First U.S. Solo Museum Exhibitions of Janiva Ellis, Shuvinai Ashoona and Dalton Gata, and Wide-Ranging Survey of Chakaia Booker, Open Spring 2021 at ICA Miami
Robert Grosvenor Awarded 2020 Ezratti Family Prize for Sculpture, Marked by Presentation of Major Work
This spring, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami) mounts exhibitions featuring a range of global voices shaping contemporary art. The spring season is anchored by the first solo museum exhibition for Janiva Ellis, entirely comprised of new and never-before-seen works, and the first museum survey of Chakaia Booker, which considers lesser-known areas of the artist’s practice. The museum also highlights important emerging voices in contemporary art with the first museum exhibitions of Shuvinai Ashoona and Dalton Gata. Advancing ICA Miami’s mission to provide the first museum platform for emerging and established contemporary artists, the museum’s spring exhibitions reflects its ambitious approach to programming and dedication to engaging audiences with a global range of artists and ideas.
The spring program also includes a presentation of the large-scale sculpture Untitled (1968/2019) by Robert Grosvenor, the 2020 recipient of the Ezratti Family Prize for Sculpture. Upon its installation at ICA Miami in 2019, the seminal work, which marks a crucial transformation in the artist’s work, had not been restaged for 40 years. Set to be reinstalled at ICA Miami this spring, the work was recently acquired by ICA Miami thanks to the Prize. The Ezratti Family Prize for Sculpture is awarded by ICA Miami to a living artist in recognition of their exceptional contributions in the area of sculpture. The inaugural winner, Damián Ortega, was awarded the prize upon its launch in 2019. Building on the museum’s history of commissioning and presenting new works, the prize reflects ICA Miami’s ongoing commitment to promoting experimentation in artistic practice and providing an international platform for influential voices in contemporary art.
“ICA Miami’s spring program showcases artists whose works advance important and inclusive narratives of contemporary art. Through these exhibitions, we invite audiences to engage with thrilling new works, grapple with some of the most pressing matters of our time, and consider how contemporary art challenges and responds to our current world,” said ICA Miami Artistic Director Alex Gartenfeld. “This spring, we also celebrate the pioneering artist Robert Grosvenor as the recipient of the annual Ezratti Family Prize for Sculpture. Grosvenor’s contributions to sculpture and influence on his generation merit greater recognition, and we are pleased to collect and preserve an important and monumental work by the artist.”
Following below is ICA Miami’s spring 2021 exhibition schedule:
Janiva Ellis: Rats
February 11, 2021 – August 22, 2021
Second Floor, Special Exhibition Galleries
Featuring a suite of new paintings created over the past year, Rats is the first solo museum exhibition for the American artist Janiva Ellis, whose paintings use formal themes of speed and transformation to explore fractured states of personal and cultural perception. Her works express a tense intimacy that has been mischaracterized as descriptions of internal crisis. In actuality, the tension in her work comments on the pervasiveness of white delusion and its denial as a brutal and violent social and societal force. Her paintings make expert use of contemporary and historical styles—abstraction, figuration, landscape, and cartoon—to turn a lens to the insidious nature of whiteness. The exhibition traces recent and significant experimentation in the artist’s practice, marking an expansion of her critical approach to representation.
Chakaia Booker: The Observance
April 22, 2021 – October 31, 2021
Third Floor, Special Exhibition Galleries
As the first comprehensive museum survey of American artist Chakaia Booker, this exhibition explores the artist’s signature form—monumental works made of rubber—while showcasing her innovations across mediums. Featuring an expansive range of Booker’s sculptures, including totemic and anthropomorphic assemblages fabricated from cast-off tires, the exhibition highlights Booker’s ongoing expression of ecological and technological concerns, examinations of racial and economic disparities, and her interest in the symbolism of the automobile in American culture.
The Observance includes some of Booker’s most topical works, including Chu Ching (2012), which depicts a cross on a wheelbarrow resembling Jesus being dismounted from the cross, as well as two rarely seen series of paintings that explore landscape and language. The artist’s photographic series, Foundling Warrior Quest (2010) and Graveyard Series (1995), are also featured to explore the importance of performance and mythology in her practice. Anchoring the presentation is The Observance (1995), an immersive installation made of deconstructed rubber tires and tubes––Booker’s first work in this signature material, chosen by the artist for its associations with riots. Chakaia Booker: The Observance is curated by ICA Miami Artistic Director Alex Gartenfeld and Curator Stephanie Seidel.
May 7, 2021 – November 28, 2021
In Cuban artist Dalton Gata’s first U.S. solo museum exhibition, ICA Miami presents his surrealistic installations across media, exploring his personal experiences, queer and popular culture, and his life in Puerto Rico, where he lives and works. The exhibition includes figurative portraits of Gata’s family, friends, and peers, imbued with humor and symbolism, as well as other paintings and sculpture that show his work’s preoccupation with the idea of the line as a way of assembling personalities and creating interactions in space. Building on his exploration of this notion and people in lines, Gata will also debut a new immersive installation that draws from his thoughts on the pandemic and COVID-19 testing.
Shuvinai Ashoona: Drawings
May 7, 2021 – November 28, 2021
For Inuk artist Shuvinai Ashoona’s first U.S. museum exhibition, ICA Miami presents a series of drawings and prints that observe the evolution of indigenous Arctic life and illustrate a rich and imaginative world representative of the exceptional artistic production of contemporary Inuit artists. Employing dynamic points of view in her work, ranging from foreshortened perspective and uncanny aerial views to mismatched scales and mise-en-scène, Ashoona focuses on Arctic people and life as they have shifted from living off the land to settled communities, documenting everyday activities such as seal cleaning, clam digging, Christmas celebrations, and yoga classes. Ashoona also reproduces the Arctic landscape in her work, incorporating imagery of rock-strewn riverbanks, the arid tundra, endless spreads of snow, and the animals that are familiar to Inuit life—walruses, seals, and fish. Often turning these creatures and landscapes into unnatural forms that graft to human bodies and menacing, cavernous settings that inhabit an enigmatic world, Ashoona’s work also references popular culture, horror films, the Bible, traditional Inuit motifs, and perspectives that draw from the delayed arrival of modern technology to the artist’s home of Kinngait (formerly known as Cape Dorset). Shuvinai Ashoona: Drawings is curated by ICA Miami Director of the Knight Foundation Art + Research Center Gean Moreno.
May 7, 2021 – November 28, 2021
ICA Miami presents a major work by the American artist and recipient of the 2020 Ezratti Family Prize for Sculpture, Robert Grosvenor. Untitled (1968/2019) represents the artist’s use of commonplace materials and exploration of monumental scale and poetic form. Recently acquired by the museum, the large-scale sculpture also showcases a historical dialogue with Minimalism, while challenging the movement’s limitations, and engages the site to provoke profound viewer experiences.