Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush is the first solo museum exhibition of Chicago-born Nina Chanel Abney (b. 1982), and a ten year survey of the artist’s paintings, watercolors, and collages. Abney is at the forefront of a generation of artists that is unapologetically revitalizing narrative figurative painting, and as a skillful story-teller, she visually articulates the complex social dynamics of contemporary urban life. Her 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 figures, numbers, and words that appear to have tumbled onto 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.
In Los Angeles, the exhibition will be presented jointly by the Institute of Contemporary Art 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.
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 of Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush is co-presented by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the California African American Museum (CAAM), and is organized by Jamillah James, Curator, ICA LA and Naima J. Keith, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, California African American Museum.