New Work: Charles Gaines presents Manifestos 4 (2020), an installation comprising four drawings, two videos, and a musical composition for sextet as well as Skybox 2 (2020), an immersive experience of text and the unknown. The conceptual artist’s new works emerge from research into the Dred Scott Decision of 1857, which decreed that Black people were not U.S. citizens and therefore could not sue for their right to freedom. Many believe the ruling, one of the most controversial decisions of the Supreme Court, authorized racism and has left an indelible stain on the foundation of this country. In his charged return to this historical court ruling and its trial documents, Gaines disarms these texts by subjecting them to his rules-based methodologies, disrupting our understanding of rational information and the realm of the sublime.
Generous support for New Work: Charles Gaines is provided by Alka and Ravin Agrawal, SFMOMA’s Contemporaries, Adriane Iann and Christian Stolz, and Robin Wright and Ian Reeves.
Header image: Charles Gaines, Manifestos 3, 2018 (detail); ©️ Charles Gaines; courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth; photo: Fredrik Nilsen