A Place for Me: Figurative Painting Now

A Place for Me celebrates a new generation of artists at the vanguard of contemporary painting. David Antonio Cruz, Louis Fratino, Doron Langberg, Aubrey Levinthal, Gisela McDaniel, Arcmanoro Niles, Celeste Rapone, and Ambera Wellmann are propelling figurative painting’s recent revival by depicting what they love—their friends, lovers, and family; studio spaces and homes; and the scenes that make up their everyday. Evoking intimacy, community, and the personal in the power to represent oneself in painting, these artists consider the politics of seeing and being seen and how the process of painting might register care, tenderness, fragility, empathy, and resilience. Colorful, surprising, and full of life, A Place for Me is a testament to the vitality of contemporary figurative art, reflecting a multitude of styles and approaches to painting through a cross-section of contemporary painting today.

Raúl de Nieves: The Treasure House of Memory

Raúl de Nieves (b. 1983, Michoacán, Mexico) is a New York–based interdisciplinary artist, performer, and musician whose multifaceted practice ranges from stained-glass-style narrative paintings to animated performances, to densely adorned figurative sculptures encrusted with bangles, beads, bells, sequins, and other homespun materials. These opulent, joyful sculptures reference traditional costumes in Mexican culture and modes of dress from drag, ballroom, and queer club cultures, while also evoking religious processional attire and the outfits worn by circus performers. All of his works share a distinctive visual language that draws from Mexican craft traditions, religious iconography, mythology, and folktales to explore the transformational possibilities of adornment and the mutability of sexuality and identity. For the ICA, de Nieves is creating a body of interconnected works rooted in memory and exploring themes of personal transformation. The Treasure House of Memory expands the artist’s inventive adaptation of iconographic traditions inherited from the past through vibrant amalgamations of form and material rendered in an energetic and accessible visual language. 

Napoleon Jones-Henderson: I Am As I Am—A Man

For more than 50 years, Napoleon Jones-Henderson (b. 1943, Chicago) has created works that strive to highlight, celebrate, and empower the communities where he lives. Jones-Henderson is a longstanding founding member of the influential artist collective African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCOBRA). His work translates AfriCOBRA’s aesthetic principles—to create images inspired by the lived experience and cultures of people of the African diaspora in an accessible graphic style with shining Kool-Aid colors—into woven tapestries, mosaic tile works, shrine-like sculptures, and varied works on paper. Often focused on themes of Pan-Africanism and racial justice, Jones-Henderson’s work aims to be self-affirming and reflective, with an eye toward both a fraught past and a liberated future. The artist integrates forms from African ritual sculpture and Southern vernacular architecture and incorporates reverential references to jazzman Duke Ellington’s “Sacred Concerts,” musicians Sun Ra and Stevie Wonder, and writer June Jordan, among others. Made in close collaboration with the artist, this concise survey draws together a suite of Jones-Henderson’s works in various media across a 50-year period, centered around his magisterial woven textiles. Jones-Henderson has been based since 1974 in Roxbury, where he has been an influential community member, educator, and mentor. This is his most comprehensive solo museum exhibition in Boston.  

The Worlds We Make: Selections from the ICA Collection

With every call for social change arrives the possibility to make the world anew. The Worlds We Make: Selections from the ICA Collection explores how artists have visualized beyond present reality to imagine, dream, and realize the world-otherwise. Drawn from the ICA’s permanent collection and Boston-area collections, these works consider world-making in relation to broader themes such as climate and the natural environment, historical narratives and speculative fictions, the supernatural and the planetary. Expansive in subject and medium, the exhibition includes works by artists such as Maria Magdalena Campos-PonsNjideka Akunyili Crosby, Jeffrey Gibson, Lorraine O’GradyMatthew Ritchie, and Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA), among others.  

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