A major solo exhibition by the Los Angeles-based artist Rodney McMillian—his first in a New York City museum—will fill the main gallery of The Studio Museum in Harlem when the spring exhibition season begins on March 24, 2016. Joining Rodney McMillian: Views of Main Street, and remaining on view with it through June 26, will be new projects by Ebony G. Patterson and Rashaad Newsome, a pair of thematic installations from the unparalleled permanent collection and the latest presentation in the exhibition series Harlem Postcards.
Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum, said, “This spring’s exhibitions offer insights from three vital artists with burgeoning reputations who are doing exceptionally inventive and multifaceted work at mid-career. We are proud to welcome them to their first solo exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem. We are also delighted
to frame these new and recent works with presentations that bring out critical aspects of our superb and growing permanent collection.”For more than a decade, Rodney McMillian has been exploring the domain of home as part of a larger examination of the intersection of race, class, gender and socioeconomic policy. Rodney McMillian: Views of Main Street is the first exhibition to reveal the full trajectory of this major aspect of the artist’s complex and varied practice in painting, sculpture, video and performance. Curated by Naima J. Keith, Associate Curator at the Studio Museum, in close collaboration with the artist,
the exhibition brings together more than twenty key works made from 2003 to the present that use symbols of domesticity to scrutinize the political and economic biases within the myth of a universal, middle-class “Main Street.”
In works such as Couch… (2012)—a sateen sofa sawed in half and then cemented back together—McMillian uses post-consumer objects including discarded mattresses, carpets, chairs and bedsheets as both the material and the subject matter of his art, as he evokes the physical, psychological and economic distress of communities hit by loan defaults, home foreclosures and unemployment. McMillian juxtaposes these sculptures with works such as
Untitled (The Supreme Court Painting) (2004-06) that challenge the terms that government and the media use to discuss justice, democracy and the rights of citizens in their private space, especially as these political ideals are experienced by African Americans.
“As the title suggests, I hope this exhibition will bring out the complexities of the conversations that happen on different Main Streets, with their disparities of race, class and economics,” Rodney McMillian said. “Perhaps more important, I hope to
question what ‘Main Street’ means. When I’ve heard
that expression, I have never believed it referred to me
or other African Americans, regardless of our economic
￼Rodney McMillian (b. 1969, Columbia, SC) received his
MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2002. He
is also an alumnus of the Skowhegan School of Painting
& Sculpture and the School of the Art Institute of
Chicago. His work has been featured in past exhibitions
at the Studio Museum, including When the Stars Begin
to Fall (2014), The Bearden Project (2012), Philosophy
of Time Travel (2007) and Frequency (2005). His works
are in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Orange County Museum of Art; Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and The Studio Museum in Harlem. Learn more here.