Charles Gaines

An Evening with Charles Gaines
Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne
18 October 2017, 6 - 7.30pm

Learn about the work of this significant artist who over 40 years has explored the relationship between aesthetics and politics.

Charles Gaines’ groundbreaking work serves as a critical bridge between the first generation conceptualists of the 1960s and 1970s and those artists of later generations exploring the limits of subjectivity and language.

Since the 1970s, Gaines has produced highly formal conceptual works that bring into play disparate artistic and political positions through a disciplined system or set of rules. Gaines’ interest in systems aesthetics can be related to the systematised work of minimalist, Fluxus and early conceptual artists, yet his works differ in their preparedness to engage directly with prosaic, social, political and philosophical propositions. As a result, his work evokes the far-ranging sets of relationships that shape humanitarian concerns and social justice.

Gaines' art has explored the relationship between aesthetics, politics, language and systems. He employs rule-based methodologies to investigate ways in which meaning can be experienced in images and words. Informed by sources as varied as Tantric Buddhist drawings, the systemized work of Hanne Darboven, and John Cage’s notions of indeterminacy, Gaines creates work that often employs plotting and mathematics to organize visual components.

Working serially in progressive and densely layered bodies of works, Gaines explores the interplay between objectivity and interpretation, the systematic and the poetic.

The University of Melbourne


Charles Gaines

Numbers and Trees IV, #2 Xeno (orange) (site-specific installation)
ICA Miami, Miami
1 December 2017 - 4 November 2018

Activating the staircase’s vertical cantilevers, the site-specific installation by Charles Gaines will explore the artist’s application of seriality on a massive scale. Gaines’s practice places him within the legacy of conceptualism, evidenced by works such as his gridded, serial images of trees painted on Plexiglas.

ICA Miami, Miami

Charles Gaines

Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/ Giuffrida Collection (group show)
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans
30 September 2017 – 21 January 2018

Solidary & Solitary, drawn from the Joyner/Giuffrida collection, tells the history of art by African American artists from the 1940s to the present moment. That story is a complicated one, woven from the threads of debates about how to represent blackness; social struggle and change; and migrations and diasporas, particularly in relation to Africa, a recent area of expansion for the collection. The collection is primarily focused on abstract art, broadly understood; this is a meaningful political focus, rather than a stylistic preference. For black artists, abstraction is charged with the refusal of representation that is socially dictated, both by racist stereotypes of the dominant culture, and the pressure from within the black community to create positive imagery. Abstract art as a practice embodies the possibility of individual freedom and autonomy, even within larger social identities. The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection has emphasized and celebrated individual specificity and achievement in collecting the work of many artists in-depth, even as it also ties the artists together in an intergenerational history. That intergenerational history is a story of mutual aid and care, of artistic inspiration—the power for a young artist of seeing another black person as a creative producer. The final element of Solidary & Solitary is implicit: the historical support of African-American collectors that has made it possible for generations of artists to sustain a livelihood and career outside the mainstream. Today, those collectors, together with scholars, curators, and other supporters, have been instrumental in claiming a seat at the central table for these artists. Solidary & Solitary celebrates the achievement of individual artists, the collective history told by their art, and the social changes that have changed the way we understand art history in the broadest sense.

It is essential that these histories be told, that the possibilities of individual achievement, collective identity, and genuine, institutional social change be made vivid, concrete, and beautiful. Only by remembering and understanding these histories can we move forward towards a different future, collectively imagined.

Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans

Charles Gaines

Field Guide (group show)
Remai Modern, Saskatoon
21 October 2017 - 25 February 2018

On October 21, 2017 Remai Modern will proudly present the inaugural exhibition for Canada’s new museum of modern art.

Field Guide, curated by Executive Director & CEO, Gregory Burke, and Director of Programs & Chief Curator, Sandra Guimarães, will animate the entire building. Selected works from the museum’s collection will be displayed in dialogue with contemporary projects, commissions and installations by international and Canadian artists. Upon opening, Remai Modern will be an artist-centred institution that raises questions, inspires discussion, and enables transformative experiences among both local and global audiences.

“The concept for Field Guide emerges from a set of questions we asked ourselves during the establishment of Remai Modern, including: What is modern? Can art confront reality? What is urgent and why? How will Indigeneity shape the future? And what role can be played by a new art museum opening in Saskatoon, Canada?” said Gregory Burke, Executive Director & CEO. “These questions, and others, will continue to inform the development of our programs, articulating a spirit of active engagement, curiosity and disruption.”

The exhibition will be anchored by several major artist projects that propose new social, personal, and political engagements with the institution and its audiences. A full list of artists included in Field Guide will be announced in the fall and will feature emerging and established artists working in a wide variety of media and across disciplines.

Remai Modern, Saskatoon

Darren Almond, Charles Gaines et al.

Time as Landscape - Inquiries of Art and Science (group show)
Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winter Park
29 September - 31 December 2017

Wonder. It is the experience of awe and inspiration; and also the action of questioning and seeking. Wonder – as experience and action – is cultivated mutually through science and art, and contemporary practices in both fields are more kindred than ever. In fact, their synergies have led in recent years to more overt cross-references and also fruitful and inventive collaborations between artists and scientists. The source of inspiration for this particular exhibition is a selection of artists who desire to understand, question and describe the subject of time: as scientific fact, as relative experience, as aesthetic archive.

The topic is timely as ongoing discussions of STEAM curriculum reverberate in our schools. The preciousness of time is also amplified by growing concerns about the environment and global mortality from a macro perspective to a micro vantage point as individuals struggle to make sense of a faster-paced, connected world where everything runs on the 24-hour news cycle.

Cornell Fine Arts Museum

Charles Gaines

Starless Midnight (group show)
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead
20 October 2017 - 21 January 2018

In the impromptu acceptance speech Dr Martin Luther King gave for his honorary degree from Newcastle University he spoke of three urgent problems throughout the world: ‘the problem of racism, the problem of poverty and the problem of war.’ Despite the advancements of civil rights since this speech, his words still ring true today and are set against a backdrop of political populism, post-truth and so-called ‘fake news’.

This major group exhibition, presented within BALTIC’s Level 3 gallery, will bring together leading international artists whose work, in very different ways, each sheds light upon this contemporary condition within a framework of the important legacies of Dr. King. Some new work will also be commissioned especially for the exhibition.

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead

Charles Gaines

Dimensions of Black (group show)
Manetti Shrem Museum, UC Davis, Davis
17 September - 28 December 2017

Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in collaboration with the San Diego African American Museum of Fine Art, Dimensions of Black traces the legacy of UC San Diego's MFA program by drawing from the museums' permanent collections. With over 30 artworks from the 1960s to today, the exhibition traverses crucial interests and perspectives that have shaped the art of our time.

Manetti Shrem Museum

Charles Gaines

Active Ingredients: Prompts, Props Performance (group show)
Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown
20 October 2017 - 7 January 2018

Charles Gaines, Notes on Social Justice: Wait Till Next November, (1892), 2013 © Charles Gaines. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
Charles Gaines, Notes on Social Justice: Wait Till Next November, (1892), 2013 © Charles Gaines. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Active Ingredients: Prompts, Props, Performance flips the script; it reveals the performativity of art objects, and the objectness of human performers. This two-part project consists of a gallery-based exhibition and a series of performances that together meditate on the meanings, subtleties, and complications of the term “performance.”

The exhibition casts props and sculptures as “performers” that prompt audience actions and interactions. The live series, A People’s History of Performance Art, stages iconic photographs of canonical performance art as tableaux vivants, turning actors into objects. Active Ingredients calls into question the distinction between “live and ephemeral” and “dead and static.”

Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown

Charles Gaines

Pivotal: Highlights from the Collection (group show)
Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach
7 October - 31 December 2017

Charles Gaines, Numbers And Trees X #4, Red Violet January, 1991. Courtesy the artist and Orange County Museum of Art
Charles Gaines, Numbers And Trees X #4, Red Violet January, 1991. Courtesy the artist and Orange County Museum of Art

OCMA has always championed artistic experimentation and innovation through a commitment to showing and collecting the work of dynamic and groundbreaking emerging artists. This installation will reveal how impactful and prescient OCMA has been in supporting the careers of some of the most influential artists from this region at pivotal moments in their careers.

Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach