NEW NORMS of remote engagement have emerged from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the positive extensions of this development is galleries presenting online exhibitions, initially in lieu of and increasinly alongside in-person shows, expanding opportunities to experience new and recent works by artists. Shown here are five online exhibitions hosted by three galleries—Hauser & Wirth, Vielmetter Los Angeles, and David Kordansky.

David Kordansky is vocal about the police killing of George Floyd being “a dramatic wake-up call” leading him “to think of these notions of equity, diversity and inclusion in the space of my business.” The Los Angeles dealer has been seeking counsel from Black artists on his roster about how to contribute to durable change. He has added more people of color to his staff and contributed to a fellowship named for artist Charles Gaines providing partial tuition for Black MFA students at the California Institute of the Arts, where Kordansky studied with Gaines, a longstanding and highly regarded instructor at the school.

Currently, Kordansky’s gallery is presenting an exhibition curated by Claudia Rankine’s The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII), describing itself as the “West Coast outpost” for the organization. The gallery and TRII have been in conversation since 2018.

In these online exhibitions, Gaines, Amy Sherald, Edgar Arceneaux, Genevieve Gaignard, and artists presented by The Racial Imaginary Insitute are showing work made during isolation and/or in response to the current political moment:


CHARLES GAINES, Detail of “Numbers and Trees: Palm Canyon, Palm Trees Series 3, Tree #9, Georgia,” 2020 (acrylic sheet, acrylic paint, lacquer, wood, 121.9 x 61 x 8.9 cm / 48 x 24 x 3 1/2 inches). | © Charles Gaines, Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

“Charles Gaines: Numbers and Trees: Palm Canyon, Palm Trees Series 3,” Hauser & Wirth | Opened Aug. 17, 2020

Expanding on the works presented in “Charles Gaines. Palm Trees and Other Works” at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles in 2019, Charles Gaines is showing 10 Plexiglas gridworks conceived and produced in recent months during the pandemic isolation.


GENEVIEVE GAIGNARD, “White Lies,” 2020 (mixed media on panel, 20 x 16 x 1.5 inches / 50.8 x 40.64 x 3.81 cm). | © Genevieve Gaignard, Courtesy of the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles

“Genevieve Gaignard: A Long Way From Home,” Vielmetter Los Angeles | Aug. 27-Dec. 7, 2020

Los Angeles-based artist Genevieve Gaignard returned to her homestate of Massachusetts for a residency at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. This exhibition is presented in conjunction with her solo show at MCLA Berkshire Cultural Center’s Gallery 51, where she also curated “We Are More Than a Moment” (Aug. 12-Nov. 14), a group exhibition. Gaignard’s new collages “address the historical and political turbulence of race in America and the reemergence of Black Lives Matter protests in response to the death of George Floyd.” Gaignard talks about the exhibition, her latest works, and the experience of going home in this video.


KIYAN WILLIAMS, “How Do You Properly Fry an American Flag (Study 2),” 2020 (nylon flag flown over the U.S. Capitol Building deep-fried in oil, flour, salt, and paprika on vellum, flag dimensions: 4 x 6 inches / 10.2 x 15.2 cm; framed; 16 3/4 x 19 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches / 42.5 x 50.2 x 3.8 cm). | © Kiyan Williams, Courtesy the artist and David Kordansky Gallery

“Listening For the Unsaid,” Curated by The Racial Imaginary Institute, David Kordansky Gallery | Oct. 21-Nov. 18, 2020

Established in 2016 by author and poet Claudia Rankine, The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII) “seeks to change the way we imagine race in the U.S. and internationally by lifting up and connecting the work of artists, writers, knowledge-producers, and activists with audiences seeking thoughtful, innovative conversations and experiences.” Curated by TRII, this group exhibition brings together creatives across disciplines “whose work renders the multitude of Black life and engages strategies for imagining counterhistories.” Works by Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Anaïs Duplan, Nona Faustine, Jon Henry, Nate Lewis, Azikiwe Mohammed, Public Assistants, and Kiyan Williams are featured alongside words by Columbia University scholar Saidiya Hartman.


AMY SHERALD, “Untitled,” 2020 (gouache on paper, 27.9 x 19.1 cm / 11 x 7 1/2 inches). | © Amy Sherald, Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

“Amy Sherald: Womanist is to Feminist as Purple is to Lavender,” Hauser & Wirth | Opened Oct. 19, 2020

This exhibition presents five small-scale portraits Amy Sherald made during the pandemic at her kitchen table, using gouache for the first time since childhood. The title of the show was inspired by the words of Alice Walker. Sherald said: “These are less portraits of women than of a state of centeredness, relaxation, and security.”


EDGAR ARCENEAUX, “Sunset,” 2015-2020 (photographic print, 20 x 36 inches / 50.8 x 91.44 cm, unframed; 23.5 x 39.5 x 2 inches / 59.69 x 100.33 x 5.08 cm, framed; Edition 1 of 5, 2 AP). | © Edgar Arceneaux, Courtesy the artist and Vielmetter Los Angeles

“Edgar Arceneaux”Until, Until, Until…The Presidential Bookend Series (2015-2020),” Vielmetter Los Angeles | Oct. 24-Nov. 21, 2020

In 2015, Edgar Arceneaux presented his first live work, a recreation of Ben Vereen’s infamous performance at Ronald Reagan’s 1981 inaugural celebration. Appearing in blackface, Vereen offered an homage to vaudeville performer Bert Williams that concluded with “a biting commentary on the history of Black performance, assimilation into white norms, and white supremacy,” footage the television audience didn’t see. The censored version skewed viewers opinions of the performance and the actor. This exhibition features eight images documenting Arceneaux’s re-staging.


Claudia Rankine, who founded The Racial Imaginary Institute, authored the award-winning bestseller “Citizen: An American Lyric” and “Just Us: An American Conversation,” which was published in September. Rankine has also released a few other titles. “Charles Gaines: Palm Trees and Other Works” documents the artist’s many works inspired by palm trees in the California desert. “Charles Gaines: Gridwork: 1974-1989” explores the wider practice of Charles Gaines. Also consider, the two-volume exhibition catalog “Snake River: Charles Gaines & Edgar Arceneaux” and “Lost Library Edgar Arceneaux,” which documents a 2003 exhibition in Cologne, Germany. “Amy Sherald” is the artist’s first monograph. Amy Sherald is also represented in “The Obama Portraits.” The volume documents the official portrait she made of First Lady Michelle Obama, which was commissioned by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.


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