Los Angeles

Brenna Youngblood

Margo Leavin Gallery

Brenna Youngblood’s second solo exhibition at Margo Leavin at times felt redolent of Richard Prince or Robert Rauschenberg. The evocation owed less to the strategies that Youngblood shares with these artists—she’ll produce a Prince-like deadpan photograph of an anonymous floral still-life painting, for example, or freestanding painted assemblages reminiscent of Rauschenberg’s Combines—than from the distilling and mixing of Americana that is essential to her practice. Yet Youngblood’s work, in the specific American vernacular it focuses on, differs greatly from Prince’s distanced, appropriationist probes of sexuality and power in America’s mainstream and fringes, and from Rauschenberg’s wide embrace, and wry account, of the nation post-Eisenhower.

Youngblood’s vernacular is that of a late-twentieth-century working-class African-American woman transplanted from California’s Inland Empire to

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