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Rodney McMillan Features New Commission by the Artist in His First Solo Museum Exhibition
Rodney McMillian, Sentimental Disappointment, 2009. View of: Untitled (futon), 2009, video, 24:59 minutes; Untitled (kitchen table and chairs), 2009, wood, plastic and metal, approx. 30 in. x 36 in. x 8 ft.; Untitled (4443 Prospect Ave.), 2009, Acrylic and latex on canvas, 14.5 x 31 ft., Courtesy of the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Photo: John Kennard.

BOSTON, MA.- The 14th exhibition in the Institute of Contemporary Art's Momentum series features American artist Rodney McMillian in his first U.S. solo museum presentation. Momentum examines new developments in contemporary art, inviting emerging artists from the U.S. and around the world to show their work at the ICA. For his ICA exhibition, Rodney McMillian presents Sentimental Disappointment, a new installation featuring video, found-object sculpture and an over 30-foot long painting that stretches across the gallery. Momentum 14: Rodney McMillian is on view at the ICA through November 1, 2009.

In a moment of economic instability and housing foreclosures, McMillian’s new work, Sentimental Disappointment, offers a timely look at the social, political and personal meanings that construct the place we call “home”. Using many elements from his own house, the artist draws a connection between lived experience and larger movements in our society. Untitled (4443 Prospect Ave.)—McMillian’s largest painting to date—dominates the gallery with a life-sized outline of the artist’s house. In front of the painting, the artist has placed items from his home including a refrigerator, kitchen table and chairs—items whose worn surfaces hint at the people who once used them. In this familiar kitchen environment, McMillian introduces signs of emotional trauma and physical confrontation. A hole has been punched through the freezer door. The stained seat of an armchair is penetrated by a column covered in layers of black paint. On McMillian’s kitchen table, a monitor displays Untitled (futon), a video work depicting the artist laboriously destroying a futon mattress with nothing but a kitchen knife.

Outside the main gallery space, McMillian presents another video work, Untitled (I loves you Porgy). In the video, the artist moves in time to Diana Ross’s version of I Loves You Porgy from the Gershwin opera Porgy and Bess—the first opera about African-American life and performed by an all-black cast. Set in contrast to the gentle love song, McMillian’s anxious and insistent movements draw us into an atmosphere of emotional tension. Combining powerful aesthetic language with layers of different references, McMillian’s work pushes us to see how artistic form and cultural meaning are intimately connected.

Born in Columbia, South Carolina in 1969, McMillian lives and works in Los Angeles. McMillian has had solo exhibitions at the Kitchen, New York (2008); ArtNova, ArtBasel Miami Beach (2006); and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects (2006 and 2003). His work has been featured prominently in several group exhibitions, including 30 Americans, the Rubell Collection, Miami (2009) and the Whitney Biennial, New York (2008), among others. Momentum 14, which features a newly commissioned installation, is the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the U.S.

Institute of Contemporary Art | Gershwin | Diana Ross | Rodney McMillian | Rubell Collection | Miami |

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