Susan Inglett Gallery is pleased to announce our participation in the upcoming ADAA Art Show, Booth A-9, with a featured presentation of the cut-paper work of William Villalongo. The Fair will take place at the Park Avenue Armory, opening with a Gala Preview to benefit the Henry Street Settlement on Wednesday 27 February and running to 3 March 2019.
Known for irreverent riffs on the art historical "muse," William Villalongo has made episodic paintings and works on paper that underscore historical erasure and re-imagined narratives. With this ambitious new body of work, Villalongo turns his attention to the Black male figure, returning to his signature cut velvet paper writ large as demanded by his subject. At a time when current events and statistics reflect a social reality of limited expectations, contingency, and disproportionate fear for the Black body, Villalongo reconsiders and modifies that body to circumvent corporeality. Within the dark tones of these meditations on physiology, the artist uses metaphors of invisibility, nature, and reformation as necessary conditions of Black male being. Like fallen autumn leaves, Villalongo's figures navigate their world, subject to an unpredictable wind - piling, spinning, re-collecting and migrating. Figures float in space, dreamlike, liminal, ill-defined much like the accumulated notions of what it is to be Black in the world.
Our presentation at the ADAA Art Show features "Zero Gravity, 2018," two major cut paper works each measuring 10' in length and Villalongo's largest to date, complemented by three portraits 40" square. The primary works depict the male figure prone, in opposition. One body floats weightless and untethered in a dream state where the other body flies, super hero style. One passive, one active. Together they define "zero gravity," the state or condition of weightlessness due to lack of gravitational pull where the body meets with no resistance. In all, the artist presents a vision where the real and imagined Black-self freely navigates the world and living histories. The three accompanying works focus on the head, in various states of disassembly. Individually the work suggests the Black life lived: ethereal, alien, surreal. Together the installation conjures a space of sensuality, humor and authenticity.
WILLIAM VILLALONGO was born in 1975 and raised in Bridgeton, NJ. He received his B.F.A. from The Cooper Union School of Art and his M.F.A. from Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Villalongo has exhibited extensively with recent appearances in "Woke! William Villalongo and Mark Thomas Gibson" at the USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa; "Go Figure" at the PIzzuti Collection, Columbus; and "Oscillation," curated by Dan Cameron for Ferrera Gallery, New Orleans. Villalongo is the co-curator with Gibson of the highly acclaimed traveling exhibition "Black Pulp" which tells a story of evolving perspectives of Black identity as told by artists of color from 1912 to the present. His work has been included in recent shows at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, MoMA PS1, the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Reviews have appeared in Artforum, ARTnews, The New York Times, The Brooklyn Rail, and The Village Voice among others. Villalongo's work is included in collections at the Baltimore Museum, the Denver Art Museum, Princeton University Art Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Whitney Museum among others.