Figures from the Collection offers various artists’ perspectives on people and their surroundings. The works’ subject matter ranges from autobiographical and inclusive of friends and acquaintances to historical or completely fictional. Taken entirely from the Modern’s permanent collection, the exhibition includes paintings, photographs, videos, prints, and drawings.
Nina Chanel Abney's paintings are visually frenetic, reflecting the fast-paced energy of life today. Her imagery refers to such diverse subjects as pop culture, world events, and art history in compositions with flattened, simplified forms. Abney's works commonly incorporate snippets of text, disembodied figures and silhouettes, and geometric abstract shapes. Themes that relate to American society, including celebrity culture, race, sexuality, and police brutality, are broached in her paintings.
Michael Auping is one of the most significant curators of our generation. Through his exhibitions and writings, he has chronicled many of the leading artists of the last decades—often producing definitive treatments on artists from Lucian Freud, Georg Baselitz, and Anselm Kiefer to Frank Stella, Susan Rothenberg, and Bruce Nauman. Auping’s “secret sauce” is his ability to enter the minds and lives of artists, thus grasping not only the artwork itself but its conception, process, and facture. Adam Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director, Whitney Museum of American Art