New York, NY – On Thursday, November 3rd, from 6–8 pm, CUE Art Foundation opens this must be the place to be, a solo exhibition by Philadelphia-based artist rod jones ii, with mentorship from Didier William. The exhibition, presented at CUE’s gallery space (137 W. 25th Street), is rod jones’s first solo show. It will remain on view until December 17th, 2022, and will open again from January 3rd–7th, 2023. Attendance during gallery hours (Wed–Sat, 12–6 pm) is free; no reservations are required. The opening reception is free and open to all; RSVPs are encouraged.
About the Exhibition
this must be the place to be is a solo exhibition by Philadelphia-based artist rod jones ii, with mentorship from Didier William. The exhibition presents new work that builds upon jones’s ongoing mixed-media practice, and that draws from his experiences growing up in his mother’s beauty salon. Using materials such as resourced fabric, synthetic hair, glass and acrylic beads, and dental floss, jones makes soft sculpture dolls he calls “homies” and constructs an installation—a world—that holds them. “Why is it so difficult to call to mind representations of tenderness?” asks exhibition mentor Didier William. “As a child, jones bore witness to [a] meditative choreography of tenderness practiced and performed in real- time. He experienced a transformative liberation and joy offered by his mother’s tender care for Black beauty.” These formative memories of space—imbued with intangible moments of intimacy and fulfillment— remain present in jones’s work in ways that feel both familiar and inaccessible at once. The “homies” are materially recognizable; made of common household and beauty supplies, they sit, stand, and are held by hands that cradle them from the walls. And yet, their forms and personhood are impossible to characterize. The space that jones has created is for them; as viewers, we are simply visitors in their universe. In his first solo exhibition in a gallery space, it is clear that jones is invested in a different kind of placemaking, a kind that asks questions rather than proposing answers. What does it mean to make intentional space? How do we hold—and how are we held by—the places we move through? Who are we in relation to what—or who—surrounds us? What does it feel like to be accepted and to be present, to be embraced and to belong? In this must be the place to be, jones conceives of what catalogue essayist Logan Cryer calls an “inverted realm.” Exemplifying a new genre of art practice that Cryer coins as “Black Queer Vernacular Craft,” he “plays with the humility embedded in entering an unfamiliar cultural space…jones’s experience of moving through belonging and unfamiliarity has led him to create an empathetic world of uncommon folk. His prolific practice is just at the start.”
Read more about the exhibition and see images at www.cueartfoundation.org.
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