Christopher Myers: Nobody is my Name
February 12 - March 23, 2019
Public Opening Reception: Tues. Feb. 12, 2019, 6-8pm
The Mistake Room (TMR) is pleased to present Christopher Myers: Nobody is my Name—the artist’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles and the first project of TMR’s 2019-2020 curatorial cycle—Histories of a Vanishing Present. This curatorial cycle explores, through postmemory, how a generation of artists born at the cusp of the global turn inherit pasts that don’t directly belong to them. For these artists identity is not bound solely to biology, history, or geography but rather sited in situationally specific processes of negotiation. Nobody is my Name approaches this complex approach to identity building through the experience of travel, foregrounding the ways in which a sense of self is assembled—at times smoothly, at times disjointedly—from interactions with people and places around the world. For years, Myers has been committed to transforming our understanding of globalization and the multiple realities it creates. At the core of his practice is an interest in capturing the ways the global project is intimately interwoven into quotidian acts and spaces—highlighting how the inherently abstract dimensions of the global are embodied amongst peoples. The exhibition features different projects that highlight unique moments, histories, and contexts, from a sculptural and photographic tribute to African-American sideshow performers to a collaboration with traditional shadow puppet makers in Jogjakarta to an Odyssey-inspired monumental quilt banner created with weavers in Egypt. From these kaleidoscopic exchanges, what emerges is a distributed subjectivity defined not by a single idealized origin but by the cycle of its own making and unmaking. Through his practice, Myers proposes a way of interacting with the world based not on where we are from, but on all the places we have been and might go.
Nobody is my Name is organized by The Mistake Room and curated by César García-Alvarez, TMR Executive & Artistic Director.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Christopher Myers is an artist and maker whose work has been included in a host of exhibitions and cultural projects around the world. Myers has collaborated with silversmiths in Khartoum, conceptual video artists in Vietnam, musicians in New Orleans, woodcarvers in Accra, weavers in Luxor and many other artists who he sees as all being part of a large conversation about the movement of culture. Myers’s collaborations are fueled by an interest in the way that languages are borrowed globally and traded from South to South in order to address specific local concerns of people that have been thrust into contexts that range far beyond their locality. Myers’s work has been exhibited at PS1/MoMA, the Art Institute of Chicago, Prospect Biennial in New Orleans, and Contrasts Gallery in Shanghai. Myers has also curated exhibitions in Vietnam, designed theater that has travelled from PS122 in New York City to the Genocide Memorial Theater in Kigali, Rwanda, and collaborated with artist Hank Willis Thomas on a short film, Am I Going Too Fast, which premiered at Sundance. Myers participated in the Whitney Independent Studio Program. He has also written a host of essays for exhibition catalogues and for publication such as The New York Times. He is currently working on a book comparing global censorship methodologies.
ABOUT THE CYCLE
Histories of a Vanishing Present (2019-2020) explores how a generation of artists born at the cusp of the global turn inherit pasts that don’t directly belong to them. Through the lens of postmemory, this cycle tackles a new relationship with identity politics forged by a millennial generation of artists for whom ideas of nationalism, cultural heritage, and historical trauma are radically different than for their predecessors. Why do military dictatorships in Latin America, the legacies of the Cold War, the activist histories of the LGBTQ and Civil Rights movements, or independence movements in Africa shape conversations about the work of a global generation of emerging artists whose sole relationship to these moments is the place of their birth, the color of their skin, their sexual orientations, or the familial histories they contend with? At a time when ideas of identity are being revisited in charged and polarizing ways, how can we rethink subjecthood not as a predefined category but as a tense and ongoing process of becoming? This cycle considers identity as situational—as a negotiation between the stories of those who came before and the responsibilities of those who are expected to inherit them.
Major support for The Mistake Room's programs is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.