The space is impressive, and the works more so. One of the things that has always made Jeffrey Deitch's spaces stand out is the ease in which he can create a sparse museum atmosphere or clutter his spaces with epic density. There is a dichotomy at play in his newest exhibition in the Los Angeles space, Shattered Glass, curated by Melahn Frierson and AJ Girard. The works are given space to breath, almost as if they exist in their own private universe. And at the same time, the subject matter in conversation amongst the art and viewer is that of a important dialogue that matches that intense density.
The prompt of Shattered Glass notes that it "gathers a group of 40 international artists of color whose subjects don’t ask, but rather demand to take up space." Many of the artists in the show have been making waves in their own right, but seen together, with many of the paintings and sculptures in a large-scale, gives the viewer a chance to move around and get up-close to some of the best artists making work today. There is a palpable energy in the works of Devin Reynolds, Amani Lewis, Mario Ayala, Alfonso Gonzalez and Jaime Munoz, works that have garnered increased attention from academia and critics (Ayala in particular for his showcase with the HAMMER Museum in Made in LA).
There is also a conversation here that extends the influence of graffiti and outsider traditions. Devin Reynolds mixture of found objects, graffiti and sign painting become a hybrid of painting and installation. The Perez Brothers continue to balance figurative art and car culture, where Ayala has almost turned airbrush work into a surrealistic fantasy.
Shattered Glass is one of the rare shows that gets to the heart of our present state of contemporary art. What it is an amalgamation of American art in 2021.
All installation photos by Joshua White