Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Kevin Beasley



Kevin Beasley: recent works

Hammer Project, 2017 (detail)






New York–based artist Kevin Beasley transforms the museum’s Vault Gallery into an elaborate environment inspired by Bernini’s Baroque altarpiece in Saint Peter’s Basilica and an infamous image of Black Panther Huey P. Newton.

KevinBBilly's Cluba2017KevinBBilly's detail

Billy’s Cluba, 2017 + detail

The New York–based artist Kevin Beasley imbues his sculptures with both personal associations and references to current events, social movements, and economic realities. Using resin and foam to give shape and solidity to soft materials such as T-shirts, house dresses, and bandannas, he gives his works a pronounced presence while also calling attention to what is absent. The remnants of bodies in the form of used clothing, or materials like acoustic foam panels, which give shape to the elusiveness of sound, are activated in a practice rooted in assemblage. Inspired by the Vault Gallery’s arched ceiling’s allusion to sacred architecture, the installation is a contemporary interpretation of Bernini’s seventeenth-century Baroque altarpiece in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Beasley replaces Saint Peter’s chair with a wicker “peacock” chair of the type that became iconic after Black Panther Party founder Huey P. Newton was photographed seated in one holding a shotgun in one hand and a spear in the other. In Beasley’s remix, two historical references are united to create an environment that is bold and lively while simultaneously ghostly and mournful.


Untitled (Stand), 2017 + detail

Kevin Beasley (b. 1985, Lynchburg, Virginia) lives and works in New York. He received his BFA from the College for Creative Studies, Detroit, in 2007, and an MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2012. He has had solo exhibitions at the Studio Museum, Harlem (2016); the High Line, New York (2015); and the Glass House, New Canaan, Connecticut (2015). His work has been featured in group exhibitions at Pace Gallery, New York (2016); the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (2016); Hammer Museum at Art + Practice, Los Angeles (2016); the Rennie Museum, Vancouver (2016); White Columns, New York (2016); the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2015); MoMA PS1, New York (2014); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2014); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (2013), among others. He was in the 2013 Queens International at the Queens Museum, the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and the 2015 Greater New York at MoMA PS1. He has performed at the High Line, New York (2015); Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (2015); the Dallas Museum of Art (2015); the Whitney Biennial (2014); the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2014); and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012). He has been an artist in residence at MoMA PS1, New York (2013); the Studio Museum, Harlem (2013); International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP), Brooklyn (2013); and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (2013). Beasley is co-creator of ALLGOLD, an artist-designer group that facilitates community and enables exploration and exchange in New York and abroad.(text Hammer LA)


World Peace, 2017.


Untitled, 2017.KevinBeasleyCUntitled, 2017.