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Steve Locke, There Is No One Left to Blame, 2005–13, mixed media, 70 1/2 x 30 x 22".

Steve Locke

Institute of Contemporary Art

Steve Locke, There Is No One Left to Blame, 2005–13, mixed media, 70 1/2 x 30 x 22".

The main motif in Steve Locke’s exhibition “There Is No One Left to Blame,” curated by Helen Molesworth, was the male head, sticking out its tongue in a gesture that’s half insouciant celebration and half angry fuck-you. Themes of masculinity and homosexuality, both important issues in the artist’s work, were certainly manifest in this exhibition, but color—in both its painterly and racial significance—was Locke’s main subject this time. The slipperiness of pigment, both on the surface of canvases and on bodies in the age of Obama, predominated. With portraits made for our purportedly postracial present, Locke revisits James Baldwin’s notion of whiteness as a cultural construction that depends upon blackness, by unsettling the fixity of color in his paintings. He situates his figures’ skin tones on a shifting chromatic spectrum, employing strangely mixed colors and

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