Charles Gaines: 1992-2022
The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, surveys the work of American artist Charles Gaines from 1992 to the present, tracing the complex interrelation of formal innovation, conceptual rigor and political content that has characterized the second half of the artist’s career.
A preeminent figure in conceptual art, Gaines has been at the forefront of introducing language and systems into artistic production. His early work, starting in the early 1970s, sought to translate information across media employing finely-tuned translating mechanisms. These works often employed deadpan imagery that was systematically converted into numerical and other sign systems. In 1992, Gaines began to replace non-descript images with texts and figures rich with preexisting cultural meaning. These new materials ranged from the texts by Franz Kafka and Frantz Fanon to the manifestoes of the Black Panthers and American Indian Movement, channeling their radical politics into complex formal and conceptual works. He also began to combine different media, including video and sound, in his works.
“Charles Gaines: 1992-2022” features a significant selection of works from all the series that Gaines has worked on since 1992, including “Submerged Texts” (1992); “NIGHT/CRIMES” (1995); “History of Stars” (2007); “Exploded Drawings” (2008); “Rewriting Fanon” (2010); “Notes on Social Justice” (2013); “Librettos: Manuel de Falla/Stokley Carmichael” (2015-6); “Identity Politics” (2018); and “Trees and Numbers” (2019-2022). Alongside works from these series, the exhibition will include a number of stand-alone works, including Airplane Crash Clock (1997-2007), Falling Rock (2000), Greenhouse (2003-2007), Black Panther (2008), Manifesto 1 (2008), Skybox (2011), Manifesto 2 (2013), Manifesto 3 (2018), and Manifesto 4 (2020).
The deeply complex and meticulous work of Charles Gaines (b., 1944, Charleston, South Carolina) has been included in significant exhibitions, including a survey of his early work, “Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974-1989,” organized by The Studio museum of Harlem. Most recently, his work has been presented in solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and DIA Beacon. It has also been included in group exhibitions at The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), New Museum (New York), Getty Center (Los Angeles), Para Site (Hong Kong), Fondation Cartier (Paris), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Villa Medici (Rome), among many other institutions. Recent forays into public art include his recently unveiled Moving Chains, a monumental kinetic sculpture sited on Governor’s Island in Manhattan.
“Charles Gaines: 1992-2022” is curated by Gean Moreno, Director of the institution’s Art + Research Center.