signed with the artist’s initials “AE” lower right
oil and charcoal on canvas
48 x 60 in. (121.9 x 152.4 cm)
Executed in 2019
KAWS: WHAT PARTY
KAWS: WHAT PARTY is a sweeping survey featuring more than one hundred broad-ranging works, such as rarely seen graffiti drawings and notebooks, paintings and sculptures, smaller collectibles, furniture, and monumental installations of his popular COMPANION figures. It also features new pieces made uniquely for the exhibition along with his early-career altered advertisements.
KAWS, WHAT PARTY, 2020. Bronze, paint, 90 × 43 5/16 × 35 3/8 in. (228.6 × 110 × 89.9 cm). © KAWS. (Photo: Michael Biondo)
Dollar bills, sandwich bag, stem, staples, blunt, spray paint and acrylic on canvas
83 1/2 x 68 1/2 inches
Borrowing from Ike and Tina Turner’s song “Father Alone” (1974), this exhibition examines the vulnerabilities and expectations associated with single fatherhood. Having been raised in a single father home (with my father recently deceased) and now myself being a single father, I am interested in examining misconceptions, gender role combination, and celebrating heroism associated with being a single father.
This work capitalizes on nostalgic and autobiographical references – ranging from my childhood, my religious upbringings in the Bahamas, my relationship with my father, and my current role as a father. Notions of masculine paternal love, protection, loss and faith are examined throughout this work.
Religion is referenced often, as it played an important role in my upbringing. I question and make stealthy comments about Christian teachings, through coupling religious iconography with images of suggestive disasters, violence, abuse, death and grief. I employ a consistent palette of gold, white and ghostly transparencies, alluding to the degenerative journey between birth, death and the afterlife as understood through my Christian upbringing.
I have been developing a colony of anatomical sinew-like figures that I refer to as “Redbones.” Comprised primarily of exposed muscle fibers, the figures evoke strength, power and resilience. They also reference a harmony and sameness of mankind once stripped of race markings such as skin.
— Lavar Munroe (2020)
Lavar Munroe is an interdisciplinary artist whose work encompasses painting, drawing, sculpture and installation art. Munroe was born and raised in the impoverished and often marginalized Grants Town community in the Bahamas. His work functions as a reflection of the environment where he grew up, drawing from memory the crude graffiti on the walls that surrounded his street. Munroe maps a personal journey of survival and trauma in a world of gang violence, drugs, murder, self-discovery, development and overcoming obstacles through self-determination. Though inspired by the past, his energetic and unapologetic visual language confronts contemporary society and the difficult relationships between authority and the oppressed.
Lavar Munroe (b. 1982, Nassau, Bahamas) earned his BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2007 and his MFA from Washington University in 2013. In 2014, he was awarded a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Munroe was included in Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of The Swamp, the New Orleans triennial curated by Trevor Schoonmaker, and the 12th Dakar Biennale, curated by Simon Njami, in Senegal. In 2015, Munroe’s work was featured in All the World’s Futures, curated by Okwui Enwezor as part of the 56th Venice Biennale. Recent group shows include those at the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham; Perez Art Museum, Miami; National Gallery of Bahamas, Nassau; MAXXI Museum of Art, Rome; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco; Virginia Museum of Modern Art, Virginia Beach; and The Drawing Center, New York. Munroe was awarded residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, MacDowell Colony, the Headlands Center for the Arts, Joan Mitchell Center, Thread: Artist Residency & Cultural Center, a project of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and was an inaugural Artists in Residence at the Norton Museum of Art. He is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. Lavar Munroe lives and works between Baltimore, Maryland and Nassau, Bahamas.
December 5, 2020 — January 16, 2021
Long Museum (West Bund), Shanghai, China
November 11, 2020—January 17, 2021
Sàn chǎng: (of a theatre, cinema, etc.) empty after the show.
–The New Chinese-English Dictionary
Liu Wei (b.1972), represented by Long March Space, presents a large-scale solo exhibition OVER at Long Museum. The exhibition is one of China’s most anticipated of the year, showcasing recent installations, sculptures, and paintings from the established artist Liu Wei.
OVER represents Liu’s personal reflections on the unique moment in human history that is the year 2020. The artist transforms the Long Museum into a distant theater elevated above time and space, wherein the concepts, systems, and other causal relations of the world at this moment are thrown into a temporal vortex, resulting in Liu’s utterly original sculptures; a connecting theater of matters, figures, images, movement, and “void;” two or three dimensional “landscapes” of materials, colors, and lines; and a microcosm of the world’s current order called “microworld.”
The 2,800 square meters of exhibition space opens with a prelude, Dark Matter (2008/2020)—a site-specific installation representing hidden and invisible existence, in which one side leads to the earth and the other to the cosmos. Structurally, the entire exhibition pivots on its largest spatial installation, 1,098.1 Tons Desert (2020), wherein sand and desert serve as material and landscape indicators, drawing the viewer’s attention to the core regions of the world’s political, economic, and cultural conflicts—the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia, thus shedding light on land, capitalism, colonization, trade, and even climate issues. These become the key elements of OVER (2020), the central work of the exhibition.
OVER is a large-scale installation that combines elements of sculpture, video, and painting. Through a serious yet playful performative scenarios, it showcases two types of consciousness and power—the progressive ideal of futurism, communism, and suprematism, and the capitalist world order shaped by colonialism and imperialism—and how the constant collision of these polar ideas have constructed today’s world. To put it another way, OVER displays how the past world directed the unending drama of today’s world through ideas, images, symbols, object relations and regulation of the human body. Centering around OVER are a new series of sculptures named Because They Can (2020), two Microworlds of different dimensions, Dark Matter at the beginning, as if a selected series of specimens obtained via different means and through which we inspect the development of our world. The video work, Fruits for Breakfast (2017), depicts the changes that time and space impose upon physical matters. Painting also plays an important role in the exhibition’s narrative: a five-meter-wide abstract painting illustrates the beauty of our time while revealing its source: produced and defined by current image production technology. Correspondingly, in another new series of paintings, Liu calls forth his own body as a subject of perception and action, recording the individual’s contemplation of nature.
Looking at Liu Wei’s creative trajectory, the new works in OVER represent his new developments in the various media languages and methods. They also reflect the artist’s consistent contemplation of the body, matter, ideology, and global order—they are his commentary and manifesto on the world after a long period of observation and practice. Ultimately, the exhibition points to a path of transcendence: transcending the material world, time, space, the body, senses, and self-consciousness. Indeed, these works, together with the entire exhibition, are bidding farewell to the defunct and collapsing world of the past. Yet the end heralds a new beginning. Thus: OVER.
Farewell, era of matter and the body. The complex and broken civilization will send humankind as a whole into the ranks of the gods.
wood, iron, steel, black paint, 1022.2×1109.9×1010.6cm, 650cm each side, 2008/2020. Image courtesy of Liu Wei Studio
1098.1 Tons Desert
sand, glass, steel, 1100×1100×560cm, 2020. Image courtesy of Liu Wei Studio