and control is exerted over citizenry and minorities. “Wandering Position - Alcatraz” comprises three large-scale drawings in the size of prison cells from Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary. Yanagi conducted fieldwork at the prison for two weeks in 1996 after learning about a second-generation Japanese-American, Tomoya Kawakita, who was charged for treason during World War II, sentenced for life at Alcatraz, but eventually pardoned by President Kennedy in 1963. The drawings are traces of red crayon made from following ants in each of these prison spaces. Another work created during this residency, “Broken Glass on Map” (1996), is a U.S. map culled from discarded glass shards from the site. “Article 9” (1994) is a floor installation of multiple beams dispersed with red Japanese neon text that break up the infamous Article 9 clause in the Japanese Constitution declaring the renunciation of war. The text exposes the fraught history of the clause, which was originally written in English and administered by the U.S. during the American Occupation, delimiting Japan’s military capacity. Later translated into Japanese and retranslated into English, this clause reveals the continued ambiguities in the meaning, intent, and agency of national law and international communication. Similarly, the language of patriotism is interrogated in “Loves me / Loves me not,” which features a chrysanthemum—the Japanese imperial seal—at the center with its brass petals, dispersed over a blood-red carpet, each accompanying the artwork’s title in multiple languages. Finally, following “Pacific” (1996) and “Akitsushima 50-I/II” (2019) previously exhibited in Los Angeles and Tokyo spaces of the gallery respectively, this presentation will feature a brand-new installation of “Nagato” (2020), a cast-iron replica scaled at 1:70 of a World War II dreadnought battleship. First commissioned by the Imperial Japanese Army in 1920, this was one of the last surviving battleships that became a detonation target and sank at Bikini Atoll in 1946. Initially taken from a plastic model kit and retaining the sand mold on the frames, this installation forces us to consider the artistry of violence through the cultural obsession with the technical craft of war machinery. The impact of Yanagi’s work is his dual stance in which as Acconci also stated, "he takes on the position of both victim and surveyor, and he urges his audience to assume a similar posture... of being both amused and at the same time possibly intimidated.” Yanagi appropriates and deconstructs myths, signs, and symbols to provoke the fraught visual and cultural languages of war, violence, national identity, and technological advancements that continue to haunt us today. Yukinori Yanagi (b. Fukuoka, Japan, 1959) lives and works in Onomichi, Japan. Yanagi’s work is represented in notable public collections worldwide, including the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Boston, MA; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara, Jakarta, Indonesia; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, Austria; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia; Tate Gallery, London, UK; and the Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, Japan; among many more.

Pia Camil

Nidos y Nudos



July 17, 2021 - August 14, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present “Nidos y Nudos / Nests & Knots,” Mexico City-based artist Pia Camil’s third solo presentation with the gallery.  Pia Camil’s work takes a critical approach to modernism's legacy, exploring themes such as US-Mexico relations, the politics of consumerism, and the invisibility of feminized labor, often articulated through imagery from the Mexican urban landscape. Recently with emphasis on the importance of collectivity through public participation, she explores these territories through performance, painting, installation, sculpture, and film. Camil’s latest exhibition, “Nidos y Nudos,” was created during a pandemic-prompted uprooting from Mexico City to the rural countryside. Precipitated by the stark contrast between one environment and the next, Camil spent the last year looking to nature for lessons in collective intelligence and the building of symbiotic architectures. What results are two new bodies of work, “Nidos (Nests)” and “Nudos (Knots).”

The ten works on view from the “Nidos” series are organic totem-like forms of concrete, mortar, and recycled newspaper in bright pigments. Camil’s sculptures explore the concept of the nest, focusing in particular on the termite nest as one of the architectural wonders of the living world—this body of work is a meditation on its labyrinthine design and its symbolism. The termite nest is built by the collective action of workers in a colony, a swarm intelligence that creates elaborate structural motifs that allow for efficient ventilation and temperature control, yielding mounds 300 times bigger than the insects themselves. Continuing with Camil’s signature leitmotif of transforming mass-market, used, and recycled materials, these structures are coated with a mixture of cement and newspaper. The irregular surfaces contain small “windows” to peek into, to glimpse a moment from everyday news with particular points of views and stories, creating a connection between object and viewer. These works are a post-pandemic rumination on the nest as protector, enclosure, and incubator for the seed of a species. Presented alongside, the sister series “Nudos” is comprised of works on paper with coiling, overlapping lines of ink and vibrant oil stick over hand-smudged locally sourced clay. Informed by calligraphy, storytelling, and multispecies feminist theorist Donna Haraway’s book “Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene” (2016), Camil’s drawings channel Haraway’s concept of “sympoiesis, or making-with,” rather than “autopoiesis, or self-making.” The drawing patterns suggest pathways or messages made by termites during their daily activities. These forms reference collective creation but also the act of getting tied up, like hands in a cat's cradle—another reference to Haraway’s string figures—symbolizing a speculative fabulation. In this vein of cultivating a kind of practice that would provide the means for building a more livable future, Camil’s “Nudos” are material-semiotic maps to other worlds.  Pia Camil’s (b. 1980, Mexico City) work is currently on view in her solo exhibition “Three Works” at MOCA Tucson, AZ (2021). Recent museum exhibitions include “Unflagging,” Ballroom Marfa, TX (2020); “Velo Revelo,” Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA (2020); “Here Comes the Sun,” performance at Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (2019); “Fade into Black,” Queens Museum, Queens, NY (2019); “Bara, Bara, Bara,” Tramway, Glasgow, Scotland (2019); “Telón de Boca,” Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City, Mexico (2018); “Split Wall,” Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (2018); “Fade into Black,” SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2018); “Bara, Bara, Bara,” Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX (2017); “A Pot for a Latch,” New Museum, New York, NY (2016), traveled to Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, University of California, Davis, CA; “Skins,” Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH (2015); and “Cuadrado Negro,” Basque Museum-Centre of Contemporary Art, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain (2013).

Tomoo Gokita

FRESH



May 15, 2021 - June 26, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present "FRESH," an exhibition of new paintings by Tokyo-based artist Tomoo Gokita. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, and the first dedicated to his renewed engagement with painting in color. Whether working in greyscale or in color, Gokita’s paintings have long been characterized by their psychologically charged subject matter: uncanny portraits, disquieting still lifes, and dream-like abstractions. The cast of cultural archetypes seen in his works of the past decade—from wrestlers and starlets to dancers and bureaucrats—were initially drawn from photographs the artist found in vintage magazines and newspapers. Once immersed in the process of applying paint to canvas, he would spontaneously distort these images. In his recent paintings, however, Gokita no longer refers to printed matter: the figures and forms emerge directly from his imagination. More ethereal and amorphous than before, Gokita’s supernatural figures are at once angelic and demonic, reminiscent of androids, aliens, and other undefinable chimeras. They recall the ominous creatures of sci-fi B-movies while evoking the vernaculars of Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Giorgio De Chirico, Francis Bacon, and Philip Guston. This conflation of the subconscious and the conscious is mirrored in the creative process itself, in which Gokita often paints and repaints the subject, sometimes changing the orientation of the canvas mid-way through, creating both literal and psychological palimpsests of rejected, reconciled, and mutated forms. Although Gokita is widely known for working in greyscale, color has been a recurring feature of his practice since the beginning of his career. Some of his earliest paintings from the 2000s were landscapes and abstractions executed in the similar muted greens, yellows, and pinks seen in the current body of work. He likens this tone to faded photographs and magazine pages. At the end of the same decade, he produced a distinctive series of cloudy abstractions in blue. Gokita’s return to color in the 2020s has given the artist a newfound sense of liberation in his expressive range. Reflecting on this shift in his practice, the artist states, “Miles Davis writes about not fearing change in his autobiography too. So I decided to change.” Blum & Poe will publish a new book on Tomoo Gokita in conjunction with this exhibition. Designed by Brian Roettinger, this 272-page publication compiles dozens of Gokita’s paintings amid a vast array of other imagery, ranging from casually taken Polaroids and photoshoots, to his designs for zines, T-shirts, book covers, and album covers dating back to his former career as a graphic designer. This publication features an essay by Jamieson Webster, the first to examine Gokita’s images through the lens of Freudian psychoanalysis. Webster writes: “his work, with its emphasis (at times) on realistic figuration, is made uncanny by giving it an aura of today’s aggressive human relationships and the sheer fact of a culture of constant surveillance. Indeed what is uncanny is putting into his work the affective climate of the super-ego—showing that we live in a time that has pushed us to the limit of life and death. Our true aesthetic is the uncanny.” This exhibition also coincides with Tomoo Gokita’s first solo museum presentation outside Japan, on view at Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX, from June 12 to August 22. Tomoo Gokita (b. 1969, Tokyo, Japan) lives and works in Tokyo. His recent series of color paintings received their worldwide debut in "New Images of Man," curated by Alison Gingeras and held at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles (2020). Major recent museum solo exhibitions include "PEEKABOO" at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2018), and a retrospective, "THE GREAT CIRCUS," at Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, Sakura, Japan (2014). His work has also been featured in notable surveys such as "Wonderful My Art," Kawaguchiko Museum of Art, Yamanashi, Japan (2013); "The Unseen Relationship: Form and Abstraction," Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, Sakura, Japan (2012); "Gateway: Japan," Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA (2011); "New York Minute," Macro Future Museum, Rome, Italy (2009); and "Collected Visions," Pera Museum, Istanbul, Turkey (2009). Gokita’s work is included in institutional collections such as the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; the Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles, CA; and the X Museum, Beijing, China.

Eddie Martinez

Green Thumb



May 15, 2021 - June 26, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Brooklyn-based artist Eddie Martinez. This is the artist’s first solo presentation with the gallery, following the announcement of his representation last fall. Alison M. Gingeras: Tell me about the flowers. I don't know a lot about your process when you’re working in a figurative mode. Eddie Martinez: My process is straightforward. These are just still life paintings. Except, they are not from life. They are these fantastical flowers. When I am painting these things, it is pretty basic. It is just an object. AG: Do you start from an archetype? There are certain floral forms that repeat from canvas to canvas. Is there an archetypal image of a still life in your head that you generate permutations from? EM: Yeah, there always is a big cartoon flower. Sort of like Christopher Wool who adopted that cartoony daisy a long time ago. That daisy is always there, sort of tilting to the left. Then generally, there is a mushroom. And there are some circular things like berries. AG: Is there a particular reason you paint them? EM: My initial thought is no. But then, if I think about where I grew up and the local vegetation of those places like Florida and California, I can’t help but see the connection and the long-distance memory of that and how it has impacted me. Both of my parents always kept potted plants, interesting ones, like weirdo succulents that looked like peas on a string and those little ones that look like a butt. I was obsessed with the Venus flytraps you could get on your way outta Publix. "Little Shop of Horrors" made a big impact on me. At one point I kinda thought about titling this show “Feed me, Seymour” but I guess I wimped out. AG: And are these still life pictures a vehicle for something else in your work, formally speaking? EM: Definitely. The composition is there, and it is basically the same. And then it allows me that space to play with color, shape, and line. AG: Is there an automatism going on with these paintings? When I look at your abstractions, I read them as part of an art historical lineage, coming from automatic drawing processes. How much of that is also happening in these more figurative works? EM: It is. But I think it is more about the automatism that comes with the color and the shapes because I do want them to retain some kind of floweriness. The lines are a little more controlled as far as wanting them to look like flowers versus an abstraction, where the line can be all over the place. I think the freedom comes with the color and shape in these. AG: I also like how some of them are whited out, becoming ghosts of themselves. EM: Exactly, there is a lot of freedom and automatic movement in those. But I think that they often start with a skeleton. AG: Do they start from drawing? EM: I draw a lot so they generally start from a drawing, or sometimes I will just visually chop them up after I have made some and make a new one. AG: Do you paint from that drawing process, or do you paint it directly onto the canvas? How built-up are these? EM: You mean texture-wise? AG: Or between the texture and the image. Do you work out some things on paper and then directly paint onto the canvas? EM: I don't work on the paper that much. I just do a line drawing, and how much of it goes on there depends. Sometimes I could lay down the base, be really light with it, and be happy with that. Or sometimes I paint over it a bunch. Then you get that automatic texture buildup. Sometimes I will add things, like some kind of detritus, studio trash and baby wipes. AG: Do you have them fixed to the canvas? EM: One way or the other with paint or glue. But sometimes I paint them into the canvas. AG: It is so hard to see on the images of the paintings. It doesn't translate. EM: I know. I am not going to try and make them sound like there is some mystical thing in them. They are just flowers, as simple as that. Then all the other things that happen are in my general studio practice. It is not like all of a sudden, because I am painting flowers, I am going to paint them hyperrealistically or something extreme. AG: Art historically speaking, are you looking at anything specific? Obviously, the history of the flower as a subject is very rich and super interesting. How much are you thinking about that history? EM: Certain things are just burned into my brain at this point. Matisse's handling of flowers is definitely one of the most important to me. AG: What is it about Matisse particularly? EM: Just everything; they are so wispy. It looks like they were never really thought of, but they are so considered at the same time. I think they are amazing. I also like Picasso's weirder works with heavy black lines and outer space. Also, Cézanne and Van Gogh's works are beautiful. I don't know if I really think about it anymore. I already thought about it so much that it is all just in there. Bernard Buffet made these brutal flower paintings I love. Isa Genzken’s roses, Grace Hartigan and Lichtenstein. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner painted super vibrant flowers as does Judith Linhares. AG: That visual memory informs the automatic-ness on an unconscious level? EM: Basically, it’s all part of a mental Photoshop thing at this point. AG: Maybe this is a little off-topic, but I was also thinking about this French painter from the 18th century: Anne Vallayer-Coster. Her flower paintings are amazing. The genre of still life was obviously tied up with gender politics because women artists were not allowed to be trained in the same way as their male counterparts. Academic training with access to a live nude model was a no-no. And even if there were a handful of top tier female genre painters, her floral landscapes stand out in that 18th century world. Her flowers are insane, and they have this abundance that I think your works have. Vallayer-Coster’s work seems to treat abundance and joy as her prime subject. And of course, the history of the still life or all of vegetal motifs over the course of art history have always carried charged or coded meanings. In Van Eyck's paintings, the seventy-odd flowers and plants in the "Ghent Altarpiece," for example, each had specific symbolic meanings! Sadly, I feel like over the course of the late 2Oth century, the viability of joy and abundance as a “valid” subject was destroyed or outmoded. Do you connect with the subject of joy through these paintings? EM: Definitely. That is what I was trying to get at before when I was saying they are just flowers. It is a really enjoyable thing for me to paint. I don't feel the need to inject any kind of justification or deeper meaning into these paintings. It is such a basic and generic subject matter that allows me to have a lot of fun with it. I do get a lot of joy out of it actually. You can be really feminine with them, and there is obviously a lot of history with the sexuality of flowers: Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois. I paint these mushrooms that look like dicks all the time, and they are also in there. You can be humorous with them and they are easy. I don't think I'd have to think about them at all. As I am making them, the question is whether I like the way they look or not. It is really that matter of fact, which I enjoy. That brings me joy. Eddie Martinez (b. 1977, Groton Naval Base, CT) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Martinez’s unconventional practice has received growing institutional support, with five museum solo shows in the last three years, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and the Yuz Museum in Shanghai in 2019, a show of new sculptures and paintings at the Bronx Museum in 2018, an exhibition that featured a rotating display of his recent works on paper at the Drawing Center in 2017, and an exhibition at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, MA in 2017. His works are represented in international public collections including the Aurora Museum, Shanghai, China; Bronx Museum of the Arts, Bronx, NY; Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA; Hiscox Collection, London, UK; La Colección Júmex, Mexico City, Mexico; Marciano Collection, Los Angeles, CA; Morgan Library, New York, NY; RISD Museum, Providence, RI; Saatchi Collection, London, UK; and the Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China, among others. Alison M. Gingeras is a curator and writer based in New York and Warsaw.

Anna Betbeze, Andrea Marie Breiling, Anya Gallaccio, Maysha Mohamedi, Lauren Quin, and Brian Rochefort

On Boxing



May 15, 2021 - June 26, 2021
In the late '60s and into the mid '70s, if there was a boxing match on TV my father and I watched it. Didn’t matter who was going at it, from buzzy flyweights to lumbering heavyweights. We sat on the orange couch. He poured himself a giant glass of Gallo’s chablis on ice and I had a Mom’s Root Beer straight from the bottle. I felt like a badass. And he would teach me how to read what happened in the ring. He saw it all as art. My father had been a boxer in the Navy. His close friend and fellow boxer once told him that he had been knocked out but miraculously stayed on his feet. He only later realized he had fought through a round and then into another, unconscious and on automatic, doing what he was trained to do which now came naturally, going through the motions, until he came back into himself, back in the fight. He was there, he was not there. It was 1973 when I was 12 that Pops started taking me to the Olympic Auditorium on Friday nights to see the fights. This experience was far from watching at home on television. In the crowd it was always dark in there, it seemed like everyone was either smoking a cigarette or a cigar, the voices could be loud, quiet violence in the air. But the focus was on the one place that was lit. The ring. Bright white lights flooded the canvas. Here a ritual played out. I once witnessed a myth. Such a ceremony. The boxers came toward the ring like shapes moving in the distance toward that square of light. Then ascending up and in between the ropes and entering that place of action in robes that often touched the ground. In a moment those robes came off, the men nearly naked, exposed, intimate. Hammer hitting a bell to start match. Such a clear simple piercing line that I could hear it and see it. Pops made the abstract clear. He would explain that the chaos was controlled, that you often had to get hit to hit, that this was the only pure sport. Raw. If you look long enough patterns emerge. You can see how boxers use the defined canvas to cut off and control the edges or dominate the middle. Action can happen anywhere within that ground. You see how every boxer has a different way of dancing jabbing cutting striking. Everything in motion, legs moving and arms working from the tight quick jab to the wild roundhouse and everything in between. Their process played out before us. Often red blood would fly, the inside splashed out. Style defining authorship. Winning and losing in real time. I was lost in it and I loved it. Still do but in a different way, now, here. —Jeff Poe

Alexander Tovborg

Sacrificial Love



March 23, 2021 - May 1, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present "Sacrificial Love," an exhibition of new paintings and a bronze sculpture by Copenhagen-based artist Alexander Tovborg. This marks Tovborg’s third solo presentation with Blum & Poe. In his paintings, drawings, sculptures, and performances, Tovborg approaches spirituality and mythology as crucial components of the human experience. Aiming to reconstruct history, his work invites us to redefine humankind’s position in relation to the hierarchies and power structures inherent to these oral and written narratives. Characterized by speculative and fictional tale-telling, these works come to life as a visualization of a new alphabet through fragmented and poetic imagery. Focusing on subplots of Western religions and European folk traditions in which the artist is rooted, his works are a hybrid of fantasy and raw abstraction, staging dreamlike sceneries featuring biomorphic forms. Tovborg’s past bodies of work, such as "The Knight of Faith," finding its central theme in the myth of Noah’s Ark, "The Rape of Europha," a meditation on Europe’s current political crises, and "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," an overarching parable of good versus evil, all come together to tell a delicately layered story, which has often been excluded from historical accounts. In his new series "Sacrificial Love," Tovborg continues his critical approach towards grand religious narratives, and reconstructs them through a personal and intimate story—the pregnancy of his partner, cellist Cæcilie Trier. Born on the feast day of Saint Cecilia, who symbolizes the central role of music in the liturgy, Trier is portrayed as this most famous virgin martyr of the early church in Tovborg’s recent works. The paintings and the bronze sculpture in the show are imbued with Christian symbolism: evil dragons, lilies for divine sacrifice, and the seduction of Eve by the serpent. Tovborg reclaims the mythological chain of power in these narratives by manipulating the characters, depicting the Virgin Mary with a daughter, or speculating about a new mythical creature that is half-human and half-scorpion, echoing Trier’s zodiac. With feathers and halos around her figure Cæcilie becomes part of nature and the cosmos, challenging the man-made linear history suggesting one that is cyclical and holistic. The artist’s choice of household materials, such as cleaning cloths or bedlinens, as his primary painting surface further aims to problematize the portrayal of women as domestic workers throughout history. Tovborg’s works draw a mystical circle in the exhibition space—one that is beyond time and space, initiating from the cycle of motherhood and eventually leading to an existential awareness that is both sensual and poetic. Alexander Tovborg (b. 1983, Copenhagen, Denmark) received his BA from Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Karlsruhe, Germany and his MFA from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, Denmark. Tovborg’s work has been the subject of international solo exhibitions including "The Deity and its Creators," Rudolph Tegner Museum & Statue Park, Dronningmølle, Denmark (2019); "Knight of Faith," GL STRAND, Copenhagen, Denmark (2016); "The Rape of Europha," State of Concept, Athens, Greece (2016); "Bocca Baciata," Overgaden Institute for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen, Denmark (2014); "Teenage Jesus," Hospitalhof, Stuttgart, Germany (2012); and Tre, Museet for Religiøs Kunst, Lemvig, Denmark (2011). Selections of his oeuvre have been featured in institutional group exhibitions including at Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (2020); the 9th Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, Gothenburg, Sweden (2017); Museet for Religiøs Kunst, Lemvig, Denmark (2016); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland (2013); and the Museo Nacional de la Estampa, Mexico City, Mexico (2012). At Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, CA in 2015, Tovborg's work was included in "The Avant-Garde Won't Give Up: Cobra and Its Legacy," a rereading of the Cobra postwar movement, curated by Alison M. Gingeras. Tovborg's work is permanently installed in various public Danish institutions and was recently acquired by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA.

Asuka Anastacia Ogawa



March 23, 2021 - May 1, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Japanese-Brazilian artist Asuka Anastacia Ogawa. This is the artist’s second solo presentation with the gallery, following her debut at Blum & Poe Tokyo in 2020. Asuka Anastacia Ogawa’s large figurative paintings feature children engaged in reverie and play, in scenes that are both autobiographical and dream-spun. With large almond-shaped eyes, these subjects look out of the canvas with mysterious radiance and wisdom. Full of cryptic symbols from mirrors to garlic bulbs, Ogawa’s paintings are marked by references to the artist’s Japanese and Afro-Brazilian ancestral lineage. Born in Tokyo, Ogawa moved to Petrópolis, Brazil when she was three, attended high school in Sweden, and then studied at Central Saint Martins in London. Her peripatetic upbringing and identity are asserted in her paintings through imagery that is outside of time and place. Employing a minimal palette, she uses saturated yellows, pinks, and blues, to convey an elemental visual poetry. Her paintings are open to interpretation, as she notes, inviting viewers to create their own complementary stories. Ogawa’s works spark a journey through hereditary dreams that exist in the collective consciousness. In one picture, a child is portrayed kneeling on the ground with their hands concealed in a large, tangerine-hued bowl, as if caught in a domestic ritual. Two guardian-like figures dressed in white hold a pastel-pink banner over the child in a heraldic gesture of protection. Another painting features a figure brandishing a bird toy in one hand, and a basket full of reeds in another, cushioning two children from a shadowy character on horseback. In response to the prompt, “Where is home?” Ogawa replies, “I think about the people I love when I think of the word ‘home’—having time to explore, and a place to paint, is when I feel most at home.” The works in the exhibition are both a meditation on interconnectedness and belonging, and an offering of sanctuary from and within a world in flux. Asuka Anastacia Ogawa (b. 1988, Tokyo, Japan) received her BFA from Central Saint Martins, London, UK. After having her first solo show at Henry Taylor’s studio in Los Angeles in 2017, she had a solo show at Blum & Poe Tokyo in 2020, and was featured in the group exhibition “5,471 miles” at Blum & Poe Los Angeles in 2020. Her work is in the collection of X Museum, Beijing, China. She is currently based in New York and Los Angeles.

Anna Weyant

Loose Screw



March 23, 2021 - May 1, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present “Loose Screw,” an exhibition of new paintings by New York-based artist Anna Weyant. This show marks Weyant’s first solo presentation with Blum & Poe. Anna Weyant’s figurative paintings and still lifes bring to mind childhood bedtime stories and nursery rhymes. Both familiar and ominous, Weyant's versions of these stories feature young female characters trapped in tragicomic narratives. Their stories take unexpected twists at each turn, illustrating complex personalities and attitudes, and an awareness of life's irony. With round and prominent faces, Weyant’s characters echo the mischievous dolls of the famed Madeline children’s book series, featuring girls in a Catholic boarding school in Paris. Often autobiographical, Weyant’s characters are amusing and endearing, though simultaneously moody and dark. Weyant’s palette prioritizes dark greens and yellows, neutral hues that highlight juxtapositions of humor and solemnity, rebellion and repression. Once an idea emerges, Weyant sketches it on paper in different combinations before settling on a scenario, which she then stage-designs with dolls. Her elaborate and meticulous process culminates in rendering the dramatically lit scenes onto canvas. She references an eclectic range of art historical influences, from seventeenth-century Dutch painters like Gerrit van Honthorst to contemporary artists Lisa Yuskavage and Will Cotton, and pop culture references such as New Yorker cartoons, Bugs Bunny, and the Grinch. Presenting paintings made in 2020 and 2021, “Loose Screw” is also a meditation on the current state of humanity during the pandemic, dealing with complicated emotions such as fear, desperation, isolation, ignorance, and aggression. Giving its title to the show, one of the central works “Loose Screw” (2020), inspired by Otto Dix’s painting “Woman With A Red Hat” (1921) and Ellen Berkenblit’s portraits, depicts a woman seated at a bar, looking lonely and unhinged. Fascinated with Dix’s depiction of a column emerging from a dark void in the painting’s background, Weyant incorporates it into her own composition, approaching the column as a humorous stand-in for another figure—a reflection on what dialogue looks like in the age of self-isolation. One still life features a slice of bread stuck with a butter knife, a basket of eggs, and dead fish, eyes open, presented on a silver platter; another, a bouquet of white roses, the flowers cut from the stems. Her characters—some presented upside down, others mouth open, appearing to fall down from a wooden staircase, with spilling breasts—accompany these still lifes to tell an eerie and unsettling story in fragmented vignettes. If followed carefully, these scenes come together to form a magical realist narrative. “Loose Screw” invites viewers to a therapy session, a look at episodes and memories from childhood—an exorcism of thoughts and experiences at emotional heights. Anna Weyant (b. 1995, Calgary, Canada) received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI. Weyant’s work was the subject of the solo exhibition “Welcome to the Dollhouse” at 56 Henry, New York, NY (2019). Her work has been featured in group exhibitions, including “Life Still,” C L E A R I N G, New York, NY (2020); “Sit Still,” Anna Zorina Gallery, New York, NY (2020); “Humanmakes,” Recharge Foundation, Singapore (2020); “Historicity,” Ochi Projects, Los Angeles, CA (2019); “Of Pursism,” Nina Johnson Gallery, Miami, FL (2018); and “Circles without Breaks,” Local Projects, Long Island City, NY (2017).

Paul Mogensen



January 23, 2021 - March 6, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present a solo exhibition of works by New York-based artist Paul Mogensen, following the recent announcement of the gallery’s co-representation of the artist with Karma. Presenting paintings dating back to the beginning of the artist’s career in the 1960s and recent works from the last decade, the exhibition also marks the artist’s first show in his hometown of Los Angeles in over forty years. Based on essential numerical sequences and ratios, Mogensen creates esoteric compositions that invite the viewer to make sense of the planar space. First conceiving a system and utilizing a mathematical formula, he allows the progression to dictate the composition. Mogensen prefers not to date or title his paintings—while this can be read as a gesture foregrounding the timelessness of his work, it also underlines the necessity for a non-linear narrative in art history. Avoiding both metaphorical and conceptualist language, he rejects most canonical terminology—including “minimalism” and “abstraction.” Largely shaped by his education focusing on mathematics and art at the University of Southern California, Mogensen’s practice reflects his wide interests ranging from fourteenth century Sienese painting to Russian constructivists such as Alexander Rodchenko and Vladimir Tatlin. Building upon the beauty of simplicity, Mogensen’s works are gracefully concise and yet yield complex and intense visual experiences—similar to an elegant mathematical formula. His earliest paintings from the ‘60s epitomize his interest in reduction. Stacked vertically, these modular, multi-panel works are made of rectangles that gradually increase in size, and utilize negative space through exacting processes. These monochrome compositions vibrate with saturated pigments—paint he applies straight out of the tube, rejecting any mixture. The pursuit of reduction is a large and compelling part of his practice, seen in his use of pure chemical pigmentation and numerical sequencing alike. Various visual relationships—between color and form, canvas and the wall—give way to a visual illusion blending the painterly with the architectural. As longtime friend artist Lynda Benglis points out: “Paul’s painting challenged both the wall and the floor space, literally breaking up the surface of the wall. This mocking of the wall was a totally new idea.” Highlighting the kinship between the works and the architectural space, one of the multi-panel works guided by the golden ratio is exhibited in the downstairs gallery constructed using the same perfect mathematical formula—with each room reducing in size in accordance with the golden section. Continuing this application of mathematical and architectural processes onto a single canvas in his most recent works, Mogensen utilizes the N + 1 progression pattern to grow and propagate the square shape. Traveling around the edge, the squares migrate towards the center, creating a spiral form. The oscillation between colors and forms implies a fugal complexity, as the human brain tends to seek out and complete a pattern that might not initially be there. The use of sharp contrast in colors—deep cadmium red on black, ultramarine blue on hot pink—adds additional dimension to the single-layered surface. Isolating color, line, form, and light, Mogensen creates a pathway for the eyes to move along the edge of the canvas. Different from figurative artworks in which human faces automatically activate neural systems, geometric abstractions require active thought. This show is an invitation for deep and silent observation in an age of digital stimuli excess, providing a sanctuary for busy minds. Paul Mogensen (b. Los Angeles, 1941) lives and works in New York. He attended the University of Southern California. In 2019 the artist received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Art, and his work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX and Karma, New York, NY, and was featured in a group exhibition at the Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria. Mogensen’s work is represented in the collections of major museums in the U.S. and abroad, including: Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Harvard Art Museums/ Fogg Museum, Cambridge, MA; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Menil Collection, Houston, TX; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; New York Public Library, New York, NY; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT.

Robert Colescott

Two Drawing Sweets: "Robert's Complete History of World Art" (1979) and "The Girls of the Golden West" (1980)



January 23, 2021 - March 6, 2021
Blum & Poe is pleased to present a solo exhibition of never before exhibited works on paper by the late artist Robert Colescott. Presenting two series respectively dating back to 1979 and 1980, the exhibition showcases the artist’s well-established satirical and critical approach to cultural clichés, racial stereotypes, and tropes of beauty and the gaze. By the mid-1970s, Colescott had created the works with which he achieved a national reputation. These paintings used the tools of parody and appropriation to remake art historical masterpieces, while satirizing and deconstructing pervasive racist attitudes. In 1979, Colescott created a series of drawings that satirized art history itself. Art history as an academic discipline came into being during the nineteenth century, and the earliest professional art historians viewed their primary task as similar to that of their colleagues in the academy, the natural scientists. Classification was the order of the day. Aesthetics gave way to taxonomy, to a certain extent. Art history became a history of movements, and artists became something less than individuals. The tendency of scholars and art historians to categorize artists only intensified during the twentieth century, which meant that any beginning student of art history would be taught that it is a procession of movements leading logically from one to the next, in an inevitable flow of progress. For an uncompromising individualist like Colescott, the reduction of art to broad categories or “isms” presented him with an irresistible target for satire. The first of the twenty works of this Art History series on view at Blum & Poe Los Angeles, "ROBERT'S complete HiSTORY of WORLD ART" (1979), announces that these drawings present his personal, idiosyncratic version of the subject at hand. These works are gently mocking rather than savagely critical, and injected with a vaudeville flavor. The first four drawings represent early art historical periods, and each is portrayed by a statuesque woman wearing sexy lingerie and smoking a cigarette. These drawings are loaded with references—one symbolizing Egyptian art which had a decisive influence on the artist due to his time in Cairo in the mid-1960s; another represents Rome, borrowing the figure’s pose from a famous ancient sculpture representing the death of a Trojan priest, Laocoön. Another, a parody of a medieval illuminated manuscript, turns the Christian ethos of asceticism and denial on its head by depicting naked figures engaging in various sexual activities. The second series on view, The Girls of the Golden West, was created a year after the Art History drawings in 1980. Colescott had returned to the Bay Area in 1970 after having lived elsewhere for almost two decades, and it was during this time that the artist began a voyage into his past. Colescott takes on the social conditioning of the American ‘30s and ‘40s, exploring his own exposure to popular culture especially through advertisements. Colescott riffs on the sexually suggestive cowgirl persona employed in the commercial imagery of his youth—seductive, nostalgic illusions that insinuated one could still partake of the adventures of the frontier. Employing the narrative devices often found in his paintings such as the dream sequence, the cut-away, and the montage, Colescott depicts each state of the West with a version of this cowgirl motif, parsing the reality of the American dream. Most of the drawings in this series come across as a theatrical experience, as their protagonists act out various scenarios typical of old Westerns. One cowgirl personifying the state of Colorado wears a breathing device as she is about to descend into a mine. Another woman representing the Dakota territory is an ominous vision clad entirely in leather, while the figure representing the state of Wyoming is a mirage of sky and clouds in female form. At the end of a typical Western film, the hero rides off into the sunset, but perhaps in this case, she simply dissolves into the sky. With gratitude to Matthew Weseley, independent art historian and co-curator of the traveling retrospective exhibition "Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott," who generously contributed original research and scholarship on these two bodies of work, vital to this exhibition and its correlating press release. Robert Colescott (b. 1925, Oakland, CA; d. 2009, Tucson, AZ) was honored as the first African American artist to represent the United States with a solo exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 1997. His work is currently the subject of a traveling retrospective curated by Lowery Stokes Sims and Matthew Weseley that began at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH in 2019; traveling to Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; Sarasota Art Museum, Sarasota, FL; and Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL;accompanied by a comprehensive monograph published by Rizzoli Electa. Colescott’s work is represented in public collections internationally, in such notable institutions as the Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH; American Research Center in Egypt, Alexandria, VA; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO; Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI; de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA; High Museum of Art, Atlanta GA; Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; New Museum, New York, NY; Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA; Pinault Collection, Paris, France; Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; among many more.

New Images of Man



February 1, 2020 - March 14, 2020
Blum & Poe is pleased to present New Images of Man curated by Alison M. Gingeras. This exhibition revisits and expands upon the Museum of Modern Art’s eponymous 1959 group exhibition curated by Peter Selz that brought together artists whose work grappled with the human condition as well as emerging modes of humanist representation in painting and sculpture in the wake of the traumatic fallout of the Second World War. Some sixty years have passed since New Images of Man presented key figures of the European neo avant-garde such as Alberto Giacometti, Jean Dubuffet, César, Francis Bacon, and Karel Appel alongside the ascendant figures of the American art scene such as Willem de Kooning, H.C. Westermann, and Leon Golub. Set against the backdrop of existentialist philosophy and the socio-political anxieties of the postwar period, the esteemed humanist philosopher Paul Tillich wrote of these artists in the original MoMA catalogue, “Each period has its peculiar image of man. It appears in its poems and novels, music, philosophy, plays and dances; and it appears in its painting and sculpture. Whenever a new period is conceived in the womb of the preceding period, a new image of man pushes towards the surface and finally breaks through to find its artists and philosophers.” Part homage, part radical revision, this two-floor presentation reconstitutes emblematic figures from the original MoMA line up of artists while simultaneously expanding outwards to include those of the same generation and period who were overlooked in the midcentury. This reprisal features forty-three artists hailing not only from the US and Western Europe, but also Cuba, Egypt, Haiti, India, Iran, Japan, Poland, Senegal, and Sudan. The overwhelming maleness of the original New Images of Man has been amended by foregrounding previously excluded women artists from the same generation. Had gender politics of the 1950s been less misogynist, Selz might have considered artists such as Alina Szapocznikow, Niki de Saint Phalle, Yuki Katsura, Carol Rama, and Lee Lozano. With the benefit of inclusive hindsight, Gingeras strives to present a fuller range of this humanist struggle, thus more acutely enacting the original curator’s vision to gather a range of “effigies of the disquiet man.” As the capstone to this historical proposition, the exhibition argues for the contemporary resonance of this midcentury disquiet by judiciously including a selection of contemporary artists. These living artists are also “imagists that take the human situation, indeed the human predicament” as their primary subject, while also reflecting the legacy of the aesthetic concerns from the original period. Spanning painting and sculpture, this contemporary component includes works by Paweł Althamer, Cecily Brown, Luis Flores, Michel Nedjar, Greer Lankton, Miriam Cahn, Sarah Lucas, Dana Schutz, El Hadji Sy, Ahmed Morsi, Henry Taylor, amongst others. Installed alongside these paintings and sculptures, historic and contemporary, are interventions that evoke the larger-than-life figures from the original show—de Kooning, Dubuffet, Bacon, Giacometti, Westermann. Playful tributes to these masters appear throughout the exhibition, including two wall murals by Los Angeles artist Dave Muller. Embedded at the center of this revisionist enterprise is another historical MoMA exhibition also founded upon postwar humanism—this time through the lens of photography. The 1955 exhibition Family of Man curated by Edward Steichen—the legendary director of the Photography Department at MoMA—was conceived four years before Peter Selz’s New Images of Man, and was devised as a celebration of the camera as a powerful, immersive tool for the promulgation of images as well as the affirmation of the universal human experience. While it debuted in New York in 1955, Family of Man went on a veritable world tour. According to Steichen’s 1963 memoir A Life in Photography, between 1955 and 1962 about nine million viewers all around the world had the opportunity “to see themselves reflected” in the 503 photographs of people, making it the most popular photography exhibition ever. As the legacy of Steichen’s curatorial endeavors lives on in contemporary visual culture, this section of the exhibition sets out to challenge the Western-centric bias of the original show. This reassessment of Steichen’s conceit focuses upon two women artists from the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The Polish, self-taught photographer Zofia Rydet was active in the mid-1950s yet she was separated from Steichen not only by the Iron Curtain. This redux presentation of Rydet’s photographic oeuvre suggests a more complex vision of postwar era humanist photography. In fact, after seeing Steichen’s Family of Man show in Warsaw, Rydet embarked upon her series of documentary images of children in the literal rubble of the Second World War in the early 1960s entitled Mały człowiek (Little Man). This presentation features a selection of Rydet’s photographs from her documentary series called the “Sociological Record” in which she captured thousands of ordinary households in Poland from 1978 until her death in 1997. Rydet’s reworking of the Steichen paradigm finds a jarring echo in the contemporary oeuvre of Deana Lawson—an artist whose intimate, yet iconic imagery immortalizes African-American family life. Lawson grew up in Rochester, New York, the birthplace of Kodak—her involvement with photography is deeply bound up with her family’s history and their entwinement with the photographic industry. Unlike Rydet, Lawson’s images are often staged while they strive to capture the magic and textures of everyday struggles, emotions, and plain existence. Her gaze intrepidly focuses upon members of the African diaspora while also crafting stunning formal compositions that hark back to classical painting. As Lawson has said of her work, “I have an image in mind that I have to make. It burns so deeply that I have to make it.” Shown side by side in a scenography that references Steichen’s original Family of Man presentation at MoMA, Rydet’s communist-era documentation of Polish families in their humble interiors resonates uncannily with Lawson’s present-day portraiture. Despite being decades apart, culturally disparate, and approaching their medium with radically differing methods, both Rydet and Lawson create images that offer a sharp rebuttal to Steichen’s sentimental and melodramatic original opus. Both photographers share a quality that Lawson has articulated when speaking of her own work, creating images that are “thick with space, layered with otherness and belonging at the same time.” Together Rydet and Lawson provide a revisionist twist to this new Family of Man. This section of the show was curated in collaboration with Antonina Gugała with a new installation by Deana Lawson made especially for the show. While much has changed in social and political terms since the 1950s, we are arguably again in a period of immense existential questioning and profound collective anxiety—artists now, as then, are on the frontlines of confronting what it means to be human, therefore making New Images of Man a subject still urgent for contemplation and provocation. This past summer, Selz died at the age of one hundred. In his New York Times obituary, his daughter Gabrielle remarked, “He would say that everything—a somber painting by Rothko or a Rodin sculpture—was about the human condition. My dad responded to emotion.” Arguably, emotion is the gravitational force that draws us to images of other people—from prehistoric cave paintings to press photographs of detained refugees and children on the Mexican-American border, humans find empathetic connection, solace, or simple recognition in the act of contemplating depictions of other humans. In the spirit of Selz’s original aim, this restaging of New Images of Man and reimagining of Family of Man resolves to recontextualize artists’ agency in addressing the fundamental questions of the human condition and to discourage apathy about our fellow humans’ plight. While an art exhibition can only operate on a symbolic and discursive level, the impetus behind the new New Images of Man is to continue our collective rumination on the human condition with renewed emotional and intellectual urgency. By expanding the geopolitical and generational scope of artists, an expansive vision of humanity starts to emerge—broadening “man” to a more intersectional vision of human existence.

Henry Taylor

NIECE COUSIN KIN LOOK HOW LONG IT'S BEEN



September 24, 2019 - December 21, 2019

Mohamed Bourouissa

Une poignée de Dollars



September 14, 2019 - October 26, 2019

Anya Gallaccio

Stroke



September 14, 2019 - October 26, 2019

Alma Allen



July 20, 2019 - August 17, 2019

March Avery



June 27, 2019 - August 9, 2019

Florian Maier–Aichen

The Limits of Control



June 1, 2019 - July 6, 2019

Tony Lewis

Charlatan And Ultimately A Boring Man



June 1, 2019 - July 6, 2019

Brazilian Modernism



April 30, 2019 - June 21, 2019

Part II – Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s



April 6, 2019 - May 19, 2019

Robert Colescott



February 27, 2019 - April 13, 2019

Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s



February 14, 2019 - March 23, 2019

Friedrich Kunath

One Man's Ceiling is Another Man's Floor



November 7, 2018 - December 22, 2018

Chung Sang-Hwa & Shin Sung Hy



November 2, 2018 - December 22, 2018

Darren Bader



November 2, 2018 - December 22, 2018

Four Rooms



September 12, 2018 - October 27, 2018

Tomoo Gokita



September 8, 2018 - October 27, 2018

Karel Appel

Out of Nature



September 8, 2018 - October 27, 2018

Andrew Kerr



July 12, 2018 - August 17, 2018

Wendell Dayton



June 30, 2018 - August 18, 2018

Enrico David



May 12, 2018 - June 23, 2018

Mimi Lauter

Sensus Oxynation



May 12, 2018 - June 23, 2018

Dave Muller

Sex & Death & Rock & Roll



April 28, 2018 - June 30, 2018

Kishio Suga



March 1, 2018 - April 14, 2018

Julian Hoeber



January 18, 2018 - February 24, 2018