Miami

View of “Vaughn Spann,” 2019. Foreground: Who shall be held accountable?, 2019. Background: Lost in the cosmos of black bodies (we love you, we will always remember you), 2019.

View of “Vaughn Spann,” 2019. Foreground: Who shall be held accountable?, 2019. Background: Lost in the cosmos of black bodies (we love you, we will always remember you), 2019.

Vaughn Spann

David Castillo Gallery

Vaughn Spann’s “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” is a two-part arrangement: two series and one suite of works are on view at David Castillo Gallery, and three pieces are installed at the Miami River Armory, an enormous former hangar. The artist’s first foray into sculpture produced hulking monuments; in such a large space, they look spare and purposeful. For the young painter, a Yale graduate who had once intended to study science, this is a good thing: Assemblages of his work have been mistaken, he has said, for group shows. He veers between dense abstraction and figuration—and these days between two and three dimensions—with pleasure.

The exhibition takes its title from the children’s bedtime prayer (“If I should die before I wake / I pray the Lord my soul to take”), in which sleep is tenuous and life is fragile. When I spoke briefly to Spann, who is a husband and father, he described the

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