previews

New York

“LUBAINA HIMID: WORK FROM UNDERNEATH”

New Museum
235 Bowery
June 26–September 22

Curated by Natalie Bell

The title of Lubaina Himid’s first solo museum show in the US—taken from the directive language of health-and-safety manuals—has a double resonance. The Tanzania-born artist, primarily a painter, has long given high-chroma form to occluded histories of black Britons and the ugly reverbs of colonialism and the slave trade; for this she won the Turner Prize in 2017, at the age of sixty-three. Unfreedom is also countered in formal terms: Himid’s codified groupings of black figures, arranged formally as in eighteenth-century English paintings (think William Hogarth), manifest both as theatrical flotillas of freestanding cutouts and as daubs on formal crockery, while her flag-like fabric works are illuminated by texts from lodestars including Audre Lorde, Essex Hemphill, and James Baldwin. In New York, where the artist will debut a new body of work, expect Himid to fold together painting, sculpture, textiles, and sound, with an emphasis on the psychological undercurrents of both language and architecture.