Ellen Gallagher and Edgar Cleijne, Osedax (detail), 2009–11, still from the 7-minute 20-second, color, 16-mm projection component of a mixed-media installation additionally comprising a wood box, a bench, two slide projectors, four etchings, a photogravure print, and an aquatint print.

New York

“Ellen Gallagher: Don’t Axe Me”

New Museum
235 Bowery
June 19–September 15, 2013

Curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari

The first major American presentation of Ellen Gallagher’s work—opening a month after her concurrent survey at Tate Modern—spans the past twenty years, ranging from the panels pocked with abject signifiers of race that put Gallagher on the map in the 1990s to a new series of paintings. Drawings, prints, and film installations, including Osedax, 2009–11 (a room of 16-mm film and painted slide projections referencing whale-carcass-eating worms), made with her partner, Edgar Cleijne, will round out the selection. The show promises to traverse the artist’s long-standing themes—for one, the murky waters of the Atlantic, harboring souls lost to the slave trade—and to position her work vis-à-vis its appropriative and deconstructive strategies. Although identity politics was the crucible in which Gallagher’s peers forged their artistic practices, her work stands in oblique relation to such concerns, instead privileging the politics of form—a position the New Museum show will perhaps reveal to be all the more legible now.