Tariku Shiferaw

It's a love thang, it's a joy thang

Galerie Lelong
528 W 26th Street
New York
Chelsea
Apr 1st 2021 — May 15th 2021

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“In another time, in another place / You would be mine / On a brighter day, under a different sky,” croons the singer SiR, from his fittingly titled album “Chasing Summer.” The title of the exhibition for which Tariku Shiferaw selected the song, “It’s a love thang, it’s a joy thang,” distills a spectrum of emotions: happiness, wistfulness, and pain.

Each track from the playlist by Black artists is made up of hip hop, R&B, blues, and pop songs, and each song name lends itself to one of Shiferaw’s ongoing series of paintings. The series “One of These Black Boys,” of abstract canvases, struck through with skin tone colored bars, can be read variously: Cranes in the Sky (Solange) (2020), a redacted document before a whirling summer sky; You Can't Save Me (Sir) (2021), an attempt to introduce Brown and Black flesh tones to the thoroughly white-and-blonde depictions of American seaside leisure. Lastly, Slide (H.E.R.) (2021) [pictured], posits dark-flesh rectangular strips, over a scumbling Robert Ryman-like white background—perhaps a slight reproach to the discriminative culture of abstraction.

The installation of Jerusalema (Master KG) (2021), which spans an entire room, draws from the artist’s childhood in Los Angeles. It takes the form of a beach scene where loose canvases drape at the sides of the room like wet towels, and another blue towel—mirroring a body of water—is buried under sand. It imagines a utopia: fencing covers the wall with graffiti and a metallic-like reflective sheet in this unreachable place of leisure. “Joy,” reads the fine text on the wall, a line from a Toi Derricotte poem, “is an act of resistance.”

Tariku Shiferaw, Slide (H.E.R.), 2021. Acrylic on canvas, 72 x 60 inches.

  • Through
    Jun 6th

    A traveling exhibition of 69 oil paintings, watercolors and works on paper aims to chart Milton Avery’s trajectory and contextualize his work for a new generation.

  • Through
    May 29th

    Inspired by fractals, Renee Cox’s deity-like collages of Black figures constitute an Afrofuturist creation myth.

  • Through
    Jun 6th

    An economical survey of Jonas Mekas, “The Camera Was Always Running” serves as a touching introduction to the Lithuanian filmmaker and champion of avant-garde cinema.

  • Through
    May 28th

    The work in Valentina Vaccarella’s “Bless this Life” rests on a simple irony: monogrammed, embroidered French bridal linens pulled taut across stretcher bars and besmirched by rough images of modern madams.

  • Through
    Jun 6th

    Daniel Lie’s “Unnamed Entities” at the New Museum challenges the antiseptic aim of curation and conservation by imagining a different kind of organic art that needs to be nurtured rather than preserved.

  • Ongoing

    Dia’s recent acquisition of works by Charles Gaines forms the basis of this survey, which includes the artist’s first forays into mathematics-based grid drawings and other early experiments in medium and form.

  • Ongoing

    Day’s End, an elegiac memorial to and stubborn ghost of eras bygone, will also serve as silent witness to the inevitable changes to come.

  • Through
    Jan 2nd 2023

    The sonic encounters provoked by Camille Norment’s elaborate acoustic artworks serve as agents for social consciousness.

  • Through
    May 28th

    The words masterful and mastery assert themselves the instant one encounters the works in “My Body,” both for Nancy Grossman’s command of a wide range of skills and her active state of dominance, identity and selfhood.