LUXSeptember 22–December 12, 2020 East Gallery
White Columns is pleased to present LUX, Maya Stovall’s first solo exhibition in New York City. LUX comprises 16 wall-mounted neon sculptures from the artists’ ongoing series 1526 (NASDAQ: FAANG).
Initiated in 2018, the 1526 (NASDAQ: FAANG) series emerged from Stovall’s extensive research into historical archives. From tens of thousands of pages of research Stovall developed a series of dates, from 1526 to 2019, that reflect, in the artist’s words, “critical moments in U.S. history.” Each sculpture, a year expressed as numerals inscribed in neon, is accompanied by a postcard – that visitors are free to take – that expands upon the significance of each particular date or historical ‘moment’.
The exhibition begins with 1526 in South Carolina, the home of the artist’s ancestors, and the year of an early, successful rebellion by enslaved people:
From the start, African American survivors work to end human trafficking and genocide, otherwise known as United States Slavery. An example of this work is organized resistance and rebellion. In 1526 South Carolina, among the first known U.S. Slavery locations, a successful rebellion is strategized and survivors establish local homesteads (Aptheker 1939, pp.16-17).
The presentation continues to the present, 2019, which is dedicated to four women, including Tamara Jones, the sister of the artist’s friend, who were murdered in the McDougall-Hunt neighborhood of Detroit.
With this series, Stovall asks: “What data is typically presented in bright lights? What data is typically obscured? Beginning with 1526 South Carolina, where ancestors of my maternal great-grandmother lived before coming to Detroit, the body of work highlights a minute number of significant moments from that year to the present day. The moments are significant for a variety of reasons, including cultural, political, economic, and aesthetic themes. Drawing from tens of thousands of pages of archives, an obsession with data—stories and numbers; numbers and stories—is machined into a series of dates and cards. Drawing from NASDAQ: FAANG aesthetics, links between information, knowledge, power, and the notion of truth, are contemplated, meditated, and brought into a clear and present focus. As I researched the archive and compiled the dates, I’d often cry. The tears were/are absolutely not tears of sadness nor of euphoria. They were/are tears of clarity—tears of legibility—tears of information. Tears of naming, perhaps. But the viewer is able to decide that which is named.”
Maya Stovall (b.1982 Detroit, MI) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Stovall holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, a M.B.A. from The University of Chicago, and a B.B.A. from Howard University in Washington D.C. Recent solo exhibitions include Machine at Reyes | Finn, Detroit, MI (2019) and Liquor Store Theatre Performance Films at the Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI (2018.) Stovall’s work was included in the 2017 Whitney Biennial, and has been featured in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Museum of Contemporary Art, Toronto, Atlanta Contemporary, and the Studio Museum in Harlem.
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