News

  • PERSONA

    Project For Empty Space is pleased to present PERSONA a solo exhibition of works by Artist in Residence Wardell Milan. Wardell Milan is an artist with a poetic penchant for addressing issues of marginality, invisibility, or ‘freakishness’ with a grace and beauty that coaxes the grotesque to become the gorgeous. Wardell Milan’s PERSONA is an exhibition featuring new work by the artist that explores many of the socially inspired themes that frequently recur in the artist’s practice: queerness, peripherality, mental illness, fetish, and capitalistic value systems. The exhibition features some of Milan’s well known large-scale mixed media drawings from A Series of Inspiring Women (2012- 2016) and various portraits that portray androgyny, queerness, and the beauty of the ambiguous. The show additionally includes an entirely new series of collage works inspired by the photographic work of Diane Arbus and Robert Mapplethorpe's Black Book. These works on paper directly confront the issues of marginality within the intersectional context of race and sexual identity. The exhibition will open to the public on Wednesday, September 6th, with a reception from 6 - 8 PM at the PES gallery located at 2 Gateway Center, Newark, NJ. Project For Empty Space [at] Gateway Project Spaces 2 Gateway Center, #Newark www.projectforemptyspace.org
  • Their Own Harlems

    Included artist in Studio Museum in Harlem's exhibition,Their Own Harlems. In honor of the centennial of the birth of Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000), Their Own Harlems examines the ways in which the urban landscape has influenced Lawrence’s artistic practice, as well as that of other artists. Known primarily for his bodies of work that depict historical figures, Lawrence was also a keen observer of contemporary life, drawing inspiration throughout his career from the years he spent living in Harlem. He thought of Harlem in a broad sense, acknowledging the powerful and positive experiences people of African descent across the country could find in “their own Harlems.” The works in this exhibition thus consider different aspects of urban life, such as the ritual of moving through the city and the direct observation of scenes on the street, to illustrate how the city has served as a source of inspiration for artists across generations.
  • Past

  • Recipient of The African American Trailblazer Award, 2017

    The Trailblazer Award is dedicated to recognizing and honoring the accomplishments of African Americans affiliated with The University of Tennessee who are trailblazers in their disciplines or within the fields of diversity, inclusion, and social justice.
  • Robert Rauschenberg Artist-in-Residence, 2017

    The Rauschenberg Residency is a creative center that welcomes artists of all disciplines from around the world to live, work, and create. The residency is located on Robert Rauschenberg’s former property on Captiva Island, Florida, where he lived and worked for nearly four decades. The facility, which includes the 8,000-square-foot studio Rauschenberg built in 1992 and a collection of historic homes and studio spaces, is infused with beauty and tranquility and marked by its unique history. The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation launched the residency program in 2012–13 with a series of five pilot residencies that served to inform and shape the program. There are up to seven five- and six-week residencies a year that serve over seventy artists and other individuals of exceptional talent and promise. Selectors anonymously identify artists and creative thinkers from a diverse mix of disciplines, backgrounds, ages, and career levels, who are interested in working in an interdisciplinary environment and are open to the idea of collaboration.
  • The University of The Arts, Von Hess Visiting Artist Program

    2016 Von Hess Artist in Residence. Through the generosity of the Richard C. Von Hess Foundation, the Borowsky Center for Publication Arts invites visiting artists to explore the creative potential of the offset medium. The Center facilitates image making as a synthesis of handwork, photography, and digital imagery. All imaginable combinations of traditional and electronic prepress are the subjects of experimentation. Selected artists work with a master printer in the Center to create an original print or an artist book. These artists are recommended from a broad array of disciplines including fine arts, photography, illustration and graphic design. The average residency is 3-5 days. In that time the artist will work on their project, participate in dialog with students who are interested in seeing the progress of the piece, and give a public lecture/presentation of their work to the University community.
  • Making & Unmaking: An exhibition curated by Duro Olowu

    Making & Unmaking, curated by Duro Olowu (b. 1965, Lagos), is the latest in Camden Arts Center series of artist-selected shows. Duro Olowu is a celebrated fashion designer whose bold innovations with pattern, colour and shape reveal his early influences living between Nigeria and Europe, and his ongoing fascination with the world. His fluency with diverse aesthetics can be seen in the clothes he makes as well as the exhibitions he has curated, which combine antique textiles with his own fabric designs, bringing together discordant colours and patterns alongside disparate cultural forms. Filling all three galleries, the Central Space, Reading Room and Garden, this exhibition draws together over 70 artists from around the world spanning this century and the last, including 19th century textiles made by unknown hands. Individually, each work has a story to tell; collectively, they begin a conversation in which visual, narrative and thematic relationships unfold. This eclectic collage of works, some of which have strong political undercurrents, addresses issues surrounding cultural identity, sexuality and the representation of the body. Olowu’s exhibition invites a multifaceted journey of encounters with the intuition, skill and vision of the artists represented within it. Artists featured: Caroline Achaintre, Marina Adams, Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou, Anni Albers, Tasha Amini, Hurvin Anderson, Polly Apfelbaum, Tony Armstrong Jones, Emheyo Bahabba, Walead Beshty, Alighiero Boetti, Louise Bourgeois, Carol Bove, Lisa Brice, James Brown, Zoe Buckman, Claude Cahun, Lygia Clark, Céline Condorelli, Tommaso Corvi-Mora, Dossa Z. Cosme, Alexandre da Cunha, Andreas Eriksson, Meredith Frampton, Simon Fujiwara, Anya Gallaccio, Hassan Hajjaj, Sheila Hicks, Donna Huddleston, Diane Itter, Isaac Julien, Neil Kenlock, Fernand Léger, Eric Mack, Peter McDonald, Rodney McMillian, Hamidou Maiga, Ari Marcopoulos, Brice Marden, Wardell Milan, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Wangechi Mutu, Alice Neel, Nobukho Nqaba, Chris Ofili, Horace Ové CBE, Irving Penn, Tal R, Michael Roberts, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Malick Sidibé, Lorna Simpson, Daniel Sinsel, Christiana Soulou, Dorothea Tanning, Henry Taylor, thousand pictures, Bill Traylor, Francis Upritchard, Al Vandenberg, Brent Wadden, Grace Wales Bonner, Rebecca Ward, West African Textiles, Stanley Whitney, Kehinde Wiley, Masaaki Yamada, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. On view, 19 June - 18 September 2016
  • The Charming Hour

    September 10 - October 17, 2015 Opening reception: Thursday, September 10, 6-8pm David Nolan Gallery announces The Charming Hour, Wardell Milan’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. On view from September 10 through October 17, 2015, the exhibition will include a group of new works, and coincides with a fully illustrated monograph on the artist, published by OSMOS. Over the last decade, Milan (b. 1977, Knoxville, Tennessee) has become known for his expansive practice, which includes drawing, collage, photo-diorama, and more recently, painting. Throughout these diverse media, the artist sustains a thoughtful enquiry into the nature of selfidentity, beauty, the unconscious, and sexuality. In much of his work, Milan draws liberally from a range of sources that include magazine imagery, historical artworks, family snapshots, and illustrated books. In two eight-foot wide drawings, the artist casts the viewer in the role of casual observer to a host of naked figures who express various states of contemplation and relaxation. Milan presents these leisurely figures against idyllic scenery abound with lush flora: exotic flowers, ferns, and wild strawberries – all of which provide a verdant setting for subtle narratives to unfold. Occupying the extreme foreground of the composition, these unconventional bodies are the result of the artist’s ongoing interest in the deconstructed human form, which he renders by way of viscerally shaded volumes. Paralleling his large-scale drawings, Milan’s new photographic works – which document the tabletop dioramas he constructs in his studio – continue the vision of a dreamlike setting in which fanciful events transpire. In order to make these works, the artist carefully cuts out props and characters from a vast array of visual material before photographing the arrangements in his studio. In these works, personal images of the artist and his family coexist alongside imagery culled from porn magazines and art historical sources from Paul Gauguin to Lucien Freud. In this distinctive approach, Milan weaves together elements of his own biography within a broader landscape of vernacular culture. The subject of flora takes on a singular focus in the artist’s series of “Tulip” works. These images began as a reference to the popular flower craze in seventeenth-century Holland, which culminated in an economic bubble that ultimately collapsed after a period of burgeoning trade. For Milan, the “Tulips” serve as a powerful metaphor for the frailty of any financial system. Starting in 2008, the series has until now chiefly consisted of works on paper. The elegant new paintings on view in the exhibition represent his first foray into the medium in his decade-long career.
  • Studio Salon: Book signing

    Studio Museum in Harlem Thursday, December 17, 2015 6:30 - 9.30pm In celebrating the publication of exhibiting artist Wardell Milan’s first monograph, this program will also celebrate his 10-year history with the Museum. Join us for an intimate book-signing with Milan, followed by a panel discussion where he will be joined by Alvin Hall—an internationally renowned financial educator, television and radio broadcaster, and author who contributed to the monograph—and Lauren Haynes, Associate Curator, Permanent Collection who organized the exhibition. Together, they will explore the evolution of Milan’s practice over the course of the past decade, beginning with his inclusion in Frequency in 2005 and moving on to unpack the role the Artist-in-Residence program and subsequent Museum exhibitions have played in his maturation as an artist.
  • Studio Museum in Harlem

    Participating artist in Studio Museum in Harlem's, Black: Color, Material, Concept. Works in this exhibition explore the ways that modern and contemporary artists of African descent consider the possibilities of “black” through their choice of media, their imagery and the ideas they bring to their work. As an element of art and design, “black” can have amazingly rich gradation of tones and depths. As a word, it a single syllable that can fill columns in a dictionary. As a social construction, it is one of the most highly charged and proudly asserted realities in American life. The exhibition includes more than two dozen paintings, sculptures and prints, drawn primarily from the Studio Museum’s permanent collection. The artists represented in the exhibition range from modernist elders such as Sam Gilliam and Jack Whitten, to a mid-century generation that includes Kerry James Marshall, Glenn Ligon, Leonardo Drew, and Nari Ward, to artists who came of age in the post-Civil Rights era, such as Kara Walker, Noah Davis and Kameelah Janan Rasheed. Black: Color, Material, Concept is organized by Lauren Haynes, Associate Curator, Permanent Collection.
  • Vitamin D2: New Perspectives in Drawing

    An up-to-the-minute survey of contemporary drawing featuring 115 artists from around the world, Vitamin D2 allows the reader to look at the medium in detail and study drawing's unique properties in relation to itself, to contemporary art and to the world at large. Phaidon's influential Vitamin series began in 2002, offering an overview of current practice in a single medium within the arts. Published by Phaidon
  • WHITE PETALS SURROUND YOUR YELLOW HEART

    White Petals Surround Your Yellow Heart presents the work of artists engaged with clothing, adornment, and self-presentation to highlight the inventive design, tactical implementation, or sartorial sense by which we multiply and complete our personalities. This group exhibition takes inspiration from this definition by novelist JG Ballard—"Fashion: A recognition that nature has endowed us with one skin too few, and that a fully sentient being should wear its nervous system externally." Institute of Contemporary Art - University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. FEB 6, 2013 - JUL 28, 2013
  • MoMA PS1 Greater New York

    Participating artist in MoMA PS1's fourth iteration of its landmark exhibition series, Greater New York. Recurring every five years, the exhibition has traditionally showcased the work of emerging artists living and working in the New York metropolitan area. Greater New York arrives in a city and art community that has changed significantly since the first version of the survey. With the rise of a robust commercial art market and the proliferation of art fairs, opportunities for younger artists in the city have grown alongside a burgeoning interest in artists who may have been overlooked in the art histories of their time. Concurrently, the city itself is being reshaped by a voracious real estate market that poses particular challenges to local artists. The speed of this change in recent years has stoked a nostalgia for earlier periods in New York—notably the 1970s and 1980s, and the experimental practices and attitudes that flourished in the city during those decades. Against this backdrop, Greater New York departs from the show’s traditional focus on youth, instead examining points of connection and tension between our desire for the new and nostalgia for that which it displaces. On view October 11, 2015-March 7, 2016
  • Publication of first monograph

    Wardell Milan Monograph / Edited by Cay Sophie Rabinowitz / Published by Osmos / Texts by Carter Foster, Leslie Hewitt, Alvin Hall / Pub date: Fall 2015 Wardell Milan’s first-ever monograph, covering the breadth of his studio and exhibition practice over the course of the past decade and leading into the next. Milan has continued to challenge conventions of medium and message in his deeply personal and prolific work, which has been exhibited internationally.
  • Show (Untitled) Parisian Landscapes

    Curated by Isolde Brielmaier, Show (Untitled) Parisian Landscapes, presents work from Parisian Landscapes. The series of four separate but related bodies or “chapters” from the project titled The Kingdom or Exile. Dealing with topics such as the unconscious, voyeurism, love, the supremacy of nature, and melancholy, the work is engaged with themes related to absurdism, and the writings of Albert Camus, and Baudelaire. Osmos Address, 50 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003
  • Recipient of a 2014 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant

    The Foundation for Contemporary Arts was started in 1963 by visual artists in a spirit of community, hoping to assist and encourage innovation, experimentation and potential in the arts. The Fourteen unrestricted Grants to Artist Award of $30,000 each—a total of $420,000—are to be made to individual artists and one collective in the United States. Nominated confidentially by prominent artists and arts professionals and selected by the Directors of the Foundation and noted members of the arts community
  • The Confident Line

    The Confident Line George Grosz, Wardell Milan, Andy Warhol February 5 – March 14, 2015 David Nolan Gallery is pleased to present The Confident Line, a three-person show featuring George Grosz, Wardell Milan, and Andy Warhol. On view from February 5 through March 14, this trigenerational exhibition explores links between the three artists, each active in distinct historical time periods. Focusing on drawn works, the show reveals a common interest in the human figure, which in their various hands, is stylized in subtle but instantly recognizable ways. All three adoptive New Yorkers, the artists in this exhibition are known for their socially critical work, which address and comment on particular worldviews. During the 1920s, George Grosz (1893–1959) was engaged in making works that satirized the social and political life in Weimar Republic. Conversely, Andy Warhol (1928–1987), who shared Grosz’s childlike fascination with the United States, maintained an ongoing reverence for the capitalist system. Originally established as a commercial illustrator, Warhol took as his subject matter the everyday products of consumerist society. Through the 1960s he associated himself with the counterculture movement and its unconventional followers, among them musicians, drug addicts, and drag queens. Grosz portrayed a range of society’s citizens, as in Arbeitsloser [Unemployed], 1924 and Spectators at the Boxing Match…, 1936. Atypical subjects – and more specifically issues of gender as manifested in society – are critical to Wardell Milan’s (b. 1977) practice as well. His recent series of drawings (resembling hermaphrodites), questions established ideas about sexuality, while challenging the traditional definition of beauty. The erotic thread that runs through Milan’s practice is echoed in the exhibition in other works by Grosz and Warhol. Grosz’s boldly expressed drawings of nude men and women, in various states of physical contortion, form a natural precedent to Milan’s “hermaphrodites.” Elsewhere, the theme of the “Standing Male” is also picked up by Warhol in an important drawing from c. 1955. In turn, Warhol’s close-up drawings of “unidentified” male heads suggest a link with another group of drawings by Milan. Starting in 2014, Milan developed his series of seemingly anonymous “heads” (bearing names such as Ned, Francis, and Franklin) after seeing a New York Times Magazine feature which included a series of photographic portraits of the American President’s top advisers. Milan identified various physiognomic features that appealed to him, translating them into large-scale drawings. In this process of appropriation and reconstruction, Milan heightens his subjects’ perceived emotional states, variously suggesting anguish and contemplation. The act of appropriation – advocated by Warhol in his direct copying of commercial products, and by Grosz in his Dadaist collages of the late 1950s – forms a central role in Milan’s practice. A series of ten collages in the exhibition take pages from Paolo Roversi’s Nudi (1999), a collection of mystical images of fashion models. In his studio, Milan cuts and reworks pages from this book, following the outline of the figures with an exacto knife, occasionally shifting the silhouette to suggest multiple stances. Recalling Warhol’s Foot With Flowers (c. 1958), Milan situates these figures within a floral setting, offering the suggestion of an exotic landscape. As a source for his series of “hermaphrodite” drawings, Milan referred to E. J. Bellocq’s early 20th century photographs of prostitutes in New Orleans. In Milan’s reworking the models undergo gender reassignment, gazing idly at the viewer. In these viscerally rendered works, Milan distills the human forms into near-abstract arrangements, highlighting some areas with acrylic and white pastel, while leaving other passages sketched out or blank. This distinctive “sketching out” is a key link between the three artists and characterizes a number of works in the exhibition. Grosz perfected his free drawing style, often using a reed pen, while Warhol’s achieved his confident hard outlines with the use of black ballpoint. This is the gallery’s first exhibition to include works by Milan and provides a unique opportunity to see his recent work in dialogue with a historically diverse range of works by Grosz and Warhol.
  • The Kingdom or Exile: Parisian Landscapes

    The SCAD exhibitions department presents an exhibition of new works by artist Wardell Milan. Composed of recently completed photo-dioramas and works on paper, "The Kingdom or Exile: Parisian Landscapes," features a-linear narratives that unfold in idealistic environments. Each scene within the dioramas features a character struggling to attain a deeper understanding of human nature. Milan’s abstract works on paper engage similar themes although many of the specific narrative elements have been filtered out, leaving ideas open for interpretation. Together, this conceptual focus combined with the artist’s use of different media to create these vivid works, reveal what Milan refers to as his first "cohesive cosmos"—one that is dynamic, otherworldly, multilayered and visually compelling. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, GA. Sept. 27, 2013 - Dec. 29, 2013
  • Body Language

    Body Language explores the body and written or verbal expression. Comprised mostly of works from the Studio Museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition shows how artists use language to evoke relationships to bodies, including those of viewers, using the human form to communicate ideas much as words might. Some of the artists investigate the language of nonverbal communication, while others inscribe, paint or gesture onto the page. Other works depict figures to purposefully elicit a “read”—how might audiences interpret a portrait differently than the artist’s (or author’s) intention? Body Language also illustrates the international scope of the Museum’s collection, with work by Deborah Grant, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Valerie Piraino, Malick Sidibé, Tavares Strachan, Barthélémy Toguo, among others. Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY Jul 18, 2013 - Oct 27, 2013
  • 11 Dimensions

    Louis B. James announces the opening of 11 Dimensions, a collaborative exhibition featuring works by Titus Kaphar, Wardell Milan, and Demetrius Oliver. The installation will mark the third time that the artists have juxtaposed their work beginning with their 2006 residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem. In this age where quantum physics plays an increasingly prominent role and theoretical mathematicians posit seemingly incomprehensible proofs of alternate dimensions, the three artists use the simple tools of their respective trades to create images and objects that feel paradoxically justified by the logic of some unknown dimension. The eleven recent works by Kaphar, Milan, and Oliver seek to explore the complexity and pliability of time in ways that upend our understanding of history and speak to the implausible through the poetic use of diverse materials. In Kaphar's work, historical paintings are overturned through the lexicon of modern painting gestures. Through cutting, crushing and stitching, Kaphar's work reconstructs narratives of the past in order to present alternate endings to familiar and unfamiliar historical events. Time seems to collapse in Milan’s photo based collages, creating visually and thematically dense images that expose the fluidity between moments. Representations of the body are fragmented, displaced, and ornamented in ways that enact the drama of human frailty and mutability. In Oliver’s prints and sculptures, the terrestrial becomes cosmic, forcing us to reckon with the inability to depict the infinite through finite means. Relying on the prosaic and quotidian, materials are transformed in unexpected ways to describe distant phenomena. Using photography, painting and sculpture, all three artists collectively imagine a complex world where time and space are malleable. During their year-long residency at the Studio Museum, the artists developed a strong friendship as a result of an unexpected synergy between their artistic pursuits. After their residency, they relocated to a shared studio in Chelsea, where they relocated to a shared studio in Chelsea, where they continued their exchange, resulting in a 2007 exhibition entitled Blur at Arndt & Partner, Berlin. While they currently maintain separate studios in the New York metropolitan area, Kaphar, Milan, and Oliver continue to be creatively influenced, inspired and challenged by each other. Louis B. James Gallery, New York, NY. June 7, 2013 - Jul, 26, 2013
  • Exhibition A

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