Press Release  September 21, 2023

SCAD Museum OF Art Announces Fall 2023 Exhibitions

Courtesy LissonGallery © Yu Hong. Photography by Yang Hao.

Yu Hong, Pyramid, 2022, acrylic on canvas, two parts, each: 118 1/8 x 98 3/8 in. each.

The premier contemporary art museum connects students and local communities with internationally celebrated artists through dynamic exhibitions and events.

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA — Immersing audiences in unique creative experiences, the acclaimed SCAD Museum of Art introduces a new season of culturally resonant exhibitions by world-renowned and rising artists. The museum’s fall presentations unite compelling works — spanning diverse mediums and approaches — that engage the complexities of identity and the human potential for transformation, triumph, and delight.

SCAD MOA proudly welcomes ascendent artist Tyler Mitchell who presents his most ambitious
exhibition to date, and first solo museum show in his home state of Georgia — a sinuous installation of photographs and sculptures delving into the domestic imaginary. In her exhibition of large-format collage works on the scale of history painting, this year’s Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Lecturer Nina Chanel Abney examines Black queerness and masculine-of-center womanhood through coming-of-age narratives. Iconic artist Erwin Wurm’s sublime, viewer-activated exhibition surveys both his practice at large and his connection to fashion, while influential painter Yu Hong captivates audiences in epic works and small studies referencing canonical art history infused with her memories and contemporary experiences of a shifting Chinese culture.

In a unifying gesture, multidisciplinary artist Nevin Aladağ’s expressive site-specific commission explores the hybridity of belonging. Embracing digital aesthetics and technologies, artist and game developer Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley provokes a more conscious perception of the Black trans experience. Leading artist M. Florine Démosthène commingles aesthetic and spiritual influences in a new body of cosmological mixed-media works and experimental sculpture, while emerging photographer and SCAD alum Xiwen Zhu seeks hidden meanings, mining the darkness of modern society for dreamlike glimmers.

“SCAD offers students and our hometowns four of the finest teaching museums in the world, and this fall’s exhibitions at the SCAD Museum of Art prove that claim in plenitude. Visitors will luxuriate in the playful whimsy of Erwin Wurm’s sculptures, reflect on gender and politics in Nina Chanel Abney’s collage works, and find truth and power in the photography of Tyler Mitchell, the first Black photographer to lens a cover of Vogue. The SCAD Museum of Art reifies the museum of the future, and the best part is you can see it all right now.” - Paula Wallace, SCAD President and Founder

Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Commissioned by SCAD. © Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell, Threads of Memory(detail), 2023, dye-sublimation prints on textiles, wooden clothespins, and rope, dimensions variable.

The depth and relevance of the museum’s new fall exhibitions reflect SCAD’s top-ranked degree programs — from painting, photography, and sculpture to fashion, fibers, industrial design, interactive design and game development, and visual effects.

“We’re so excited to share this premier group of exhibitions with guests of the SCAD Museum of
Art. This season has something for everyone and a visit is sure to be a meaningful experience, with
nine new exhibitions by the world’s most important contemporary artists and the debut of new
artworks in all media that are sure to impress.” - Daniel S. Palmer, Chief Curator

Featured Exhibitions

GROUP EXHIBITION
Likewise: Artists Portraying Artists
On view through Dec. 18, 2023
Unpacking the complexities of artist portraiture, Likewise: Artists Portraying Artists delves into the
genre’s unique capacity to immortalize intimate moments previously only shared between portraitist and muse. The exhibition offers insight on the depicted artists, while paying keen attention to the portraitists, who delicately balance rendering the likeness and character of the sitter with their own perspectives and creative vision. Drawn from the SCAD Museum of Art Permanent Collection, the featured paintings and photographs present a diverse array of creative figures captured individually or with others in scenes that represent their daily lives and practices, revealing the frequent blurring of the two worlds. Each work also makes visible artists’ intertwined networks, recording romantic, amiable, parasocial, or professional relationships. Ultimately, Likewise exposes the ways in which these works are as telling of the portraitist as they are the sitter, preserving an exchange of admiration, inspiration, or complication between artists.

TYLER MITCHELL
Domestic Imaginaries
On view through Dec. 31, 2023
In his most ambitious exhibition to date, Tyler Mitchell (b. 1995, Atlanta) displays photographs innovatively printed on textiles in an immersive installation alongside new “altar” sculptures. Strung from a zig-zagging clothesline, Mitchell’s latest iteration of the iconic form stretches nearly 300 feet. The hanging prints depict pastoral scenes and Black bodies, drawing inspiration from Gordon Parks’ photography and the landscape of the southeastern U.S., where Mitchell was born and raised. Complementing this dramatic, enveloping experience, Mitchell’s sculptures reference historic domestic objects, evoking memory and belonging in ways that are deeply personal. The exhibition’s poetic nature articulates an attentiveness to the quieter moments of life and the potential for beauty and transformation in things that may otherwise seem ordinary. Combining installation, sculpture, and photography, the artist invites us to consider our own relationship to the image, our environments, and each other.

M. FLORINE DÉMOSTHÈNE
Mastering the Dream
On view through Jan. 8, 2024
M. Florine Démosthène (b. 1971, New York) presents a new body of work that continues her exploration of enigmatic human forms in collage and experimental sculpture. Démosthène’s practice centers the Black female body in abstractions that engage themes of human transformation and collective experience. Rendered in translucent applications of paint, ink, and glitter on Mylar, the artist’s silhouetted figures are cut and assembled into amalgamations of bodies on voids of white. The resulting forms — swirling, celestial beings that transcend immediate readings of identity — encourage otherworldly readings of Démosthène’s oeuvre. Demonstrating recent spiritual influences on the artist’s sculptural work following a period of living and working in Ghana, the works on view reference shrines of the Fon people of Benin and Ewe people of Ghana, merging aesthetic cultural traditions with cutting-edge 3D printing technology.

NEVIN ALADAĞ
Refraction
On view through Jan. 15, 2024
Nevin Aladağ’s (b. 1972, Van, Turkey) major new site-specific commission for the SCAD Museum of
Art includes her largest works to date, expanding on her Social Fabric and Pattern Kinship series.
The artist’s Social Fabric works connect disparate pieces of carpet from around the world into complex collages of amalgamated hybrid forms. Her Pattern Kinship works are composed of overlapping laser-cut plexiglass layers, juxtaposing a wide array of architectural motifs and ornamentation styles including various patterns referencing Savannah’s historic buildings. In both series, the artist’s animated use of line, color, and diverse sources reflects a playful exploration of hybridity and belonging as an expression of her experiences as an immigrant. Aladağ’s inclusive, optimistic approach to art-making demonstrates how objects from different cultures and geographical origins can be united to create a collective sense of vibrancy, beauty, and meaning for us all.

Courtesy of the artist, Wentrup, Berlin, and Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna. Photo by Paul Bendau.

Nevin Aladağ, Social Fabric, Arch, 2023, Carpet pieces on wood, 10’ 3.09” tall, 8’ 10.9” wide, Four pieces.

ERWIN WURM
Hot
On view through Jan. 15, 2024
Erwin Wurm (b. 1954, Bruck an der Mur/Styria, Austria) rethinks the tenets of sculpture in works that
focus on the relationship between the human body and everyday objects. In this two-part exhibition,
Wurm presents an overview of his practice and an in-depth look at his ongoing relationship to fashion. The first section of the exhibition includes works in a variety of media that test assumed parameters of authorship, participation, materiality, legibility, and permanence. This experimental thinking is most clearly exemplified in the artist’s One Minute Sculptures, which invite audiences to pose with specific objects, and in doing so, complete the artwork. The second section focuses on Wurm’s collaborations with fashion brands and magazines. In cheeky reimaginings of the uses of high fashion, the artist transforms elegant garments into strange distortions of the human form. With these works, Wurm unveils the ways that fashion shapes — and is shaped by — our bodies and culture.

DANIELLE BRATHWAITE-SHIRLEY
GET HOME SAFE
Sept. 7, 2023–Jan. 7, 2024
For the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the U.S. Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley (b. 1995, London)
presents an immersive and interactive installation that centers the lived experiences of Black trans people. GET HOME SAFE consists of virtual, digital, and physical components: video portraits, vinyl wall graphics, and a video game designed by the artist that draws on the history and aesthetics of online role-playing games. In the game, viewers explore what it means to walk home at night in certain bodies, while the physical installation further personifies the navigation of these realities. The artist’s unique style in the works on view is characterized by drawing with text, rearranging recorded data into new legible forms.

XIWEN ZHU
Soft Shell
Sept. 13–Dec. 26, 2023
In Soft Shell, the artist’s first museum exhibition, SCAD graduate Xiwen Zhu (b. 1989, China; M.F.A.,
photography, 2015) presents striking images that depict dreamlike dioramas staged at the artist’s studio in Shanghai. Each constructed scene consists of found items intermixed with photographic materials such as snapshots and cut-outs of stock photos. Obscuring the threshold between image and object, Xiwen Zhu plays with dimensionality in an allusion to the undulating boundaries of private and public space. Through long exposure techniques, the artist captures soft glimmers and moody shadows amid her assemblages, transfiguring any sense of time and place while also hinting at hidden messages that may lurk in the darkness. With this body of work, Xiwen Zhu comments on the effects of modern society: under watchful eye, individuals seek seclusion and protection within their own armored shells yet must ultimately remain malleable — and open to interacting with and experiencing the outside world.

NINA CHANEL ABNEY
Big Butch Energy/Synergy
Sept. 21, 2023–Jan. 29, 2024
In Big Butch Energy/Synergy, Nina Chanel Abney (b. 1982, Chicago) presents recent large-format
works that examine Black identity and queerness through coming-of-age narratives. Abney broaches
these subjects playfully, focusing on her personal experiences as a masculine-of-center woman, while expanding on understandings of collegiate storylines that have centered white hetero characters in popular films like Animal House. Executing these works primarily in collage, the artist streamlines the picture plane with a bold, graphic style that highlights the subtleties of the expressions and poses of her figures. With these massive works, Abney invites viewers to experience their rich pictorial spaces on the scale of history painting. Offering glimpses into the group dynamics and formative life events of her invented crew of characters, who present signifiers of both maleness and femaleness, she celebrates those who reject normative presentations of gender.

YU HONG
Night Walk
Sept. 21, 2023–Jan. 29, 2024
In Night Walk, preeminent painter Yu Hong (b. 1966, Xi’an, China) weaves together her personal
experiences and memories with significant collective shifts in contemporary China, portraying epochal transformation within sprawling compositions. In six large-scale, richly detailed paintings and three small studies of hands, Yu Hong evokes classical art historical motifs drawn from the Italian Renaissance, particularly Michelangelo’s contorted forms, as well as traditional Chinese painting tropes from the culture’s many-centuries-long heritage. The artist’s psychologically rich subjects exist within a riotous tumult of dramatic, otherworldly scenes, establishing a nuanced dialogue between the individual figure and a surreal setting. The disquieting nature of her groupings evokes human fragility and the ever-present social tensions between isolation and togetherness. Yet they also speak to an insistent resilience and the eternal hope that can be found in a landscape of the imagination.

Courtesy of the artist.

Xiwen Zhu,Home Vase, 2021, inkjet print, Edition 1 of 5, 30 x 40 in.

THE SCAD MUSEUM OF ART
The SCAD Museum of Art features more than 10 dynamic gallery spaces presenting exhibitions and
commissioned works by international emerging and established artists. The museum serves visitors
and students alike, enriching both the high caliber of education at SCAD and the cultural life of the
Savannah community and beyond. Exhibitions range from painting, sculpture, and photography
to digital media, fashion, and jewelry, complementing the artistic disciplines offered at the
university. The museum also hosts public programming year-round, including lectures, gallery talks,
workshops, and film screenings.

SCAD MOA has presented exhibitions by artists including Miya Ando, Radcliffe Bailey, Nick Cave, Doreen Lynette Garner, Katharina Grosse, Subodh Gupta, Hassan Hajjaj, Chase Hall, Alfredo Jaar, Isaac Julien, Shirin Neshat, Rashaad Newsome, Raúl de Nieves, Lorraine O’Grady, Ebony G. Patterson, Rose B. Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, Kehinde Wiley, and Saya Woolfalk, as well as site-specific installations by Rachel Feinstein, Jorge Pardo, Odili Donald Odita, Daniel Arsham, Jose Dávila, and others. An award-winning architectural icon, the museum attracts visitors from around the world to the heart of Savannah’s vibrant downtown historic district and incorporates the oldest surviving pre-Civil War railroad depot into its striking contemporary design. Recognized with awards from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, the Congress for the New Urbanism, the International Interior Design Association, and the Historic Savannah Foundation, the museum received the American Institute of Architects Honor Award for Architecture, a pinnacle achievement.

Established in 2011, the museum’s Walter and Linda Evans Center for African American Studies
celebrates the imaginative breadth and expressive legacy of African American art and culture.
In the decade since its founding, the Evans Center and SCAD MOA have presented internationally
heralded exhibitions focused on the legacies of Elizabeth Catlett, Frederick Douglass, Aaron Douglas, and Jacob Lawrence, as well as contemporary exhibitions by artists including Hank Willis Thomas, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Matthew Angelo Harrison, and Kenturah Davis. Visit scadmoa.org.

SCAD: THE UNIVERSITY FOR CREATIVE CAREERS
SCAD is a private, nonprofit, accredited university, offering 100 graduate and undergraduate degree
programs across locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and online via SCADnow. SCAD enrolls more than 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 120 countries. The future-minded SCAD curriculum engages professional-level technology and myriad advanced learning resources, affording students opportunities for internships, professional certifications, and real-world assignments with corporate partners through SCADpro, the university’s renowned research lab and prototype generator.

SCAD is No. 1 in the U.S., according to Art & Object’s 2023 Best Art Schools ranking, with additional
top rankings for degree programs in interior design, architecture, film, fashion, digital media, and more. Career success is woven into every fiber of the university, resulting in a superior alumni employment rate. For the past six years, 99% of SCAD graduates were employed, pursuing further education, or both within 10 months of graduation. SCAD provides students and alumni with ongoing career support through personal coaching, alumni programs, a professional presentation studio, and more. Visit scad.edu.

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