Monday, December 17, 2018

KEVIN BEASLEY: A View of a Landscape: Review By Polly Guerin

Kevin Beasley
"Artists are a unique breed. They search the inner circle of their soul to inspire creativity. They work alone, their ideas grow out of the depths of their imagination. They are innovators, risk takers who create works defined by their personal history. Like solo fliers, they have the courage to take flight  with new ideas and on the path of creativity they never stop until the work is done. They work around the clock to create something rare and unexpected, yes--something never done before. (Quote from Dynamics of color by Polly Guerin)l
      For his most ambitious exhibition to date, Kevin Beasley confronts the legacy of the American South in a powerful new installation that explores the intersection of history labor, land, and race.  Reclaiming a 1915 electric motor that once powered a cotton gin on an Alabama farm during the middle of the twentieth century,  Beasley creates a multipart installation in which he distills the visual and auditory experiences of the machine. KEVIN BEASLEY: A VIEW OF LANDSCAPE opened recently in the Whitney museum's eighth floor Hurst Family Galleries                                                                        
Rebuilding of the Cotton Gin Motor

and runs through March 10, 2019. 
       THE ARTIST SPEAKS; "For me, this exhibition embodies a continued reconciliation that can extend to the broader public. Are we reflecting on this history collectively," said Beasley "And are we taking the necessary steps to generate a fresh approach and change to systemic issues that persist today?"
      Through the use of microphones soundproofing, and audio hardware the installation detaches the physical motor from he sounds it produces, enabling visitors to have distinct sensorial experiences. There, the motors sounds, heard through an arrangement of speakers set at different amplifications, form a sonic landscape. A series of performances by Beasley and other artists whom he has invited to perform will take place in the galleries throughout the run of the exhibition.  Currently scheduled, Saturday January 12, Kevin Beasley with Taja Cheek, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and vocalist. Saturday, Jan. 26, Eli Keszler, artist, composer, and percussionist.  For other performance times and ticketing, visit Beasley.
Left: The Reunion Right: Campus 
"SLAB" SCULPTURES: The exhibition also includes new large-scale "slab" sculptures made with a range of materials central to Beasley's practice such as polyurethane resin, housedresses, electric appliances, and raw cotton from the artist's native Virginia, where his family has owned land for generations.  The sculptures suggest a narrative in three parts, beginning with image Left:The Reunion, 2018, Polyurethane resin, raw Virginia cotton, Virginia soil, Virginia twigs, Virginia pine cones and needles, housedresses, kaftans, T-Shirts, du-rags, HID light bulb, guinea fowl feathers, cotton bale strap, aluminum, and steels. Right: Campus, Polyurethane resin, raw Virginia cotton, housedresses, kaftan's,T-Shirts, du-rags, select pages from the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Charles Joseph Minard Civil War-era cotton trade map, painted clown masks, Yale University School of Art graduation collar, graduation cap, graduation gowns, Yale University sweater, Campus duffle bag, aluminum and steel. Both from the Collection of the Artist, courtesy of Casey Kaplan, New York.

        Ta Ta /Darlings:  This solo flier makes a bold historically fused statement. Through the use of these materials, the works account for the lived histories shared by he artist, the continued journey of the machine, and the greater context of the American landscape. Fan mail always welcome at  Visit Polly's other Blogs at and click in the left-hand column to access the Blog that resonates with your interest. 

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