Melvin Edwards in 'Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America' Conceived by Okwui Enwezor
'Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America' is a group exhibition conceived by curator Okwui Enwezor and presented at New Museum, New York with curatorial support from advisors Naomi Beckwith, Massimiliano Gioni, Glenn Ligon and Mark Nash.
The show brings together works made in the past decade by thirty-seven artists who have addressed the concept of mourning, commemoration, and loss in response to racist violence experienced by Black communities in America. The exhibition explores themes of Black grief and a politically orchestrated white grievance in the wider context of social and political life in America. The show spans generations and a wide variety of media including video, painting, sculpture, installation, photography, sound, and performance. Alongside key historical works are a series of new commissions created in response to the exhibition concept.
Enwezor expressed a desire to open the exhibition close to the American presidential election, as a powerful response to a crisis in American democracy. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the opening of the show, the works included speak powerfully to America’s past, present, and future.
Artists featured in the show include Terry Adkins, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kevin Beasley, Dawoud Bey, Mark Bradford, Garrett Bradley, Melvin Edwards, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Charles Gaines, Ellen Gallagher, Theaster Gates, Arthur Jafa, Daniel LaRue Johnson, Rashid Johnson, Jennie C. Jones, Kahlil Joseph, Deana Lawson, Simone Leigh, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Julie Mehretu, Okwui Okpokwasili, Adam Pendleton, Julia Phillips, Howardena Pindell, Cameron Rowland, Lorna Simpson, Sable Elyse Smith, Tyshawn Sorey, Diamond Stingily, Henry Taylor, Hank Willis Thomas, Kara Walker, Nari Ward, Carrie Mae Weems and Jack Whitten.