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Blues for Smoke


Bob ThompsonGarden of Music
Bob Thompson
Garden of Music
Oil on canvas
79 1/2 x 143 in.
Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut
The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection; courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY
Zoe Leonard1961
Zoe Leonard
, 2002- ongoing
Blue suitcases
Dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne, Germany
Photo by Bill Jacobson
Bob ThompsonGarden of Music
Zoe Leonard1961
Blues for Smoke

Blues for Smoke

Sept 21, 2013–Dec 29, 2013

“Blues isn’t a thing; it’s a set of feelings, a state of mind, maybe a state of grace.”New York Times on Blues for Smoke

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. Featured artists include 2013 MacArthur Fellow and “genius grant” recipient Carrie Mae Weems, along with past designees Mark Bradford, David Hammons, Kara Walker, and Kerry James Marshall, as well as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Stan Douglas (who visits for an Artist’s Talk November 5), William Eggleston, Glenn Ligon, Kori Newkirk, and Lorna Simpson. The exhibition also includes listening posts and viewing stations where you can experience a wide range of blues-influenced music—everything from Big Mama Thornton, Duke Ellington, and Sun Ra to Bad Brains, Death Grips, and Le1f.

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.

Generous sponsorship for Blues for Smoke at the Wexner Center is provided by Bailey Cavalieri LLC, Kimberly A. Blackwell|PMM Agency, Dave and Nancy Gill, Paige and Michael Crane, and the Ohio Arts Council.

Significant additional support is provided by Michael B. Coleman, Mayor; Crabbe, Brown & James; Easton Community Foundation; Greater Columbus Arts Council; Greater Columbus Film Commission; Donna and Larry James; Renée and Alex Shumate; Genny and Lewis R. Smoot Sr.; and Smoot Construction.

Promotional support is provided by The Columbus Dispatch, Orange Barrel Media, and QFM96 Ohio’s Best Rock.

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.


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