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Atlanta Contemporary announces Decade by Baseera Khan
February 15, 2020
Atlanta Contemporary announces Decade by Baseera Khan
On View: May 7, 2020 – August 9, 2020
Public Opening: Thursday, May 7, 2020, 6 to 9pm
ATLANTA - February 15, 2020 -- Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (Atlanta Contemporary) is pleased to present Decade by New York-based artist, Baseera Khan. The solo-exhibition, curated by Dr. Katie Geha, is Khan’s first showing in the Southeast featuring their thought process and work made in the last decade complicating notions of empire, historical lineage, and what it means to be a femme Muslim in America today. Through the creation of their own lexicon, Khan uses a variety of materials and approaches--installation, collage, performance, and sound--in order to work through everyday forms of patriarchy and racism within a global framework. “I combine distinct and often mutually exclusive cultural references to explore the conditions of alienation, displacement, assimilation, and fluidity that produce a collaged identity,” Khan explains. “Bodies are constantly subject to volatile social environments, especially within capitalist-driven societies such as the United States.”
One of Khan’s most well-known works, Iamuslima (2017), a pair of black Nike Air Force One Mid-Top sneakers, is emblematic of her investigations into language, capitalism, and faith. Thin gold thread on the back of each customizable shoe spells out “Muslima,” an affectionate term used by Muslim women to describe other Muslim women. Khan had Nike stitch the word into the sneakers learning that “Muslim” was on its list of banned words, thus both circumventing and revealing the intrinsic ties between commerce and racism.
In this exhibition, Khan recalls the Othered body via a series of “seats” that were inspired by the 2018 House of Representatives election. Each object resembles the seat of a chair and is wrapped in colorful fabric sourced from protective head wrappings and familial textiles. Punched with a leather hole maker, the seating arrangement of the House of Representatives emerges amid the patterned fabric. As political as it is personal, Khan is commenting on the severe lack of representation of black and brown bodies in government while also nodding to their recent history; their mother was a leather maker for Neiman Marcus in Texas directly before Ronald Reagan’s crack down on undocumented labor workers in the 1980s.
Khan’s recent photo-collage works will also be on display. Employing plexiglass cut-outs in bright hues of pink and yellow, Khan simultaneously obscures and highlights the found images of Gujarat, one of India’s oldest temples that is also the site of recent atrocities, the 2002 anti-Muslim programs. Other works feature findings from Khans travels, pages torn from the East German anti-capitalist comic book magazine, Mosaik, that often features anti-Semitic caricatures. The heightened self-consciousness brought on by such imagery is infused in Khan’s body of work made in the past ten years. As she states: “Living between the realms of surveillance and otherness results in a suspension between exile and kinship central to my practice.”
Baseera Khan was born in 1980 in Denton, Texas and lives and works in New York City. Selected solo and two-person exhibitions include: The Kitchen, New York (forthcoming, 2020); Simone Subal, New York (2019); Jenkins Johnson, New York (2019); Colorado Springs Fine Art Centers, Colorado (2018); OSMOSaddress, New York (2018); Texas Christian University College of Fine Arts, Fort Worth, Texas (2017); Participant Inc. Gallery, New York (2017); and Critical Practices Inc., New York (2015). Selected group exhibitions include: Gracie Mansion Conservancy, New York (forthcoming, 2020); The Wexner Center for Arts, Ohio (forthcoming, 2020), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, California (2020), Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism, Germany ( 2019); BRIC, New York (2019); Albany Museum, Albany, NY (2019); Ford Foundation Gallery, New York (2019); Helena Anrather, New York (2019); St. John the Divine Church, New York (2019); Simone Subal Gallery, New York (2018); MoCA Tucson, Arizona (2018); Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, New York (2018); 47 Canal, New York (2018); Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York (2018); Smack Mellon, New York (2018); The Kitchen, New York (2018); Kate Werble Gallery, New York (2018); Sculpture Center, New York (2018); Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado (2018); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2017); Queens Museum, New York (2017); Socrates Sculpture Park, New York (2017); and Abrons Art Center, New York (2017). Baseera Khan has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships including BRIC Colene Brown Art Prize (2019); Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant (2019); Art Matters Grant (2018); Artist in Residence, Pioneer Works, New York (2018); Artist in Residence, AIRspace, Abrons Art Center, New York (2016); and Artist in Residence, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Program, Maine (2014). Baseera Khan’s work is part of the following public collections: Kadist, Paris and San Francisco; and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
About Atlanta Contemporary
Atlanta Contemporary engages the public through the creation, presentation and advancement of contemporary art. Founded in 1973 as Nexus, a grassroots artists’ cooperative, Atlanta Contemporary has since become one of the southeast’s leading contemporary art centers. We play a vital role in Atlanta’s cultural landscape by presenting over 100 consequential artists from the local, national, and international art scenes through our various exhibition and project spaces each year. We are one of the few local art organizations that commission new works, paying attention to artists of note who have not had a significant exhibition in the Southeast. We organize over 100 diverse educational programs annually including Contemporary Kids, Contemporary Cocktails, Contemporary Talks, Movement Love and more! Atlanta Contemporary provides on-site subsidized studio space to working artists through the Studio Artist Program, removing cost as a barrier to the creative process. Visit atlantacontemporary.org to learn more.
All press inquiries, contact:
Veronica Kessenich, Executive Director
Redacted Frame, 2019
Acrylic, chromatic prints, custom handmade silk rug pieces made in Kashmir, India
41 ¼ × 31 ¼ inches (104.78 × 79.38 cm)
Courtesy of the artist and Simone Subal Gallery, New York.
Photo by Dario Lasagni