October 21, 2012–January 7, 2013 The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
Curated by MOCA’s Bennett Simpson, Blues for Smoke will launch in October through January, before traveling to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, where it will be presented February through April 2013.
The Museum of Contemporary Art is proud to present Blues for Smoke, a major interdisciplinary exhibition exploring a wide range of contemporary art, music, literature, and film through the lens of the blues and “blues aesthetics.” Turning to the blues not simply as a musical category, but as a web of artistic sensibilities and cultural idioms, the exhibition features works by more than 50 artists from the 1950s to the present, including many commissioned specifically for this occasion and others never before shown in Los Angeles, as well as a range of musical, filmic, and cultural materials. Blues for Smoke was developed over several years by MOCA Curator Bennett Simpson, in close consultation with artist Glenn Ligon.
“Though it takes up ideas from the past, this exhibition is pitched at the present moment,” says Curator Bennett Simpson. “The questions and topics the blues makes us think about, from ambivalent feelings to form as cultural expression, are fundamental to recent art. As I see it, the blues is about anticipation.”
Blues for Smoke will be installed in 24,000 square feet of gallery space at The Geffen Contemporary at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In addition to the many artworks that feature music or have audio components, the exhibition will present a range of listening posts and video viewing stations, as well as contextual displays of books, photographs, and other documentary material.
ARTISTS Jean-Michel Basquiat, Romare Bearden, Gregg Bordowitz, Mark Bradford, Kamau Brathwaite, Ed Clark, Roy DeCarava, Beauford Delaney, Jeff Donaldson, Stan Douglas, Jimmie Durham, Melvin Edwards, William Eggleston, Charles Gaines, Renée Green, David Hammons, Kira Lynn Harris, Rachel Harrison, Barkley L. Hendricks, Leslie Hewitt, Martin Kippenberger, Jutta Koether, Liz Larner, Zoe Leonard, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Barbara McCollough, Dave McKenzie, Rodney McMillian, Mark Morrisroe, Matt Mullican, Senga Nengudi, Kori Newkirk, Lorraine O’Grady, John Outterbridge, Adrian Piper, William Pope.L, Jeff Preiss, Amy Sillman, Lorna Simpson, Henry Taylor, Alma Thomas, Bob Thompson, Wu Tsang, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, William T. Williams, Martin Wong.