While museums and galleries are temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 virus, On View will continue to showcase images from noteworthy exhibitions
 

THE FIRST SOLO MUSEUM EXHIBITION in Los Angeles of Sula Bermúdez-Silverman, debuted Feb. 28. “Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl” was open for about two weeks at the California African American Museum (CAAM) before it closed temporarily due to COVID-19.

Born in New York, Bermúdez-Silverman was raised in Los Angeles. She earned an MFA from Yale and currently lives and works in LA. Bermúdez-Silverman is of Afro-Puerto Rican and Jewish descent. Her conceptual and multidisciplinary practice focuses on cultural exchange and examines systems of power based on economic, racial, religious, and gender dynamics. She explores personal themes that resonate universally, primarily through fiber work and sculpture.

The title of the CAAM exhibition, which means hard to characterize or doesn’t fit into a certain category, references the range of works on view, dating from 2014 to 2020. Bermúdez-Silverman is showing hard-edge abstractions in the form of colored-blocked pie charts representing genetic data. The works call to mind the graphic data portraits W.E.B. Du Bois presented at the 1900 Paris Exposition, visualizing the black experience. Vintage doilies embroidered (using the artist’s own hair) with language that points to colorism and passing and mini dreidels emblazoned with the images of prominent African American cultural figures, are also on display, among other works.

The dollhouses are vessels of identity, history, and culture, embodying notions family, home, labor, and belonging.

Particularly moving is a series of illuminated dollhouses composed of poured sugar and embellished with found and reused objects. The sculptures were produced specifically for the CAAM show and are modeled after a dollhouse made for the artist when she was a child.

“I started working with sugar as a material learning that my ancestors worked on sugar cane plantations in Puerto Rico. But sugar has a much larger significant history, which I think deals with the beginning of early capitalism. Both sugar and dollhouses were symbols that have changed and evolved over time,” Bermúdez-Silverman, said in a video about the exhibition.

“Sugar until the 18th century was the monopoly of a very privileged group of people and then became something much larger. It’s symbol of power changed over time to become a much more universal symbol and same with dollhouses. They were a symbol of power as well, to adults, and then overtime became something that is a universal thing in the household used by children.”

Fragile architectural works, the dollhouses are vessels of identity, history, and culture, embodying notions of family, home, labor, and belonging. CT

 

“Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl” is on view at California African American Museum, Los Angeles, Feb. 28-Aug. 23, 2020. In order to contain the spread of COVID-19, CAAM is temporarily closed. Check directly with the museum for scheduling updates

FIND MORE about the exhibition

 


Artist Sula Bermúdez-Silverman talks about her practice, her exhibition at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, and the inspirations for the poured sugar dollhouses that feature prominently in the show. | Video by CAAM

 


Installation view of “Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl,” California African American Museum (Feb. 28-Aug. 23, 2020). | Courtesy CAAM, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 


Ongoing series “Neither Fish, Flesh, nor FowlSugar,” 2019-20 (sugar, glass, wood, resin, and metal). | Courtesy the artist, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 


Ongoing series “Neither Fish, Flesh, nor FowlSugar,” 2019-20 (sugar, glass, wood, resin, and metal). | Courtesy the artist, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 


Installation view of “Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl,” California African American Museum (Feb. 28-Aug. 23, 2020). | Courtesy CAAM, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 


Installation view of “Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl,” California African American Museum (Feb. 28-Aug. 23, 2020). | Courtesy CAAM, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 


Detail of “Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl,” California African American Museum (Feb. 28-Aug. 23, 2020), Shown: “Table for Eleggua, Table, for Elijah,” 2018. | Courtesy CAAM, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 


Detail of “Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl,” California African American Museum (Feb. 28-Aug. 23, 2020), Shown: “Table for Eleggua, Table, for Elijah,” 2018. | Courtesy CAAM, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 


Installation view of “Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl,” California African American Museum (Feb. 28-Aug. 23, 2020). | Courtesy CAAM, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 


Installation view of “Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl,” California African American Museum (Feb. 28-Aug. 23, 2020). | Courtesy CAAM, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 


Ongoing series “Neither Fish, Flesh, nor FowlSugar,” 2019-20 (sugar, glass, wood, resin, and metal). | Courtesy the artist, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 


Ongoing series “Neither Fish, Flesh, nor FowlSugar,” 2019-20 (sugar, glass, wood, resin, and metal). | Courtesy the artist, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 


Installation view of “Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl,” California African American Museum (Feb. 28-Aug. 23, 2020). | Courtesy CAAM, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 


Ongoing series “Neither Fish, Flesh, nor FowlSugar,” 2019-20 (sugar, glass, wood, resin, and metal). | Courtesy the artist, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 


Ongoing series “Neither Fish, Flesh, nor FowlSugar,” 2019-20 (sugar, glass, wood, resin, and metal). | Courtesy the artist, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 


Installation view of “Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl,” California African American Museum (Feb. 28-Aug. 23, 2020). | Courtesy CAAM, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 


Installation view of “Sula Bermúdez-Silverman: Neither Fish, Flesh, nor Fowl,” California African American Museum (Feb. 28-Aug. 23, 2020). | Courtesy CAAM, Photo by Ellon Schoelhotz

 

FIND MORE about Sula Bermúdez-Silverman on her website

 

HEAR MORE On April 30 (7 p.m. PST) CAAM is hosting a Zoom conversation with Sula Bermúdez-Silverman and multimedia journalist and curator Walter Thompson-Hernández

 

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