Massey Klein is proud to present Where am I coming from, Do you ask this of the sun?, a solo exhibition of paintings by New York-based artist, Michael Holman.
The exhibition explores, confronts, and seeks to demystify the power and complexity of symbols. One symbol in particular, the Confederate flag. The artist’s paintings of Confederate flags, rendered in gold and silver leaf, acrylic, flock, and layered gesso, challenge the viewer: who “owns” a symbol and how does it gain meaning?
The artist’s paintings are graphic, bold, and disruptive. They are visually minimal yet impossible to experience disassociated from feelings of bewilderment. They force a conversation about history, ownership, and power.
Holman’s exploration is not only a present, personal search, but one that extends directly to his ancestry - he is the great-great-grandson of an enslaved African American who fought in the Civil War for the Confederacy. Family archives from mid-1800s, including pension slips, are documented in the artist’s paintings, Native and Silver Cross, whereas works like Seven Eleven and LV Native place the Confederate flag in contemporary, consumer culture, associating it with both high-brow luxury goods and gas-station paraphernalia.
An influential observer of popular culture and entertainment, Michael Holman is a filmmaker, artist, writer, and musician, based in New York City. A pioneer in the Downtown New York Art Scene and Uptown Hip Hop Scene, Holman founded the band Gray - an industrial atmospheric, noise group - with painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as created and produced the first Hip Hop television show, Graffiti Rock in 1984. His work has been shown in eminent art institutions, from Art Basel Miami to the Beyeler Museum in Basel, Switzerland and musee d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris.
In 2016, Holman's music archives and artifacts were acquired by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Jerome Robbins Dance Division in Lincoln Center and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Concurrent to the artist’s solo exhibition at Massey Klein, Holman will have select performances with his band, Gray, at the Museum of Modern Art.
Please join the gallery and artist for the opening reception on Friday, March 9th from 6:00-8:00pm.
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