IN NEW YORK CITY, four must-see solo exhibitions showcase works by artists with singular practices: Lorraine O’Grady, Terry Adkins, Tavares Strachan, and Lauren Halsey. Spanning three generations, the artists work across multiple mediums mining Black history, culture, and experience through conceptual lenses. The gallery shows close this weekend:


LORRAINE O’GRADY, “Gaze,” 1991/2019 (archival pigment print on Hahnemühle Baryta pure cotton photo rag paper in 4 parts, 24 x 20 inches each / 61 x 50.8 cm each). | © Lorraine O’Grady, Courtesy the artist and Alexander Gray Associates

Lorraine O’Grady: Body Is the Ground of My Experience @ Alexander Gray Associates, 510 West 26 Street | April 28–June 11, 2022

After making a name for herself as a performance artist, transforming herself into memorable personas such as Mlle Bourgeoise Noire (1980–83), New York artist Lorraine O’Grady, 87, presented her first solo exhibition of wall-based works at INTAR Gallery in New York. The 1991 exhibition featured black-and-white photomontages in which the body continued to serve as a source of expression, “a conceptual through line and field for engagement.” The current exhibition marks the first time in more than 30 years that the complete body of work (“Body Is the Ground of My Experience”) has been shown in New York City.

“Drawing on formal strategies of Surrealism and on Lorraine O’Grady’s own visceral, nuanced engagement with aesthetics, representation, and cultural history, these diptychs are both a turning point, from live performance to wall installation, and a refined iteration of the complex politically and personally radical theses and practices that have occupied the artist throughout her career.”


TERRY ADKINS, “Matinee,” (brass drum with image, steel armature, welded bronze, 28 hangers-burnt cork). | © Estate of Terry Adkins, Courtesy the estate and Paula Cooper Gallery

Terry Adkins @ Paula Cooper Gallery, 524 W 26th Street | April 22 – June 11, 2022

A conceptual artist and musician, the work of Terry Adkins (1953-2014) is rooted in history, music, and language. He repurposed found objects, reimagined instruments, and described many of his works as “recitals,” installations and performances that often served as abstracted portraits bringing visibility to the layered biographies to African American cultural figures. After announcing its representation of the artist’s estate in October 2021, this presentation of sculpture, drawings, and video spanning three decades is the first solo exhibition of Adkins at Paula Cooper Gallery.

“Beginning in the early 1980s, Adkins produced enigmatic sculpture from salvaged materials imbued with social and historical significance by their previous uses. The manufactured forms of the works reference minimalism in their symmetry and remarkable elegance, while the irregular patinas reveal the past lives of distinct parts.”


TAVARES STRACHAN, “Allegiance,” 2022 (2 panels: oil, enamel, pigment, acrylic, matboard, 42 x 84 inches / 106.7 x 213.4 cm, each; 84 x 84 inches / 213.4 x 213.4 cm, overall). | © Tavares Strachan, Courtesy the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery

Tavares Strachan: The Awakening @ Marian Goodman Gallery, 24 West 57th Street | May 6 – June 11, 2022

Tavares Strachan’s latest exhibition is informed by the life and work of Marcus Garvey. “Tavares Strachan: The Awakening,” the artist’s debut solo show at Marian Goodman Gallery’s New York space, is the first in a trio of exhibitions. The series continues in Paris this fall. “In Total Darkness” opens in October at Galerie Marian Goodman and runs concurrently with “In Broad Daylight” at Perrotin. Born in the Bahamas, Strachan splits his time between New York City and Nassau.

“An artist committed to redressing historical bias, Tavares Strachan mines the archives of history to turn the lens in a different direction and to invert the trans-Atlantic story. Drawing on influences that span from jazz, reggae, hip-hop, to sports and culture, science and space, Strachan applies a dub aesthetic within his practice, sampling and recombining from sites of human ambition and the archives of history to create works that address a dynamic range of subjects and counter established narratives.”


At David Kordansky New York, Installation view of LAUREN HALSEY, “My Hope,” 2022 (mixed media, installation dimensions variable; Approximate installation dimensions: 152 x 214 x 125 inches / 386.1 x 543.6 x 317.5 cm). | © Lauren Halsey, Courtesy the artist and David Kordansy Gallery

Lauren Halsey @ David Kordansky Gallery, 520 W. 20th Street | May 6-June 11, 2022

Los Angeles-based David Kordansky Gallery is launching its new New York City location with an exhibition dedicated to Lauren Halsey. The artist is presenting a variety of works that pay homage to the history and culture of South Central Los Angeles, her generational home. Expanding several ongoing series, the featured works include new box sculptures, “funkmound” sculptures, wall reliefs, 12-foot high columns, works composed of synthetic hair, and a sculptural streetscape. CT

“Lauren Halsey imagines new possibilities for art, architecture, and community engagement. Combining found, fabricated, and handmade objects, her work maintains a sense of civic urgency and free-flowing imagination, addressing crucial issues confronting Black people, queer populations, and the working class. Critiques of gentrification and disenfranchisement are accompanied by real-world proposals as well as celebration of on-the-ground aesthetics.”


Exhibitions are free. Check with each gallery for COVID-19 visiting requirements


Three recent publications explore work of Lorraine O’Grady: “Writing in Space, 1973–2019,” which gathers the artist’s writings; “Speaking Out of Turn: Lorraine O’Grady and the Art of Language” by Stephanie Sparling Williams; and the catalog “Lorraine O’Grady: Both/And,” which accompanied her long-overdue survey organized by the Brooklyn Museum. “Terry Adkins: Recital” examines the entire career of the artist. Also consider, “Terry Adkins: The Smooth, the Cut, and the Assembled” and “Terry Adkins: Resounding.” Meanwhile, “Lauren Halsey: Mohn Award 2018” documents Halsey’s participation in Made in LA, where she won the Hammer Museum biennial’s coveted artist award. “Tavares Strachan: I Belong Here” was published in 2013 and “Tavares Strachan: In Plain Sight” is forthcoming in September.


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