The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Saturday, June 23, 2018

Exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist Sam Durant opens at Blum & Poe
Sam Durant, Transcendental (Wheatley's Desk, Emerson's Chair), 2016. Painted wood, 53 3/4 x 34 1/4 x 34 1/2 inches (136.5 x 87 x 87.6 centimeters). Unique. Photo: Joshua White/ Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Blum & Poe presents Build Therefore Your Own World, an exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist Sam Durant. The title is excerpted from a Ralph Waldo Emerson essay.

Durant continues his excavation of marginalized American histories, unearthing counter storylines to the historical canon. In this exhibition he proposes a hybridized cross-pollination between the iconic nineteenth century transcendentalists like Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Louisa May Alcott, with African writers such as Phillis Wheatley and Lucy Terry Prince, along with abolitionists like Frederick Douglass. Further developing his theses from a recent three-month long public art project in Concord, MA entitled The Meeting House, Durant transforms relics from this politically loaded site of American history into a prescient presentation of culturally charged artworks.

Immediately upon entering the main gallery, viewers encounter ”Every spirit builds itself a house, and beyond its house a world…Build therefore your own world,” 2017, an architectural structure based on the first houses built by and for the first free and emancipated Africans in Revolutionary Massachusetts. The horizontal boards that make up the walls of the deconstructed “home” become like lined paper, with texts painted directly on the inside walls by prominent, contemporary African American writers and poets: Tisa Bryant, Danielle Legros Georges, Robin Coste Lewis, and Kevin Young.

In addition to this reinterpreted hybrid “historical house” centerpiece, other artworks on view include sculptures that integrate artifacts related to African Americans in Colonial America and the notable transcendentalist writers and thinkers of pre- and post-Revolutionary Concord. Using precise 3-D renderings of original objects, the composite sculptures signify a fundamental interdependence of influences in the creation of American culture and identity. Works include a wooden mash-up of Phillis Wheatley’s writing desk with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s writing chair; a bronze cast of Jack Garrison’s walking stick intersected by Henry David Thoreau’s pencil; and the headstone of an enslaved man named John Jack crosscut by Thoreau’s flute. The headstone bears a remarkable epitaph revealing the contradiction of the American revolutionary call for freedom and liberty while upholding and profiting from slavery. The artist has also forged a billy club of carbon steel – these often used by African American self-defense groups and their white comrades in battling bounty hunters who came to Boston to hunt fugitive slaves after the Fugitive Slave Act was passed in the 1850s. The African American defenders never carried lethal weapons – the billy club is symbolic of their courage and conviction not to kill.

Hanging on the walls is a series of prison and military blankets flecked with Lincoln pennies arranged in the formation of Ursa Minor (“Little Dipper,” “Drinking Gourd,” etc.). These works indelibly link the North Star and the Little Dipper, symbols synonymous with freedom, to African American history and cultural lore.

Scattered throughout an adjacent gallery are bronze casts of fieldstones originally collected by Durant when visiting Massachusetts, inspired by Robin Coste Lewis’s poem “Inhabitants and Visitors” – an erasure work of Thoreau’s Walden. The fieldstone was and still is a common building material used for foundations, chimneys, and stonewalls in New England homes. When presented in the context of dialogue relating to seventeenth and eighteenth century slavery, the term “fieldstone” conjures reflections on oppression and violence. On the topic of slavery in New England, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote: “In fact, this ghastly blood traffic was so immense and its profits were so stupendous that the economics of several European nations owed their growth and prosperity to it and New England rested heavily on it for its development. [Charles A.] Beard declared it was fair to say of whole towns in New England and Great Britain: ‘The stones of your houses are cemented with the blood of African slaves.’”

In conjunction with the exhibition, Blum & Poe will publish a catalogue that will include new essays by curator Pedro Alonzo and conflict resolution and reconciliation activist Tim Phillips, along with new works of poetry by Tisa Bryant, Danielle Legros Georges, Robin Coste Lewis, and Kevin Young. The book will be co-published by Black Dog Publishing and will be available in Spring 2017.

Sam Durant lives and works in Los Angeles. His work has been exhibited extensively around the world including in recent solo exhibitions at Art and the Landscape, The Old Manse, Concord, MA (2016); Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, MO (2015); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2014); Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma, Rome, Italy (2013); dOCUMENTA (13), Karlsaue Park, Kassel, Germany (2013); Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA (2006); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (2003); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2002). His work is featured in public and private collections internationally including: the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris, France; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Project Row Houses, Houston, TX; Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium; and the Tate Modern, London, UK.

Today's News

January 7, 2017

After decades of slights, Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera tastes fame at 101

Ruth Asawa is now represented by David Zwirner

Exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist Sam Durant opens at Blum & Poe

Route 66 Motels by John Schott opens at Joseph Bellows Gallery

Marianne Boesky Gallery presents a selection of new works by Dutch artist Hannah van Bart

Japanese masterpieces reunited for first time in more than a century at Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

Kunsthalle Mannheim: new building to open in December 2017

New York State Museum opens Ice Ages exhibition

Once-in-a-lifetime collection of microscopes feature in Heritage's Gentleman Collector Auction

First exhibition of Sophie Kuijken in Paris opens at Galerie Nathalie Obadia

Bosnian actor sells Berlin film trophy to survive

Pakistan's regional languages face looming extinction

One-person exhibition of recent work by Jim Torok opens at Pierogi

Premiere Props to auction off over 600 props from the Resident Evil franchise

Gallery NAGA opens an exhibition of photographers using 19th century processes

Historic glass U.S. penny sold for $70,500 at Heritage Auctions

Important photography from Jan Saudek, Edward Sheriff Curtis, and Ansel Adams highlight Clars sale

Extended until March 4: bitforms fifteen-year anniversary exhibition at Minnesota Street Project

Award-winning Indian actor Om Puri dies of heart attack

Elizabeth Bick wins Norton Museum of Art's 2016 Rudin Prize for Emerging Photographers

Whyte's announces highlights from its Eclectic Collector Auction

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful