Death, Wine, Revolt: Uneventful Days
Wardell Milan LA Pop-Up Exhibition
Opening reception: Wednesday, February 12, 5-8pm
Tuesday-Saturday, 10-6pm, or by appointment
David Nolan Gallery is delighted to announce Wardell Milan’s Death, Wine, Revolt: Uneventful Days, a pop-up exhibition at 2766 La Cienega Blvd., on view February 9 - 22, 2020.
For his third solo exhibition with David Nolan Gallery, and the first in Los Angeles, Wardell Milan introduces a new body of work that explores the daily lives of white nationalists. In depicting their morning rituals, social gatherings and in their most intimate moments, Milan reveals the banality of hate.
Milan’s practice is conceptually grounded in photography, often using photographs as initial inspiration behind composition of drawings and collages. Referencing artists such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Diane Arbus, Andres Serrano, Alec Soth, and Eugene Richards, Milan appropriates, and in some cases re-appropriates the photographs, and thus the bodies depicted. Milan also uses images and objects to establish allegorical connections between history and contemporary events. For instance, the camelia flowers seen in this exhibition reference the antebellum white terrorist organization known as The Knights of the White Camelia. Milan’s representation of history through the use of flora allegory is reminiscent of the artist’s initial interest in the tulip flower, which began as an investigation of financial speculation and the economic crash of 2008, and remains a consistent element in his practice.
Death, Wine, Revolt: Uneventful Days continues Milan’s most recent explorations into voyeurism and spectatorship, accompanied by a portfolio of eight etchings entitled The Balcony, created over several months with Borch Editions in Copenhagen. Inspired by the eponymous play by Jean Genet, the series reflects on acts of spectatorship vs. participation, power dynamics, liberation and penance through sexual submission. As with the works presented in Uneventful Day, Milan places the viewer just beyond the image border as though seated on a balcony protected from the melodrama below.
In addition to the work presented in the gallery Milan will mount a series of Klansmen portraits on billboards and bus stop shelters around Los Angeles, the place of movie and advertising imagery. Milan invites the passerby to consider their coexistence with these startling and haunting visuals. As we remain passive observers both within Milan’s portrayals and as witnesses to them, it becomes necessary for us to question our own preconceived morality.
Wardell Milan (b. 1977, Knoxville, Tennessee) received his MFA from Yale University. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Greater New York (2015 and 2005); MoMA PS1, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Crystal Bridges Museum of Contemporary Art, Bentonville, AK; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco; SCAD, Savannah, GA; Queens International (2018 and 2006), Queens Museum of Art, New York; The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Camden Arts Center, London; National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland; White Columns, New York; among others.
His work is represented in numerous museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; The Morgan Library & Museum, New York; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Denver Art Museum, CO; Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago; Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York; Dartmouth Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Daniel & Florence Guerlain Contemporary Art Foundation, Paris; UBS Art Collection; Hall Art Foundation Collection, among others.
Milan has received grants and fellowships from Joan Mitchell Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, among others. Milan lives and works in New York.