With two concurrent exhibitions, the artists daring and difficult to define body of work is set to provoke, shock and inspire debate
Last week was a busy one in Los Angeles for Nina Chanel Abney. The New Jersey-based painters California debut has two concurrent exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) and the California African American Museum (CAAM), both called Royal Flush. (It debuted last year as a single show at Duke Universitys Nasher Museum.) Headlining a double feature like that had amounted to twice as many openings, and twice as many cocktail receptions.
I mean, Im having a great time, she told me over the phone on one of the more low-key days of her visit. She had just hired a Zipcar and was contemplating a trip to see King Tut at the California Science Center.
Im excited to see the responses to my work, she added, ostensibly the focus of her practice. Her paintings are engineered to elicit response. Royal Flush surveys the past 10 or so years since Abney graduated from Parsons MFA program and introduced the art world to her searing sense of humor. Theres a 2008 painting called Randaleeza at the ICA that summarizes the media fascination fueling her work. Its a chaotic scene: theres a woman in red lipstick and a white bikini next to a young man in a flannel shirt being shredded by a pack of dogs. If they look remotely familiar, well the woman is former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, and the man in flannel is my friend Randall, Abney deadpans. (In the tradition of former it couples Bennifer and Brangelina, she portmanteaued their names for the title.) The dogs are Michael Vicks, and the star tattoos on Condis shoulders belong to Lil Wayne, who was performing on an award show when Abney was painting.
If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.
And ... Don't forget to have fun!