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No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake at ICA

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For over 30 years, artist, educator, and curator Nayland Blake (b. 1960) has been a critical figure in American art, working between sculpture, drawing, performance, and video. No Wrong Holes marks the most comprehensive survey of Blake’s work to date and their first solo institutional presentation in Los Angeles at the Institute for Contemporary Art.

Gorge (video still), 1998 DVD video projection (color, audio) TRT: 60:00 min. Courtesy the artist and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

Heavily inspired by feminist and queer liberation movements, and subcultures ranging from punk to kink, Blake’s multidisciplinary practice considers the complexities of representation, particularly racial and gender identity; play and eroticism; and the subjective experience of desire, loss, and power.

The artist’s sustained meditation on “passing” and duality as a queer, biracial (African American and white) person is grounded in post-minimalist and conceptual approaches made personal through an idiosyncratic array of materials (such as leather, medical equipment, and food) and the tropes of fairy tales and fantasy.

Particular focus will be paid to work produced while Blake lived on the West Coast, first in the greater Los Angeles area as a graduate student at CalArts, followed by a decade in San Francisco—years bookended by the advancement of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and the “culture wars” of the 1990s.

Kit No. 7 (Flush), 1990 Rubber gloves, stainless steel cups, belt, hose, shelf, books 30x 45 x 5 in. (76 x 114 x 13 cm) Private Collection

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue designed by Content/Object, Los Angeles, with newly commissioned essays, key reprints, archival material, and content produced by the artist and others.

Equipment for a Shameful Epic, 1993 Mixed media 84 x 63 x 32 in. (213 x 160 x 81 cm) Courtesy of the artist and Mathew Marks Gallery, New York

On view through 26th January 2020

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