artists & participants
Blues for Smoke is an interdisciplinary exhibition that explores a wide range of contemporary art through the lens of the blues and blues aesthetics. Turning to the blues not simply as a musical category but as a field of artistic sensibilities and cultural idioms, the exhibition features works by over forty artists from the 1950s to the present, as well as materials culled from music and popular entertainment.
The exhibition’s title is drawn from a 1960 solo album by virtuoso jazz pianist Jaki Byard in which improvisation on blues form becomes a basis for avant-garde exploration. The title suggests that the expanded poetics of the blues is pervasive—but also diffuse and difficult to pin down. By presenting an uncommon heterogeneity of subject matter, art historical contexts, formal and conceptual inclinations, genres and disciplines, Blues for Smoke holds artists and art worlds together that are often kept apart, within and across lines of race, generation, and canon.
A series of performances, events, screenings, and readings will accompany the exhibition.
Blues for Smoke is organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The exhibition is curated by Bennett Simpson. At the Whitney Museum, the installation is overseen by Chrissie Iles, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator.
Blues For Smoke
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Romare Bearden, Gregg Bordowitz, Mark Bradford, Kamau Brathwaite, Ed Clark, Roy DeCarava, Beauford Delaney, Jeff Donaldson, Stan Douglas, Jimmie Durham, Melvin Edwards, William Eggleston, Charles Gaines, Renée Green, David Hammons, Kira Lynn Harris, Rachel Harrison, Barkley L. Hendricks, Leslie Hewitt, Martin Kippenberger, Jutta Koether, Liz Larner, Zoe Leonard, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Barbara McCollough, Dave McKenzie, Rodney McMillian, Mark Morrisroe, Matt Mullican, Senga Nengudi, Kori Newkirk, Lorraine O´Grady, John Outterbridge, Adrian Piper, William Pope L, Jeff Preiss, Amy Sillman, Lorna Simpson, Henry Taylor, Alma Thomas, Bob Thompson, Wu Tsang, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, William T. Williams, Martin Wong
Bennett Simpson, Chrissie Iles
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Whitney Museum, New York
Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus