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September 8-11, 2022   Javits Center


Focus: Another time, another place

Curated by Jamillah James, Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Art, at its very core, is a fiction in the service of some truth. Photography, painting, and sculpture often share the commonality of being a representation, a simulation of something beyond itself. Light, gesture, and ideas can become material, a testament to art and artists’ ability to take something, however unremarkable or ordinary, and transform it into something extraordinary—and at times life changing.

The 2020 Focus section will consider artists’ relationships with truth as a received form of knowledge. Each participating artist constructs or choreographs a version of history, reality, or self where the boundaries of fact and fiction are indistinct. While the motivations, approaches, and results may be distinct, these inquiries invite viewers to examine their own preconceptions and expectations. Taken as a whole, Another time, another place is an open-ended proposition that asks how history functions when the present is constantly accelerating, and how much agency individuals or communities have in narrating their experiences and making new worlds.

— Jamillah James, Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Katja Larsson, Achilles, 2019. Photo credit: the artist and Aicon Contemporary.
Photo credit: Paul Sepuya.

Jamillah James is Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA). With Margot Norton, Curator at the New Museum, New York, James is co-curating the 2021 edition of the New Museum Triennial. James’ recent exhibitions include No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake, the most comprehensive exhibition to date of artist, educator, and curator Nayland Blake; This Has No Name, the first US survey of B. Wurtz; and solo presentations of Lucas Blalock, Maryam Jafri, Rafa Esparza, Abigail DeVille, and Sarah Cain. Prior to joining ICA LA in 2016, James was Assistant Curator at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, working in collaboration with the nonprofit Art + Practice, where she organized exhibitions of Simone Leigh, Alex Da Corte, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, among others. She has held curatorial positions at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; the Queens Museum, Flushing, New York; and independently organized exhibitions, performances, screenings, and public programs at alternative and artist-run spaces throughout the US and Canada since 2004.

Explore the 2020 Focus Projects here

Perspectives: Past as Present

Curated by Nora Burnett Abrams, Mark G. Falcone Director, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

Perspectives is a newly introduced section dedicated to historical artworks viewed through a contemporary lens. For its inaugural edition, Perspectives will bring together a range of projects that evoke the spirit of The Armory Show’s early years, when exhibitors offered daring, gritty, even whimsical presentations.

Art from the past can in many ways be understood as a catalyst for art of the present. Past as Present aims to generate new dialogues across generations and movements, both within each presentation and amongst the collection of presentations on view, ultimately offering new perspectives on the continuum of art history. Leading contemporary artists will be presented alongside influential historical figures, and lesser-known artists will be given a platform for rediscovery. Offering an unusual and unexpected look into the past, Perspectives will function as a nexus from which the many currents of thought represented elsewhere in the fair radiate.

— Nora Burnett Abrams, Mark G. Falcone Director, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, Unwritten Love Letter: Toni Morrison, 1988. Photo credit: ACA Galleries, NY.
Photo credit: From the Hip Photo.

Nora Burnett Abrams is the Mark G. Falcone Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. Her career began at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she worked on the exhibitions Sol LeWitt on the Roof and Robert Rauschenberg: Combines. Since arriving in Denver in 2010, she has organized over 35 exhibitions and authored over a dozen accompanying publications. Recent projects highlight unusual or unknown episodes in artists’ careers, such as Basquiat Before Basquiat (2017); the first survey of Senga Nengudi’s R.S.V.P. sculptures (2014); a retrospective of Tara Donovan (2018–19); and a presentation of never-before-seen photographs and ephemera by Francesca Woodman (2019). She holds art history degrees from Stanford University (BA), Columbia University (MA), and the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University (PhD).

Explore the 2020 Perspectives Projects here

Platform: Brutal Truths

Curated by Anne Ellegood, Executive Director, Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

This year’s Platform projects consider how the provocative and potent genres of satire, caricature, and the grotesque have endured through time—and are being taken up by contemporary artists as sharp tools of social critique. At a global moment of heightened political partisanship and corruption, mounting threats to basic human rights, and frequent environmental calamities, artists’ keen observations and sharp wit serve to illuminate the perils of these issues and to encourage civic engagement. Brutal Truths underscores the need for artists to be able to interpret recent cultural and political events in their work freely and unfettered, argues for art as a catalyst for public discourse, and offers viewpoints that utilize humor, exaggeration, and the outlandish to emphasize the urgency of the issues they highlight, while simultaneously imparting a dose of levity. For centuries, artists have acted as incisive social critics, and there seems to be no better time to call attention to contemporary artists who draw upon these traditions with fresh insight and formal ingenuity.

— Anne Ellegood, Executive Director, Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Edward and Nancy Kienholz, The Caddy Court, 1986–87. Photo credit: L.A. Louver.
Photo credit: Andre Vippolis.

Anne Ellegood has been Executive Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA), since September 2019. Previously, she was Senior Curator at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Curator of Contemporary Art at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; and Associate Curator at the New Museum, New York. Recent exhibitions include the Hammer's biennial of Los Angeles artists, Made in L.A. 2018; the first North American Jimmie Durham retrospective (2017); and Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology (2014). Ellegood has organized numerous solo shows, including those on Diana Al-Hadid, Eric Baudelaire, Kevin Beasley, Shannon Ebner, Latifa Echakhch, Charles Gaines, Yunhee Min, John Outterbridge, Tschabalala Self, Frances Upritchard, and many others.

Explore the 2020 Platform Projects here