Event is free with RSVP. Seating will begin at 6P with conversation beginning promptly at 6:30P. Space is limited; RSVP does not guarantee seat. Talk will take place on our outdoor, shaded rooftop.
Hear from Rodney McMillian, the inaugural winner of the Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize, about his exhibition Against a Civic Death.
Chief Curator Heather Pesanti joins McMillian to talk about his new art in the context of a larger body of work that weaves elements of US social and political history, the body, and architecture into complex tapestries entrenched in myth, memory, and storytelling.
Sign up at the talk to order a signed, discounted copy of the forthcoming catalogue, to be released in Fall 2018! Rodney McMillian: History is Present Tense showcases The Contemporary Austin exhibition alongside a history of the artist’s performance-based work from 2000-2017. The book, co-published by The Contemporary Austin and Radius Books, includes installation images, new scholarly research, and essays by Heather Pesanti, Adrienne Edwards, Bennett Simpson, and Cherise Smith. Special discount for pre-ordering in person the evening of the artist talk!
Rodney McMillian (American, born 1969 in Columbia, South Carolina, lives and works in Los Angeles, California) received his MFA in 2002 from the California Institute of the Arts, a post-baccalaureate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2000, and his BA (Foreign Affairs) from the University of Virginia in 1991. In 2016, McMillian was the subject of three solo museum exhibitions at the following venues: the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the Aspen Art Museum in 2015, an exhibition that traveled in 2016 to MoMA PS1, Long Island City, New York. McMillian has also had solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2009); The Kitchen, New York City (2008); and the NAK Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen, Germany (2007), among others. His work has been featured prominently in biennials including the 12th Sharjah Biennial, United Arab Emirates (2015) and the 2008 Whitney Biennial, New York; as well as in many group exhibitions including at the Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway (2016 and 2005); the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and the Contemporary Art Museum Houston (both 2014); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2012 and 2006); Project Row Houses, Houston (2010); and The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago and Artpace, San Antonio (both 2008). He has received awards from The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation (2011); United States Artists and Art Matters (both 2008); and the William H. Johnson Foundation for the Arts (2007). McMillian is the inaugural recipient of The Contemporary Austin’s Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize and his solo exhibition, Against a Civic Death, is on view at the museum’s Jones Center on Congress Avenue location through August 26, 2018.
The Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs at The Contemporary Austin, where she has worked since 2013, Heather Pesanti has organized monographic exhibitions and outdoor commissions of work by John Bock, Anya Gallaccio, Lionel Maunz, Wangechi Mutu, Monika Sosnowska, Robert Therrien, and Marianne Vitale, as well as the current exhibition of work by Rodney McMillian and a forthcoming project by Abraham Cruzvillegas (2019). In 2015, she organized Strange Pilgrims, a large-scale, thematic exhibition on experiential art that engaged three venues. Prior to Austin, from 2008 to 2013, Pesanti lived in Buffalo, New York, where, as Curator of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, she organized Wish You Were Here: The Buffalo Avant-garde in the 1970s, a historic survey of Buffalo’s dynamic arts scene in the 1970s (2012), and was adjunct professor in the Visual Studies Department at the University at Buffalo. From 2005 to 2008, she was assistant curator of Life on Mars, the 2008 Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art. Pesanti earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, with graduate degrees from the University of Oxford, England, and New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, and was recently a 2017 fellow in the Getty Leadership Institute. Pesanti has published catalogues for exhibitions including Strange Pilgrims, Garth Weiser: Paintings, 2008–2017, A Secret Affair: Selections from the Fuhrman Family Collection, Wish You Were Here: The Buffalo Avant-garde in the 1970s, and Life on Mars, and is the lead author on the forthcoming monograph on the artist Rodney McMillian. She is currently working on a large-scale exhibition on the intersection of art and anthropology, scheduled to be on view at The Contemporary Austin in 2019.