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Press Release

Art Basel Miami Beach Brenna Youngblood, Public sector December 7–10, 2017

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to present Brenna Youngblood’s first large-scale outdoor sculpture M.I.A. (2017) for the Public sector at Art Basel Miami Beach 2017.

M.I.A. (2017) is a bronze version of her 2011 sculpture by the same name in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This will be the artist’s first work in bronze, her first work to be situated outdoors, and her first work intended for physical interaction.

Youngblood’s interest in language permeates her work, and M.I.A. is part of a series of sculptures that investigates its ability to signify multiple identities. The title of her 2011 exhibition at Honor Fraser Gallery, “M.I.A.” refers to unaccounted soldiers in battle and to the Montgomery Improvement Association, a group co-organized by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. to guide the bus boycott that began in December 1955. Combined with these two allusions, the acronym can be extended to encompass community members lost to substance abuse, violence, or incarceration and the increasing domestic militarization of the United States.

Formally modeled after the blocks used to teach children to read and to experiment with architecture, M.I.A. is a literal structure upon which meaning is built. Hollowed by the artist, Youngblood’s blocks evoke cages as well as the open cubes of Sol LeWitt. For this new iteration of M.I.A., Youngblood scaled up the work and chose a material strong enough to support a child, deepening the sculpture’s formal connection to a jungle gym and thereby highlighting the formative and foundational power of language.

Brenna Youngblood was born in Riverside, CA and lives in Los Angeles. Youngblood received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from California State University, Long Beach in 2002 and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2006. One-person exhibitions of her work have been presented at the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA (2015); Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA (2015); Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, MO (2014); Wignall Museum, Rancho Cucamonga, CA (2007); and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2006). Her work has been included in thematic exhibitions such as Sonic Rebellion: Music as Resistance, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI (2017); Face to Face: Los Angeles Collects Portraiture, California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2017); The Future is Abstract, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture, Charlotte, NC (2017); L.A. Exuberance: New Gifts by Artists, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2016); AFRICA FORECAST: Fashioning Contemporary Life, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta, GA (2016); A Shape That Stands Up, Art + Practice, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Wasteland, Los Angeles Nomadic Division, Paris, France (2016); Hard Edged, California African American Museum, Los Angeles (2015); Selections from the Permanent Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2014); Rites of Spring, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (2014); Murmurs: Recent Contemporary Acquisitions, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2013); Fore, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (2012); Made in L.A., Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2012); Unfinished Paintings, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles (2011); With You I Want to Live, Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, FL (2009); California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (2008); and Blacks In and Out of the Box, California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2007).

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