Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush | Nasher Museum of Art | Arts | Indy Week


Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush

When: Thu., Feb. 16, 6 p.m. 2017

On Inauguration Day, the artist Kara Walker made a monumental painting that references Emanuel Leutze's iconic 1851 work "Washington Crossing the Delaware." But Walker's boat is filled with sketchy, grotesque figures: a white patriot and a black slave wrestle over an oar; a Russian gleefully steps onto land from the bow while a woman leaps off the stern into shark-infested waters; and Trump stands in Washington's place. It's our country's provisional "Guernica." Now the Nasher brings us a show of comparably critical work by the young New York-based artist Nina Chanel Abney—her first solo museum exhibition. Dealing with the politics of race and gender in colorful, cartoonish tableaux, Abney crashes the real and the virtual to show us the resultant debris and injury. Filled with faces, letters, and numbers, her paintings and collages range from parody on the verge of glibness to nightmarish negative fantasy. You won't soon forget Condoleezza Rice in a white bikini, star tats on her shoulders. In addition to a ten-year survey of about thirty works, Abney will also create a temporary wall mural for the Nasher. The show runs through July, but see it Thursday with a highlights tour at six p.m. followed at eight by performances from Duke student musicians, poets, and spoken-word artists, all emceed by Pierce Freelon. —Chris Vitiello

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