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Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
September 23, 2018 – January 20, 2019
Nina Chanel Abney (b. 1982) is at the forefront of a generation of artists that is unapologetically revitalizing narrative figurative painting. As a skillful storyteller, she visually articulates the complex social dynamics of contemporary urban life. Royal Flush, her first solo museum exhibition, presents a ten-year survey of the artist’s paintings, watercolors, and collages.
Abney’s works are informed as much by mainstream news media as they are by animated cartoons, video games, hip-hop culture, celebrity websites and tabloid magazines. She draws on these sources to make paintings replete with symbols that appear to have landed on the canvas with the stream-of-consciousness immediacy of text messages, pop-up windows, a Twitter feed or the scrolling headlines of an incessant 24-hour news cycle. By engaging loaded topics and controversial issues with irreverence, humor and lampooning satire, Abney’s works are both pointed contemporary genre scenes as well as scathing commentaries on social attitudes and inequities.
Royal Flush will be presented jointly by ICA LA and the California African American Museum. The exhibition will then travel to its final venue, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, State University of New York in spring 2019. Royal Flush is accompanied by a full-color catalogue, highlighting the most important and iconic works of the past 10 years by Nina Chanel Abney with essays by exhibition curator Marshall Price, Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Nasher Museum, Duke University; Jamillah James, Curator, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Natalie Y. Moore, Chicago Public Media, WBEZ; and Richard J. Powell, John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art and Art History at Duke University.
Nina Chanel Abney (b. Chicago, 1982) studied at Augustana College in Rock Island, IL and Parsons School of Design, New York, where she received her MFA in 2007. Abney’s latest public commission, Hot to Trot. Not., is currently on view at Palais de Tokyo, Paris through September 2018. Abney is featured in the exhibition 30 Americans (organized by the Rubell Family Collection, Miami), which has toured extensively throughout the US since 2008. Her work has also been included in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the Nassau County Museum of Art, among others. Her work is in a number of collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Bronx Museum, the Rubell Family Collection, and the Burger Collection, Hong Kong. She lives and works in New York.
Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush is organized by Marshall N. Price, Marshall N. Price, Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art for the Nasher Museum at Duke University, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Los Angeles presentation is organized by Jamillah James, Curator, ICA LA; and Naima J. Keith, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, California African American Museum.
ICA LA’s presentation of Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush is made possible with generous support from the Good Works Foundation and Laura Donnelley and Patricia A. Quick Charitable Trust.