Thursday, December 20, 2018

Taking a Chance on a Young, Local, Queer, Black Artist

Devan Shimoyama, Weed Picker, 2018, mixed media on canvas, 84" x 72" x 3"

Devan Shimoyama
Cry Baby
October 13, 2018 - March 17, 2019
The Andy Warhol Museum
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Devan Shimoyama is just four years out of the Yale MFA program and still under 30, yet he's having his first solo at the Warhol. Congratulations to the museum on a risky and ultimately winning move. 

Shimoyama's arresting painting questions conventions of Black masculinity by queering  the Black body as well as the traditional masculine zones it inhabits (for instance, the barber shop) with flowers and glittery decorations. His paintings' striking colour patterning and camp excess may be what one first notices before taking in the underlying politics though. And there should be nothing wrong with mixing the pleasurable and the irreverent with the political.

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