The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston (ICA / Boston) has opened an exhibition by internationally renowned sculptor Simon Leigh (b. 1967). The exhibition at the ICA is the first U.S. presentation of her work from Venice and will travel to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and the California African American Museum (CAAM) over the next two years.
Using ceramics and bronze as her primary materials, Leigh’s figures combine vessels and architectural elements with the black female body. The vessel motifs symbolize black women’s domestic labor, and the ceramics connect her works to non-mainstream traditions of art history.
Leigh represents the labor and care of black women that is under-recognized in society and reflects the traditions and history of African and African Diaspora cultures in her work. In 2022, Leigh represented the United States at the Venice Biennale as the first black woman artist. There she won the highest award Golden Lion for her large-scale hybrid bronze sculptures that combined the female body with architectural forms.
Institute of Contemporary Art / Boston
April 6, 2023 – September 4, 2023
The “white cube” has been the epitome of the exhibition hall for the past century: a cube-shaped space surrounded by four sides of white walls and nothing to distract the viewer. Ever since the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City adopted the style in the early 20th century, the white cube has been seen as a neutral space for viewing artwork without distraction and has become commonplace.
However, during the past century, the art forms have become incomparably diverse compared to the early 20th century’s painting and sculpture. New art forms such as media art, performance, and conceptual art began seeking expanded viewing conditions. In addition, the critical realization that there is no such thing as a purely neutral space arose, leading to various explorations away from the white cube nowadays.
A few days ago, the New York Times interviewed German architect Markus Dochantschi (b. 1968), who is leading the new trend in gallery architecture in New York. Dochantschi and his studio (studioMDA) are best known for their work on the 2021 renovation of the Philips auction house. They installed large windows in the underground concourse to allow the public to watch the auction from the street.
In recent years, Tribeca has emerged as a new center for New York art, with major galleries like Marion Goodman, David Zwirner, and Pace relocating from Chelsea and building new spaces, and many of them will be designed by Dochantschi. He aims to create a welcoming experience for the viewer in contrast to the traditional white cube often perceived as authoritarian and rigid. His spaces, which he calls “soft white cubes,” retain the white cube structure of a conventional white cube but utilize original building features such as columns and ceilings, use false walls to create variability, create basement space, and utilize natural light.
The High Museum of Art, a contemporary art museum in Atlanta, is hosting “The Mask and the Cross,” a solo exhibition by Nigerian artist Bruce Onobrakpeya (b. 1932). Onobrakpeya grew up as a Christian in Nigeria during the late period of colonization, an experience he reflects in his work. His series of prints, which transform Catholic motifs into Nigerian imagery, are highly regarded as representative of African post-colonialism. This exhibition is his first in an American institution.
The High Museum owns an edition of his print series ‘Fourteen Stations of the Cross.’ Created between 1967 and 1978, the series depicts biblical scenes from the last days of Jesus, combining Nigerian traditions, folk songs, and cosmology. In addition, the biblical characters are drawn as Nigerians and the settings are transformed into Nigeria. This religious hybridity is a recurring theme in the artist’s 60-year career, and the exhibition presents the idea that it is an expression of the agency of the subjugated culture.
Bruce Onobrakpeya: The Mask and the Cross
April 7, 2023 – July 30, 2023