Next Exhibitions

A.K. Burns: Of space we are...

World Premiere

Three large screens receding at an angle in a dark room. Each screen shows an individual. There are chairs and a television with captioning on the floor.

A.K. Burns’s largest solo exhibition to date considers the intersection between the human, nonhuman, and the environment—and the value systems that guide our perceptions of each.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is the science-fiction epic Negative Space, comprising four multichannel video installations that explore the relationship of marginalized bodies to resources, space, and technology. Rethinking how we might approach queer world-building, Negative Space is a poetic work where the environment is the protagonist and performers act as concepts. Drawing on threads of current events, art history, and allegory, the project takes place in what the artist refers to as the “speculative present,” an imagined moment where boundaries are permeable, and hierarchies are thrown into question. 

For the first time, viewers will be able to experience the complete Negative Space tetralogy. Each installation investigates a physical system: A Smeary Spot (2015), the void; Living Room (2017), the body; Leave No Trace (2019, making its US premiere), land; and a new Wex-commissioned work that completes the series, What is Perverse is Liquid (2023), which focuses on water. The videos include performers from Burns’s community of artists, choreographers, and musicians, as well as soundtracks scored by Geo Wyex.

Sculptures and wall works that build on themes in Negative Space, created concurrently over the past decade, will also be on display. A forthcoming catalogue copublished by the center and Dancing Foxes Press will feature an interview with Burns and curator Karen Archey, along with contributions by Mel Y. Chen, CAConrad, Megan Hicks, Aruna D’Souza, and Simone White.

"Negative space is generally understood as the between, under, inside, and around space; the atmosphere; the unseen matter…it has its own agency that it is unfixed, dynamic, changeable, and ultimately an open set of possibilities."
A.K. Burns
Three large screens receding at an angle in a dark room. Each screen shows an individual. There are chairs and a television with captioning on the floor.

Installation view of A Smeary Spot, 2015, at Participant Inc., New York. Photo: Chris Austin.

The skeleton of an illuminated couch in front of two differently sized screens. The larger screen features a child sitting next to a fish tank.

Installation view of Living Room, 2017, at ICA Philadelphia, PA. Photo: Constance Mensh.

A cube with different video channels projected on each side lights up a dark room.

Installation view of Leave No Trace, 2019, at Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf, Germany.

A person in sunglasses and a dark coat faces a piano, preparing to play.

A.K. Burns, What is Perverse is Liquid, 2022 (still). Video. Image courtesy of the artist.

More about the artist

A.K. Burns chevron-down chevron-up

A.K. Burns (she/her) has exhibited internationally at venues including Palais de Tokyo in Paris, MMK Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt, and FRONT International: The Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, among others. Negative Space was introduced with A Smeary Spot, debuting at Participant Inc. in New York in 2015, followed by Living Room at The New Museum in New York in 2017. In 2019, Leave No Trace premiered at the Julia Stoschek Collection in Düsseldorf, Germany, and was produced with the support of Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Learn more on Burns’s website.

A.K. Burns: Of space we are... is organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts and curated by Chief Curator and Director of Exhibitions Kelly Kivland with Curatorial Intern Cole Graham.

THIS PRESENTATION SUPPORTED IN PART BY
National Endowment for the Arts
Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip Aarons

WINTER/SPRING EXHIBITIONS MADE POSSIBLE BY
Cardinal Health
Karen R. Lane
Nancy and Dave Gill 

EXHIBITION 2022–23 SEASON MADE POSSIBLE BY
Bill and Sheila Lambert
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
Carol and David Aronowitz
Crane Family Foundation
Mike and Paige Crane

FREE GALLERIES MADE POSSIBLE BY
American Electric Power Foundation
Adam Flatto
Mary and C. Robert Kidder
Bill and Sheila Lambert

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FOR FREE GALLERIES PROVIDED BY
CoverMyMeds
PNC Foundation

WEXNER CENTER PROGRAMS MADE POSSIBLE BY
Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Wexner Family
National Endowment for the Arts
Ohio Arts Council
L Brands Foundation
The Columbus Foundation
Nationwide Foundation
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY
Mike and Paige Crane
Axium Packaging
CampusParc
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
President Kristina M. Johnson and Mrs. Veronica Meinhard
Nancy Kramer
Larry and Donna James
Lisa Barton
Johanna DeStefano
Jones Day
Alex and Renée Shumate

Close

Next Exhibitions

A.K. Burns: Of space we are...