Inbox: Kevin Beasley

Jun 17–Jul 17, 2016

MoMA

Kevin Beasley. Untitled (Sea). 2016. House dresses, resin and fiberglass, 82 × 96 × 26 1/2″ (208.3 × 243.8 × 67.3 cm). Gift of Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis
  • MoMA, Floor 1, Museum Lobby Museum Lobby

Kevin Beasley (American, born 1985) conceived Untitled (Sea) after discovering a cast-off garment flattened against the ground on a Harlem street. He obtained many such housedresses in various colors and patterns from Harlem retailers, opened the seams of the garments, sewed together a number of them, and doused them with a malleable resin. Beasley manipulated the material around a mold only until it hardened, producing a luminous surface of drapes that at once conceals and reveals the hollow space behind it. Suggesting the persistence of the garments’ absent wearers, the work invites viewers to imagine other lives and the shapes they assume—“the ghosts of Harlem floating on the walls,” as the artist puts it.

Beasley is perhaps best known for performances that focus on the interaction between bodily movement and sound production, works created by embedding microphones and audio processors in materials that are activated during the course of a performance. But sculpture has always been central to his practice: “It was my questioning of sculpture that brought me to work with sound the way that I do—not the other way around.”

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