Writing Art History Since 2002

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Garner exposes the histories and enduring effects of racial violence in her upcoming solo show.

Photographer: Lexie Moreland. Courtesy of the artist, JTT, New York, and Pioneer Works, Brooklyn.

The New Museum will premiere ‘Doreen Lynette Garner: REVOLTED’, a solo presentation of new works by Doreen Lynette Garner (b. 1986, Philadelphia, PA), whose practice exposes the histories and enduring effects of racial violence in the United States through the frameworks of medicine and pathology by examining past and present examples of experimentation, malpractice, and exploitation enacted upon Black people. Drawing parallels to contemporary forms of displacement and neo-imperialism, her latest projects survey the forced spread of viruses and diseases to Indigenous lands in the Americas from Europe via the transatlantic slave trade and colonisation.

‘REVOLTED’ is a visceral confrontation with the gruesome physical and spiritual consequences of the transatlantic slave trade and the multitude of inhumane tortures carried out in its name and in its aftermath. Garner’s intricate and mesmerising sculptural objects – often comprised of silicone, insulation foam, glass, beads, crystals, pearls, synthetic hair, and other materials – uncannily evoke corporeal flesh, organs, and wounds. Proffering animal entrails and flesh bearing the marks of smallpox, scarlet fever, syphilis, and the bubonic plague, Garner presents a grotesque counter-narrative to the myth of white racial purity that has been leveraged to uphold white supremacy.

Inspired by a 1773 uprising onboard the slave ship New Britannia, ‘REVOLTED’ is also a meditation on rebellion, considering various modes of resistance from the era of the slave trade to today. The exhibition’s immersive, blood-red interior is a sensorial evocation of “seeing red,” the overwhelming urge to revolt against harmful systems, and the fortitude required to do so. This new project interrogates the abuse of power, the politics of redress and retribution, and ancestral revenge, imagining ways to act out a ritualistic catharsis of the persistent forms of violence Garner’s work exposes.

The exhibition is curated by Vivian Crockett and will be on view from the 30th of June until the 16th of October 2022. For more information, please visit the New Museum.

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