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John Currin. Detail of Fishermen, 2002. © John Currin. Photo: Rob McKeever. Courtesy Gagosian


My Life as a Man


My Life as a Man will focus exclusively on John Currin’s depictions of his own gender, examining provocative depictions of a range of masculine identities over the course of his career. This occasion will mark the first-ever attempt to track the evolution of Currin’s male iconography in a museum context.


The exhibition will span Currin’s artistic output beginning in 1990, and will also feature over fifty works on paper and sketchbook drawings of male figures that have never been publicly exhibited. Just as Currin used his imaginary female characters as caustic pictoral allegories, My Life as a Man will critically analyze Currin’s male gaze when it is trained on the identity politics of manhood.


Curated by Alison Gingeras, Adjunct Curator

Alicja Kwade. Installation view of Out of Ousia, 2018. Kunsthal Charlottenborg. Courtesy the artist, KÖNIG GALERIE, and 303 Gallery, New York. Photo: Roman März


Moving in Glances


Alicja Kwade’s work employs ordinary materials such as glass, steel, and concrete to explore the conventions developed by humanity in order explain natural phenomena. In questioning the absolute nature of the concept of time, the metric system, and the value of commodities, Kwade reminds us that reality is not absolute—it is what we have agreed upon collectively as a global society. For this exhibition, the artist is developing a new body of work in Mexico, which will be shown for the first time at Dallas Contemporary, while a sister exhibition will be on view at the List Visual Arts Center at MIT in Boston. Kwade’s collaboratively presented solo exhibitions at the two aforementioned institutions will comprise her largest US museum exhibitions to date.


Curated by Pedro Alonzo, Adjunct Curator

Jessica Vaughn Depreciating Assets: Variable Dimensions, 2018. Courtesy of the artist


In Polite English One Disagrees by First Agreeing


Dallas Contemporary is pleased to present In Polite English One Disagrees by First Agreeing, the first solo museum exhibition by Brooklyn-based artist Jessica Vaughn. The artist’s largest show to date features a site-specific installation of sculpture, video, and text works. This new installation continues her investigation of the ways in which material and physical structures dictate perceptions of space, labor, and compliance.


Much of Vaughn's practice makes use of discarded or surplus materials and architectural fragments. Her 2017 installation After Willis (Rubbed, Used and Moved) features a series of decommissioned Chicago Transit Authority train seats along with sculptures made from leftover manufacturing scraps.  These identifiers of civic infrastructure and labor assembly lines draw attention to overlooked details in the architecture, spaces, and politics of society.


Decommissioned materials appear once again as remnants of human existence and labor in Vaughn’s newest work at Dallas Contemporary. Procured from the workspaces of the Texas Department of Education, in the state’s capital, rows of grey Steelcase modular cubicles transform the gallery. Over the course of the exhibition, cubicles will be removed and result in a reorientation of spatial cues in the gallery. Sheltering these modular units is a build-out of a drop-ceiling fragment with missing tiles. “There is something about using decommissioned materials taken from state and bureaucratic resources that call attention to an adherence to process,” Vaughn explains.  She specifically references “an overworked body—a system that is sort of treading along that sometimes is disrupted by change but often remains at status quo.”


In Polite English One Disagrees by First Agreeing also features a new video work that combines diversity training video clips culled from the 1990s with footage shot in various office spaces. The artist’s reconfiguration of dated text from the videos highlights aspirational yet unsuccessful attempts of corporations to correct patterns of discrimination. By procuring and orchestrating symbols of American office environments, Vaughn questions civil rights and labor policies that dominate global bureaucratic and corporate structures. “I began this project with a sense of urgency towards understanding how the work that I do on a daily basis is dictated by larger forms of compliance—visible or not,” says the artist.


Vaughn has also created a takeaway brochure, which features text by writer, architect and historian Sadia Shirazi. This writing contributes to the overlooked and intertwined histories of post-war American architecture, urban renewal, and race—a link that reverberates throughout the exhibition.