The first-ever artist-curated exhibition mounted at the Guggenheim celebrates the museum’s extensive collection of modern and contemporary art. Curated by Cai Guo-Qiang, Paul Chan, Jenny Holzer, Julie Mehretu, Richard Prince, and Carrie Mae Weems – artists who each have had influential solo shows at the museum – Artistic License brings together both well-known and rarely seen works from the turn of the century to 1980.
Diedrick Brackens (b. 1989, Mexia, TX) constructs intricately woven textiles that speak to the complexities of black and queer identity in the United States. Interlacing diverse traditions, including West African weaving, European tapestries, and quilting from the American south, Brackens creates cosmographic abstractions and figurative narratives that lyrically merge lived experience, commemoration, and allegory. He uses both commercial dyes and unconventional colorants such as wine, tea, and bleach, and foregrounds the loaded symbolism of materials like cotton, with its links to the transatlantic slave trade.
Mirror/Echo/Tilt is a performance and pedagogical project created by artists Melanie Crean, Shaun Leonardo, and Sable Elyse Smith to examine the language and gestures used to describe experiences of arrest and incarceration.
Sydney Shen (b. 1989, Woodbridge, NJ) creates sculptures and installations that evoke a sense of abject dread. Informed by a range of historical and contemporary sources—including Peking opera, supernatural horror fiction, and the darkest recesses of the web—Shen frankensteins organic and synthetic materials such as Chinese and Western medicinal aromatics, 3-D-printed plastic, and biological specimens to produce uncanny environments.