Admission to the galleries is free for everyone all day (11 AM to 6 PM) on the first Sunday of the month.
Feel the power of the blues resonate through contemporary art and culture in Blues for Smoke, a major interdisciplinary exhibition that explores the work of more than 40 artists through the lens of the blues and “blues aesthetics.” Encompassing art created from the 1950s to the present, the exhibition explores the blues not simply as a musical category, but as an influential field of artistic sensibilities and catalyst for cross-genre experimentation.
You’ll experience work created in a wide variety of mediums, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, and multimedia installations, as well as contextual displays of documentary material. Some works directly connect to the history and aesthetics of the blues, such as Romare Bearden’s collages of musicians, while other works communicate blues ideas through interpretation and association. Featured artists include Wexner Center Artist Residency recipients Mark Bradford, Zoe Leonard, Kerry James Marshall, and Lorna Simpson, as well as Gregg Bordowitz, William Eggleston, David Hammons, Glenn Ligon, Kori Newkirk, Kara Walker, and Carrie Mae Weems. The exhibition also includes listening posts and viewing stations where you can experience a wide range of blues-influenced music—everything from Duke Ellington, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Big Mama Thornton to Sun Ra, Bad Brains, and Minor Threat.
In seeking unexpected connections between subject matter, art historical contexts, and disciplines, Blues for Smoke presents the blues as a vital force that has not only shaped American music, but also literature, film, and visual art, binding together artists and art worlds often kept apart.
A free gallery guide with essays by Wexner Center Curator at Large Bill Horrigan and Director of Marketing and Communication Jerry Dannemiller accompanies the exhibition.
Blues for Smoke is organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and Curator Bennett Simpson.
The presentation of the exhibition at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, was made possible in part by a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Major support was provided by Carolyn and William Powers and Mandy and Cliff Einstein. Generous support was provided by Fiat. Additional support was provided by Blake Byrne and Justin Gilanyi, Karyn Kohl, Shaun Caley Regen, Sol Republic, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Kathi and Gary Cypres, John Rubeli, Robert Galstian, Greene Naftali, New York, Dori and Charles Mostov, and Paula and Allan Rudnick.