CURRENTLY ON VIEW IN NEW YORK, London-based John Akomfrah is presenting a new film project he’s been continuously working on since March 2020 at Lisson Gallery. It’s an “archive of today, made in real-time.” Inaugural solo exhibitions of Chicago photographer Dawoud Bey and Los Angeles artist Calida Rawles are featured at Sean Kelly and Lehmann Maupin, their respective new galleries. Known for photography, Zanele Muholi is showing painted self portraits at Yancey Richardson. At Levy Gory, Mickalene Thomas has launched the first chapter of a four-location exhibition unfolding across the globe.


CALIDA RAWLES, “On the Other Side of Everything,” 2021 (acrylic on canvas, 72 x 60 inches / 182.88 x 152.4 cm). | © Calida Rawles, Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, London

“Calida Rawles: On the Other Side of Everything” @ Lehmann Maupin, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 9–Oct. 23, 2021

Los Angeles-based artist Calida Rawles captures her subjects underwater, “a space that signifies renewal and leisure but has also been historically charged for Black bodies.” The four paintings on view are the most abstracted images she has produced. Rawles joined Lehmann Maupin in February. This is her first exhibition with the gallery and her first solo show in New York.


Installation view of JOHN AKOMFRAH, “Five Murmurations,” 2021 (Three channel HD black and white video installation, 7:1 sound, 54 minutes, 39 seconds), Edition 1 of 5 + 2 APs. | © John Akomfrah, Courtesy Lisson Gallery

“John Akomfrah: Five Murmurations” @ Lisson Gallery, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 9-Oct. 16, 2021

Described as “the longest continuous-running project of his career,” London-based artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah is presenting a three-screen video installation that documents recent world-changing events. He began working on the project in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic isolation and continued through the ongoing racial reckoning and the ever-urgent issue of climate change, seeking to illuminate how individuals and communities are experiencing and coping with the crises. The work is presented in five chapters or “murmurations,” referencing the tight formations in which flocks of birds fly as a defense posture against predators.


MICKALENE THOMAS, “September 1977,” 2021 (rhinestone, acrylic, and oil on canvas mounted on wood panel with mahogany frame, 110 1/8 x 92 3/16 inches / 279.7 x 234.2 cm). | © Mickalene Thomas, Courtesy the artist and Levy Gorvy

“Mickalene Thomas: Beyond the Pleasure Principle” @ Levy Gorvy Gallery, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 9-Nov. 13, 2021

Brooklyn-based Mickalene Thomas is showing a new body of work, 10 collage paintings featuring Jet pinup models. The exhibition launches the artist’s global presentation of four solo shows with Levy Gorvy. Forthcoming exhibitions will be staged in London, Paris, and Hong Kong.


Installation view of “Zanele Muholi: Awe Maaah!” Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, N.Y. (Sept. 10-Oct. 16, 2021). Shown, From left, ZANELE MUHOLI “Somile” (2021), “Itha” (2021) and, in foreground at right, “Zibuyile” (2021).| Courtesy Yancey Richardson

“Zanele Muholi: Awe Maaah!” @ Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 10-Oct. 16, 2021

The isolation of the pandemic posed challenges to Zanele Muholi‘s photography practice so they turned to painting, a practical decision and meditative exercise. The first large-scale exhibition of Muholi’s paintings features seven acrylic on canvas self portraits and new photographs from the ongoing series Somnyama Ngonyama/Hail the Dark Lioness (2012-present). Muholi lives and works in South Africa.


DAWOUD BEY, “Trees and Barn,” 2019 (gelatin silver print; framed: 49 x 60 x 2 inches / 124.5 x 152.4 x 5.1 cm; Edition of 6 with 2 APs). | © Dawoud Bey, Courtesy the artist and Sean Kelly Gallery

“Dawoud Bey: In This Here Place” @ Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, N.Y. | Sept. 10-Oct. 23, 2021

Chicago-based photographer Dawoud Bey joined Sean Kelly in October 2019. For his first exhibition with the gallery, Bey is presenting the third body of work in his history series, an “ongoing examination of African American history and his efforts to make the Black past resonant in the contemporary moment.” The black-and-white images were photographed in Louisiana along the west banks of the Mississippi River and at several plantations. He is also debuting a three-channel video. The gallery show coincides with “Dawoud Bey: An American Project,” the artist’s survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art through Oct. 3. CT


“John Akomfrah” is the first monograph of British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah. The 2018 volume accompanied his first survey in the United States at the New Museum in New York. Another self-titled publication, “John Akomfrah” explores three film installations by the artist: The Airport (2016), Auto Da Fé (2016), and Tropikos (2016). “Co-existence of Times: A Conversation with John Akomfrah” was published last month. The monograph “Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness” features more than 90 photographic self portraits by Muholi with more than 20 written contributions by curators, poets, and authors. “Zanele Muholi” was published earlier this year to accompany a survey of the artist at Tate Modern in London. A major volume, “Dawoud Bey: Seeing Deeply” explores Chicago photographer Dawoud Bey’s work over the past 40 years. Also consider “Dawoud Bey: Two American Projects” and “Dawoud Bey on Photographing People and Communities: The Photography Workshop Series.” Calida Rawles illustrated the cover of “The Water Dancer,” the first novel by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Several volumes explore the work of Mickalene Thomas. The artist’s first comprehensive monograph, “Mickalene Thomas” is forthcoming in November.


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