For over 30 years, artist, educator, and curator Nayland Blake (b. 1960) has been a critical figure in American art, working between sculpture, drawing, performance, and video. No Wrong Holes marks the most comprehensive survey of Blake’s work to date and their first solo institutional presentation in Los Angeles.
Heavily inspired by feminist and queer liberation movements, and subcultures ranging from punk to kink, Blake’s multidisciplinary practice considers the complexities of representation, particularly racial and gender identity; play and eroticism; and the subjective experience of desire, loss, and power. The artist’s sustained meditation on “passing” and duality as a queer, biracial (African American and white) person is grounded in post-minimalist and conceptual approaches made personal through an idiosyncratic array of materials (such as leather, medical equipment, and food) and the tropes of fairy tales and fantasy. Particular focus will be paid to work produced while Blake lived on the West Coast, first in the greater Los Angeles area as a graduate student at CalArts, followed by a decade in San Francisco—years bookended by the advancement of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and the “culture wars” of the 1990s.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue designed by Content/Object, Los Angeles, with newly commissioned essays, key reprints, archival material, and content produced by the artist and others.
MIT List Visual Arts Center, May 15–July 26, 2020
Visitors to the exhibition can sign up to DJ from the artist’s 2500+ LP record collection, on view in the work Ruins of a Sensibility, 1972–2002. To sign up for a designated time slot, click here or sign-up at ICA LA’s front desk.
No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake is organized by Jamillah James, Curator, ICA LA.
No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake is made possible thanks to lead support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Generous support is provided by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Marieluise Hessel, Linda Janger, Matthew Marks Gallery, and Friends of Nayland Blake: Karyn Kohl, Stephen J. Javaras and Robert A. Collins, and Marla and Jeffrey Michaels. ICA LA is supported by Curator’s Council, Fieldwork, and 1717 Collective.