Press Release

Fall and Summer Exhibitions at the Multi-Venue 21c Museum – One of the Largest Contemporary Art Museums in the U.S.

Louisville, KY
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21c Museum, a pioneering new model for contemporary art institutions, is opening exhibitions at 21c venues around the country this summer and fall.

Founded in 2006, 21c is a multi-venue museum with innovative programming and exhibitions, open to the public free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 21c Museum is North America’s only collecting museum dedicated solely to art of the 21st century, and its current and upcoming exhibitions explore issues of our day, ranging from the construction of personal and group identity, to race and gender, celebrity, nature and technoculture. The exhibitions offer unexpected encounters with art, breaking down the barriers found in a traditional art museum. 


The SuperNatural

21c Durham, North Carolina

September 15, 2017 – June 2018

Influenced by Romanticism and Surrealism, science and commerce, the artists featured in The SuperNatural explore the environmental, economic, and technological conditions shaping the earth and its inhabitants today. With still and moving images of land and cityscapes, and in taxidermy and fabricated figures, the exhibition not only examines today’s concerns about the Anthropocene and damage to the environment, but how nature meets technoculture and how the new natural is both organic and manufactured.

21c’s recent acquisition of a "generative artwork," a digital video by Tabor Robak will be featured, as well as a virtual reality piece by the installation artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen, where visitors will enter a space he designed of tarp and plywood and don VR glasses to see artist's 4K video. Photographs by Lars Jan related to his Holoscenes project that was recently featured in Times Square as part of the Science Festival in New York City will also be on view. Chris Doyle’s Waste_Generation, the second in a series of five animations based on Course of Empire, by Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole, explores the cultural framework through which we view landscape. The dizzying spectacle of Rob Carter’s Metropolis animates an endless loop of creation and destruction: the evolution of the contemporary urban landscape.

The SuperNatural also includes works by Albano Afonso, Laura Ball, Edward Burtynsky, Kate Clark, Chris Doyle, Anthony Goicolea, and Patricia Piccinini. Invoking past and future in a critique of the present, these paintings, photographs, sculptures, videos, and other works document observed, current realities while referencing the aesthetic traditions of 19th- and 20th-century art.

Opening Event: The opening on Friday, September 15 will feature a talk by artist Chris Doyle.

The Future is Female

21c Cincinnati, Ohio

November 17, 2017 – September 2018

The affirmation of the self as subject and the prevalence of craft-based practices such as sewing, weaving, embroidery, and applique in 21st-century art is a legacy of the feminist art of the 1970s. Artists like Judy Chicago, Mira Schor, Martha Rosler, Adrian Piper, Howardina Pindell, and others merged art and activism, elevating everyday materials, methods, and experiences to challenge conventional notions about how and why and where art is created and consumed. The Future is Female explores the legacy and impact of the art of Second Wave Women’s movement on today’s art while examining contemporary definitions of female identity and experience. Bringing together portraiture and works that probe the nature of power and environmental issues, The Future is Female reveals radical transformations of materials and myths in the works of contemporary feminist artists including  Monica Cook, Vibha Galhotra, Hanna Liden, Nandipha Mntambo, Alison Saar, and Kiki Smith.

Featured in the exhibition is Zoe Buckman’s The Champ from her “Mostly It’s Just Uncomfortable” series, which the artist conceived as a response to the attack on Planned Parenthood in the U.S., and recent photographic self-portraits by the South African artist and visual activist Zanele Muholi, reproduced as site-specific wallpaper that engages the viewer in the artist’s own confrontation with race and sexuality.  The inventive use of language, whether printed, projected, or recorded animates works by Jenny Holzer, Nina Katchadourian, Michele Pred, and Carrie Mae Weems, introducing unexpected voices into both art and history. Holzer and Weems use text to interrogate power through self-expression, creating new narratives for cultural and political resistance. Cultural critique is embedded in Alison Saar’s work as she combines familiar, domestic, and personal objects, imagery, and writing to connect past and present adversities resulting from the intersection of environmental destruction and social inequality.

Opening Event: The opening on Friday, November 17 will feature a talk by artist Zoe Buckman.


Dreams of Infinite Luster, Chris Doyle

21c Durham, North Carolina

On view through May 2018

21c commissioned multi-media artist Chris Doyle, whose public projects include Bright Canyon presented by the Times Square Alliance (2014), to create a site-specific installation in the exterior windows at 21c Durham. The work features 3-D animations, mirrors, and prints on aluminum and vinyl. The digital animation explores a forest environment, rendered completely in gold, where the skull of a minotaur-like creature sparkles in the dazzling artifice.  Expanding upon his interest in the cultural construction of landscape, Doyle says, “The project is a meditation on the moment when the innocence and ‘can-do’ ambition of the American Dream becomes inextricably twisted together with an end-of-empire excess and fears of our own mortality as a species.” Doyle’s works are also featured in the upcoming 21c exhibition The SuperNatural, opening in Durham in September.

OFF-SPRING: New Generations

21c Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

On view through April 2018

Rituals—religious and cultural, institutional and domestic—provide the thematic structure for OFF-SPRING: New Generations, which explores the development of both personal and group identity, family, history, and gender politics. Whether within the fantasy of childhood play or the familiarity of adult life, the more than 75 works in the exhibition generate a spectrum of meditations on the contemporary construction of self and society.

South African artist Frances Goodman’s The Dream, combines draped satin, silk, and organza hanging in cascades from the ceiling with a soundtrack of interviews with dozens of unmarried women; the massive installation draws viewers into an exploration of the societal pressure to wed. Timothy Paul Myers’ The Living Room, created in collaboration with Andrew Barnes, meticulously layers grey felt to transform a living room into an enchanted, monochrome parlor, while Josephine Taylor’s large-scale Bomb Landscape series depicts women and babies, men and animals, set in a post-apocalyptic world, vying for sustenance and survival. Laurie Lipton, Chris Roberts-Antieau, Tracey Snelling, and Stacey Steers reveal the potential trauma and horror of childhood in works that give new meanings to a childhood toy: the dollhouse. A work from Carrie Mae Weems, Kitchen Table Series, presents domestic drama as the central stage for re-envisioning gender and family roles, while a work by Ren Hang looks at sexuality in repressive Chinese society.

Artists featured in OFF-SPRING: New Generations include Josephine Taylor, Gehard Demetz, Angela Ellsworth, Gottfried Helnwein, Deana Lawson, Loretta Lux, Hans Op de Beeck, Catherine Opie, and Rachel Lee Hovnanian, among others.

Pop Stars! Popular Culture and Contemporary Art

21c Louisville, Kentucky

On view through March 2018

Superheroes and celebrities, totems and toys: the imagery of manufactured fantasy is reframed in the visual language of historical iconography in this multimedia exploration of popular culture today. Pop Stars! Popular Culture and Contemporary Art is a reflection upon our celebrity-obsessed, consumer-driven, media-saturated society.

The more than 50 artists included in the exhibition have culled from the canon of art history, mined mass media, and scoured streets and screens to appropriate images and practices from commerce, science, politics, sports, religion, and technology, to illuminate recent shifts in how culture is being created and consumed. Pop Stars! provokes questions about how today’s unprecedented access to an audience of one’s own leads us to find affirmation on screen, and venerate fame as a final destination. The 90 works in the exhibition intertwine past and present in transformative new intersections of art and life, and demonstrate the dominance of the popular as today’s ubiquitous culture.

Pop Stars! features Titus Kaphar’s Ascension, whichinserts a classical deposition from the cross into a silhouette of Michael Jordan soaring to the hoop; a large-scale bust by Kehinde Wiley; and Barbara Lee (Towers) by artist, coder, creative director, and music producer Ryder Ripps, whose work is featured in Viva Arte Viva at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Other artists in Pop Stars! include Slater Bradley, Nick Cave, Frances Goodman, Fahamu Pecou, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, and Robert Wilson.


21c Bentonville, Arkansas

Currently on view

The site-specific, immersive installation Buzzkill by Johnston Foster is installed throughout The Hive restaurant at 21c Bentonville. The work transforms the restaurant into a work of art itself, with giant size honeycomb, kudzu vines, swarms of bees, and random hidden objects and creatures interspersed throughout the restaurant. The work explores the folklore and fauna of Bentonville and Northern Arkansas, and meditates on the environmental crisis currently facing the honeybee population in the U.S.

A Global Gathering

21c Lexington, Kentucky

August 22, 2017 – July 2018

A Global Gathering presents the diversity and thematic hallmarks of 21c’s permanent collection, with works in a broad range of media looking at contemporary conditions through a lens of power and politics, the environment and the evolution and decay of the natural world, intersectionality and the nature of gender, and portraiture and identity, from both emerging and established artists from around the world.

Among the artists in A Global Gathering are: Wim Botha, Ori Gersht, Anthony Goicolea, Zanele Muholi, Quayola, Carlos Quintana, Bill Viola, and Kehinde Wiley. The exhibition will also include workby Mohau Modisakeng, who is currently representing South Africa at the Venice Biennale and the four-part large-scale sculpture, The Four Seasons, by Guerra de la Paz. From portraits of victims of violence by Titus Kaphar and Miguel Ángel Rojas, to visions of our endangered or decaying environments by Fabiano Parisi and Marco Veronese, and critiques of military might by Democracia and Anastasia Taylor-Lind, the works in A Global Gathering reflect how we live and die, work, play, and dream in the 21st century.

Opening Event: In conjunction with the opening on August 22, Sharon Louden will host a talk about her book The Artist as Culture Producer: Living and Sustaining a Creative Life, which features a collection of essays by 40 visual artists. Louden will be joined in conversation by New York-based artist Steve Lambert.

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