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Rodney McMillian - Artists - Petzel Gallery

Rodney McMillian (b. 1969, Columbia, South Carolina)

Rodney McMillian lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. McMillian explores the complex and fraught connections between history and contemporary culture, not only as they are expressed in American politics, but also as they are manifest in American modernist art traditions. Aspects of his work negotiates between the body of a political nature and the politic of a bodily nature.

McMillian received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2002. His installation In this land, 2019 was on view as part of the New Work series at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from February 9 – June 9, 2019. He had a solo exhibition at the Underground Museum in Los Angeles, CA in October 2019. He received the Contemporary Austin’s first Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize in 2016, and the resulting solo exhibition Against a Civic Death was on view through August 26, 2018. In 2016, McMillian had solo exhibitions at the ICA Philadelphia, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and MoMA PS.1. Each of these exhibitions highlighted a particular set of material and conceptual concerns in McMillian’s multivalent practice. Other recent solo exhibitions include “Landscape Paintings,” Aspen Art Museum, CO (2015); “Sentimental Disappointment,” Momentum 14: Rodney McMillian, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2009); The Kitchen, New York (2008). McMillian’s work was featured in the 2015 Sharjah Biennial, curated by Eungie Joo. His work has also been included in group exhibitions at The National Portrait Gallery, London, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; the CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco, CA; the Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; the Contemporary Art Museum Houston; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art among many others.

“For Landscape Paintings at MoMA PS1, McMillian has used bedsheets to frame the body as a kind of landscape. The marbleized red and purple paint layered atop the sheets’ surfaces could depict aerial views of muddy river deltas, bright with algal blooms, or the topography of scar tissue. Sticky globs of latex house paint pile up on these makeshift canvases like shed harlequin costumes, and in some works – such as Site #3: Stumps in Plain Sight (2008–14) – they take on unnervingly human profiles. Many of their names make these allusions plain: fleshy pink paint extrudes from the surface of Untitled (Tongue) (2014), lapping the gallery floor. The black lips of A Mouth: and the Galaxy Within (2012– 15), speckled with bright colours, cast the body as a universe of spoken language or a constellation of physical pleasure.”

Evan Moffitt, “Rodney McMillian,” Frieze, 2016

Career Highlights

Rodney McMillian - Artists - Petzel Gallery

Installation view, Painting in Tounges, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, 2006

1991 BA Foreign Affairs, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

1998 BFA Program, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

2002 Completes MFA, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia CA

2005 Frequency, Studio Museum, Harlem, New York

2006 Painting in Tongues, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, CA

2008 Solo exhibition at Kitchen, New York, NY

The Whitney Biennial 2008

2009 Sentimental Disappointment, Momentum 14: Rodney McMillian, Project series, ICA, Boston, MA

Rodney McMillian - Artists - Petzel Gallery

Installation view, New Order: Art and Technology in the Twenty-First Century, MoMA, 2019

2012 Blues for Smoke, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH

2014  When the Stars Begin to Fall, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY, travels to NSU Museum of Art, Ft. Lauderdale, FL; ICA Boston, Boston, MA

2015  Solo exhibition, Landscape Paintings, MoMa PS1 New York, NY travels to Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO

Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

2016 Views of Main Street, The Studio Museum, Harlem, New York, NY travels to St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO

The Black Show, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

2018 Against a Civic Death, The Contemporary Austin, Austin, TX

2019  New Order: Art and Technology in the Twenty-First Century, MoMA, New York

New Work: Rodney McMillian, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA

2020  Body Politic, Suzanne Vielmetter Projects, Los Angeles, CA

2021 The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA

2022 Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It’s Kept