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Kori Newkirk: 1997-2007 on View at The Pasadena Museum of California Art
Kori Newkirk, Still from Bixel, 2005, DVD Projection, TRT 05:00, Courtesy of the artist and The Project, New York +


PASADENA.- Kori Newkirk (b. 1970) is a celebrated multidisciplinary artist whose conceptual practice is based on transforming modest materials into loaded signifiers that question both cultural and aesthetic notions of beauty. Newkirk elegantly blends medium and message-using photographs, wax, hair pomade, beads and neon lights-to forge a new paradigm in art practice. This survey exhibition presents work produced since Newkirk received his MFA from the University of California at Irvine, includes a site-specific project and illustrates how interrelated strands of his practice have converged and developed over time.

Kori Newkirk makes multimedia paintings, sculptural installations, and photographs that explore the formal properties of materials, the politics of identity, and the artist’s personal history. Although cultural references emerge in his recurring use of pomade and plastic pony beads, both used to style black hair, as well as the color white, with its connotations of race and pristine environments, the symbolic possibilities of these elements are always matched by their formal elegance.

Kori Newkirk is a young artist with exciting promise. Like many young African Americans who value the memory of the struggle of their race, Newkirk recalls vividly the stories his father used to tell him about his family's history. His father purposefully wanted to keep the memories of his ancestors and their struggles alive. Through his art, Newkirk likes to combine these memories with his individual experience, thus keeping in mind how he and his community were shaped by the efforts of others. His philosophy is that all of us are beneficiaries of others who have sacrificed for us, suffered for us, loved us and worked for us.

Newkirk has studied the documented and recorded history of African Americans, as well as investigated his own family history. He knows that his family name Newkirk, for instance, is an Anglicization of a Dutch name, Nieuwkirk. Cornelisse van Nieuwkirk, a white slave master, emigrated from Holland to America in 1659, and it was his descendants who imported Newkirk's forefathers to America in the late 18th century. This precise knowledge of his family's role in the history of the country and their ensuing struggles has led Newkirk to create works of art that are poignant visual reminders of the inhumanity of racism.







Today's News

June 19, 2008

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Kori Newkirk: 1997-2007 on View at The Pasadena Museum of California Art

Miniature Worlds: Art from India at The Palmer Museum of Art

Timothy J. Clark: A Retrospective at The Butler Institute of American Art

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