Still Lifes in Contemporary Art

Curated by Monique Long
March 31, 2022
August 21, 2022
Third Floor Gallery


Devan Shimoyama, For Tamir VII, 2019. Silk flowers, rhinestones, jewelry, canvas, found objects and chains on industrial vinyl swing seat. 18 x 22 x 8 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

About the Exhibition

Elegies: Still Lifes in Contemporary Art is a group exhibition bringing together an international group of artists who have disrupted or extended the traditional presentation of still lifes. The artists have appropriated the genre in order to create works within a framework of Black diasporic identities, histories, and collective experiences. The works are expressed through various mediums, including painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking, performance, and installation. Many of the artists are primarily known for portraiture, therefore the still lifes are compelling outliers in their practices. A central discourse in this exhibition considers Blackness in relation to the existential question, “How does an artist create work about the body without the body being present?” resulting in political, historical, and art historical interventions. Elegies is a thematic exhibition that presents two parallel narratives: one is an art historical examination of still lifes and the other is how that history is connected to Black figuration. Elegies presents the work of over fifteen contemporary artists, listed below.

Toyin Ojih Odutola, Repurposing the Function, 2018. Pastel, charcoal and pencil on paper. 19 x 23 3/4 in. (paper); 24 1/2 x 29 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. (framed). Courtesy of the artist.

List of Artists

Sadie Barnette, LaKela Brown, Elizabeth Colomba, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, David Antonio Cruz, Awol Erizku, Leslie Hewitt, Yashua Klos, Deana Lawson, Azikiwe Mohammed, Rashaad Newsome, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Devan Shimoyama, William Villalongo, Brittney Leeanne Williams

Featured image here and at top of page: Brittney Leeanne Williams, Untitled (Birds of Paradise), 2018. Acrylic on canvas. 10 x 10 in. Copyright the artist. Courtesy of the artist and Alexander Berggruen, NY.

Upcoming Program & Event in-person at MoAD:

Artist and Curator Talk Elegies: The Art of the Still Life

THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2022 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

Visit the Program & Event Page

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