Whenever I'm in London, I always make time to visit the Tate Modern. It's a beautifully designed, well-curated museum, and I know there will always be something new and interesting for me to check out and ponder later over a pint.
Acclaimed artist and US expat Ellen Gallagher's work will be on display at the museum now through September 1. This will be Gallagher's first solo exhibition of this magnitude [in the UK], which will explore an array of works that span her 20-year career.
Gallagher's work is whimsical and extremely detailed, and "brings together imagery from myth, nature, art and social history to create complex works in a wide variety of media including painting, drawing, relief, collage, print, sculpture, film and animation. The exhibition explores the themes which have emerged and recurred in her practice, from her seminal early canvases through to recent film installations and new bodies of work. (Tate Modern)"
[Specifically, in her grid-like wig-and-beauty-ad collages] she uses hair and beauty advertisements from the 1930s through 1970s from publications like Ebony, Black Stars and Our World. Manipulating the ads using a layering technique, Gallagher plays with illustration and texture, changing the context of and bringing a new perspective to the age-old conversation of race and black beauty. Says Gallagher, "The wig ladies are fugitives, conscripts from another time and place, liberated from the “race” magazines of the past. But again, I have transformed them, here on the pages that once held them captive."
If you find yourself in London before September 1, be sure to visit the Tate Modern and take some time to peruse the exhibit.
Below is a brief doc from PBS about the artist.
Gallagher's solo exhibitions include Whitney Museum of American Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; St. Louis Art Museum; Des Moines Art Center; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.