Going Dark: The Contemporary Figure at the Edge of Visibility
This large-scale exhibition features a multigenerational, multiracial group of artists who address pressing questions around what it means to be seen, not seen, or erased in society, through formal experimentations with the figure.
Recently opened at The Guggenheim Museum (20th Oct 2023), Going Dark: The Contemporary Figure at the Edge of Visibility, revolves around a dual concept of the figure; ever-present, yet obscured at the “edge of visibility.” Across a range of media — painting, photography, drawing, prints, sculpture, video, and installation — the selected artworks articulate pressing questions around what it means to be seen, not seen, or erased in society.
The exhibition’s 28 artists, a multi-generational group comprising a majority of Black and women artists, explore obscurity via a variety of guises. They darken their images through lighting techniques, paint selections, reversing or otherwise concealing the body, and post-production tools such as “chroma-keying” – a method typically used in media production to remove elements from footage (known most commonly as a ‘green screen’.)
In Going Dark suggests that these approaches to depicting the figure engage discussions regarding social visibility: invisibility and hypervisibility within public and private spaces, as well as within institutions, history, popular media, and social media. Through revealing and concealing the body, Going Dark probes a key point of conflict in representation: both the desire to be seen and the desire for obscurity, especially as technology offers more opportunities for exposure than ever before.
Going Dark: The Contemporary Figure at the Edge of Visibility is organized by Ashley James, Associate Curator, Contemporary Art, with Faith Hunter, Curatorial Assistant. The featured artists are American Artist, Kevin Beasley, Rebecca Belmore, Dawoud Bey, John Edmonds, Ellen Gallagher, David Hammons, Lyle Ashton Harris, Tomashi Jackson, Titus Kaphar, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Joiri Minaya, Sandra Mujinga, Chris Ofili, Sondra Perry, Farah Al Qasimi, Faith Ringgold, Doris Salcedo, Lorna Simpson, Ming Smith, Sable Elyse Smith, Stephanie Syjuco, Hank Willis Thomas, WangShui, Carrie Mae Weems, and Charles White.