NYC Exhibitions. Nina Chanel Abney. Jack Shainman Gallery

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November 12: Nina Chanel Abney, “The Great Escape”. Opening November 12: Nina Chanel Abney, “The Great Escape”

Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to present The Great Escapean exhibition of new work by Nina Chanel Abney at our 513 West 20th Street and 524 West 24th Street locations opening Thursday, November 12. Please note there will not be an opening reception.

The gallery is taking the following health and safety precautions. Please do not come to the gallery if you are feeling unwell. Gallery visitors and staff will be required to wear a mask at all times. Hand sanitizer will be available at the gallery entrance. Please observe social distancing guidelines of six feet with all other visitors and staff. We will be limiting visitors, so we appreciate your understanding and cooperation if you are asked to wait outside before entering.

Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to announce Nina Chanel Abney’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, which will be held in both our 513 West 20th Street and 524 West 24th Street galleries. The Great Escape explores the concept of a communal Arcadia, created for us, by us.

Is there space for Black autonomy in a world organized by white supremacy? If it were an actual place – a space absent of race relations, antagonistic or friendly – what would it look like? This series responds to these questions by reimagining Black people’s relationship to nature, property, and each other. Taking inspiration from the fugitive utopias of Black queer social life, these scenes refuse the enclosure of Blackness to topographies of the city and to ideals of heteronormativity. Instead, communal living in rural, wooded outdoors figures as a place for the performance of a Black autonomy that evades the ballistic force of the white gaze.

The art historical association of pastoral landscapes with whiteness is fraught; the deep history of expropriation, disenfranchisement, and value extraction that Black people have endured in relation to land requires us to interrogate white supremacist concepts of “belonging” as both property and propriety. Taking this terroristic history of white appropriation into account, these paintings propose idyllic scenes of Blackness steeped in care, cultivation, and collective leisure as a figuration of refuge and radical reparation.

– Nina Chanel Abney, November 2020

Abney was born in Chicago and currently lives and works in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her work is included in public collections including the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; the Whitney Museum, New York, NY; the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL; the Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, North Carolina; and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA.

Abney’s first solo museum exhibition, Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush, curated by Marshall Price, Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, was presented in 2017 at the Nasher Museum of Art. It traveled to the Chicago Cultural Center, IL, before it was jointly presented by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, and the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA. The final venue for the exhibition was the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of Harrison, NY. The exhibition was accompanied by a comprehensive, fully-illustrated hardcover catalogue with critical essays by Price, as well as Jamillah James, curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Natalie Y. Moore, a South Side bureau reporter for Chicago Public Media, WBEZ; and Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History at Duke University.

Upcoming exhibitions include Gordon Parks, opening in both our 20th Street and 24th Street galleries on January 7, 2020.

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