December 2017 Newsletter

Seasons greetings,
As we approach the new year, here is a recap of 2017, our current exhibitions and what we have in store for 2018.Celebrating The Getty’s PST: LA/LA, Imagen Angelenois currently at the Lancaster Museum of Art and History, and Surface Tension: Murals, Signs, and Mark-Making in LAis currently at the Skirball.We have recently concluded a successful solo shows at Luis De Jesus titled Bone Grass Boy: The Secret Banks of the Conejos River, and a touring show Shadowlandsexhibited at Minnesota Museum of American Art, Flaten Art Museum, St. Olaf College and Peeler Art Center.I had the honor to share work in group shows like L.A. Exhuberance at LACMA,  Found at Leslie-Lohman Museum, El Proletariado de Aztlán in the Guggenheim Gallery of Chapman University, and part of 21c collection.We are excited to share an upcoming exhibition in collaboration with Titus Kaphar, UnSeen: Our Past in a New Light at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute as well as contributing works toReenactment at BRIC.We hope you will join us at these current and future exhibitions. You can find additional information, reviews, essays, and more at:

With best wishes,
Ken Gonzales-Day


BRIC: Reenactment Curated by Jenny Gerow, January 18, 2018 – February 25, 2018 

Reenactment is a group exhibition that will look at the aesthetic and political implications of historical reenactment in contemporary art. The title of the exhibition comes from the tradition of living history where historical events like the American Revolution and Civil War are reenacted by amateur performers using storytelling and props, always in an attempt to portray history as unchangeable as accurately as if it was fixed. Through work in performance, video, and photography, this exhibition looks at six artists of color unsettling cultural mythologies and origin stories by using performance to look at history as fluid putting the past and present in dialogue with one another. The histories represented range from the First Nations of North America to the refugee crisis in Syria exploring race, identity, and representation and asserting the lived experiences of people left out of history.

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute: UnSeen: Our Past in a New Light, Ken Gonzales-Day and Titus Kaphar, March 23, 2018 – January 27, 2019

For Out of Place, Gonzales-Day photographed objects in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, National Portrait Gallery, and American Art Museum as part of a photographic exploration of portraiture, but unlike a conventional portrait exhibition, these portraits are of people the artist never met. They are portraits from our Nation’s past that the artist has created by searching for historic casts, busts, and other likenesses held in three museums at the Smithsonian Institution. In looking through the historic collections of these museums, Gonzales-Day was able to create a “portrait” of a very different kind than is normally featured at the National Portrait Gallery because it can also be seen, not only as a portrait of a museum, but more importantly, the exhibition paints a particular picture of our our Nation’s past. In addition to some well-known historical figures, the exhibition includes the likenesses of individuals who have largely been forgotten, and yet many of these objects actually record or capture, the physical presence of a living subject, recorded in plaster, over a hundred years ago. Some of these “portraits” were cast from life, others were sculpted by artists who looked at life-casts and photographs. In short, the exhibition allows us to question what we think of as a portrait, but there can be no doubt that there is something of the “real” taken “from life” in each room, and each of these figures –these portraits, can tell us something about our Nation’s past. By inviting viewers to share his discoveries, Gonzales-Day hopes that visitors may learn as much about the present as the past. This, as the museum actively seeks to acknowledge and engage with its own history, and to acknowledge our own history as a Nation of boarders, colonies, territories, states, federal districts, and “Indian” Nations.



Lancaster Museum of Art and History: Imagen Angeleno – Until January 14, 2018

In celebration of the Getty Museum’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative, which is a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, MOAH presents its winter exhibition, Imagen Angeleno. This exhibition will include solo exhibits of work by: Ken Gonzales-Day, Abel Alejandre, Ana Rodriguez and Linda Vallejo. The Main Gallery will feature a special exhibition, Dark Progressivism: The Built Environment, guest-curated by Rodrigo d’Ebre and Lisa Derrick. Inspired by the 2016 documentary film Dark Progressivism, written by Rodrigo d’Ebre and co-directed by Rodrigo d’Ebre and James J. Yi, this exhibition highlights the street and public art movements that characterize Los Angeles’ Southland. Dark Progressivism: The Built Environment answers the question of which movements are shaping 21st century art with a multi-faceted approach that looks to the streets of LA, where innovations in design and the idea of vandalism as a form of artistic resistance are embedded in the city’s identity.

Skirball: Surface Tension: Murals, Signs, and Mark-Making in LA – Until Feb 25, 2018

The exhibition demonstrates how Los Angeles understands its history and its values through the murals that decorate the city. Local communities honor their heritage by telling their own stories with their own voices. Residents pay homage to their idols and heroes. Graffiti artists declare their presence. Activists decry injustice and envision better worlds. Shopkeepers lure customers with hand-painted advertisements. Artists from around the globe make their mark on a rapidly changing urbanscape.

Recording Los Angeles’s unique visual identity and the diversity of its population and artistic production in the present moment, Surface Tension by Ken Gonzales-Day asks: What is a mural? Who speaks, and who decides what counts as art?


Bone Grass Boy: The Secret Banks of the Conejos River at Luis De Jesus


Shadowlands at Minnesota Museum of American Art, Flaten Art Museum, St. Olaf College, Peeler Art Center


FOUND at Leslie Lohman Museum

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