Nina Chanel Abney uses a unique language of coded icons, numbers, and figures in paintings and collages that communicate urgent messages about resistance, love, and hope. For this exhibition, she debuts a new body of work presented in two shows, one at ICA Miami, Big Butch Energy, and one at moCa Cleveland, Big Butch Synergy. The series explores and celebrates expressions of Black masculine women and those who resist hetero- or cis-normative gender roles. In moCa’s multi-space presentation, Abney will create a site-responsive monumental artwork on the museum’s ground floor and a new series of gallery-installed large-scale paintings that all teem with her bold, pictorial language and characteristically impactful expressions.
About the Artist
Nina Chanel Abney (b. 1982, Chicago) strives to signal narratives that speak to topics on politics, heritage, race, sexuality, and celebrity. The figures in her works typically appear as heavily stylized, graphic, geometric shapes against vivid backgrounds overlaid with symbols and patterns. Known for her frenetic, large-scale paintings, Abney has recently been commissioned to transform the Lincoln Center’s new David Geffen Hall’s façade in New York, drawing from the cultural heritage of the neighborhood previously known as San Juan Hill that comprised African American, Afro-Caribbean, and Puerto Rican families, which she similarly did recently for a public mural at the new Miami World Center inspired by Overtown, a historic Black neighborhood in Miami. Her first solo exhibition debuted in 2017 at Nasher Museum of Art, North Carolina, and subsequently toured to Chicago Cultural Center; Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the California African American Museum; and the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York. Recent exhibitions include The Gordon Parks Institute (2022), The Art Gallery of New South Wales (2021), ICA Boston (2020), The Contemporary Dayton (2019), The Norton Museum of Art (2019), and Palais de Tokyo (2018). Her work is in the collections of MoMA New York, The Rubell Family Collection, The Brooklyn Museum, Bronx Museum and the Burger Collection, Hong Kong.
Nina Chanel Abney
Nina Chanel Abney: Big Butch Synergy
Gund Commons, Kohl Monumental Stair, Lewis Gallery
Jan 27-Jun 11, 2023