Diedrick Brackens by Alex Hodor-Lee. Courtesy of VARIOUS SMALL FIRES, Los Angeles.
Diedrick Brackens’s woven textiles feature depictions of people and animals, embedded with expressions of black and queer identity. Last summer, he was featured in the Hammer Museum’s “Made in L.A.” biennial, and then won the Studio Museum in Harlem’s $50,000 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize in the fall. This past spring, his work filled both a gallery show and a Frieze New York booth with L.A.’s Various Small Fires; his work entered the collection of the Brooklyn Museum; he joined the roster of New York’s Jack Shainman Gallery; and he opened a solo show at the New Museum.
Hammer Museum curator Erin Christovale, who co-curated “Made in L.A.,” remarked that the artist’s works are “rich in texture, personal narratives, and various weaving traditions.” Indeed, Brackens’s works are seeped in symbolism. They meld together “a spectrum of influences from the Gee’s Bend quilters of Alabama to the Unicorn Tapestries that were produced during the turn of the 16th century in Paris,” Christovale noted, while also invoking America’s history of slavery through his use of cotton. “Both his technique and context work together to highlight a black and queer experience in today’s society,” she added.