Left to right: Black and Yellow – CAUTION, 2021. Robert Kahlil Irving. Digital print on adhesive fabric, 27 x 27 in. Courtesy the artist. My Bottle Box[{(My spirits made)BrickMASS} ArchitecturalFRIEZE_MoMA/Momma|Bricktower]RIP, 2021. Robert Kahlil Irving. Glazed and Unglazed Ceramic, Blue; Black; Green; Red enamel, Black, Blue, Gold; Green; Orange; Opal; Silver luster, found and personally constructed decals, 19 x 13 x 13 in. Courtesy the artist.

Projects: Kahlil Robert Irving
December 18, 2021–May 1, 2022
Floor 1, 1 North

The Museum of Modern Art presents Projects: Kahlil Robert Irving, on view in the Museum’s street-level galleries from December 18, 2021, through May 1, 2022. Kahlil Robert Irving (b. 1992, San Diego, CA) is a multimedia artist based in St. Louis, Missouri, who creates dense assemblages of images and sculptural replicas of everyday objects. Drawing from an infinite scroll of digital culture, Irving mines the Internet as a living archive of Black life, death, remembrance, celebration, and survival. Projects: Kahlil Robert Irving is organized by Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator, and Legacy Russell, former Associate Curator, Exhibitions (now Executive Director and Chief Curator, The Kitchen), at The Studio Museum in Harlem.

The exhibition includes works made between 2018 and 2021, centering around site-specific wallpaper works that engulf the street-level space and depict a digital scroll—what the artist describes as “an everlasting feedback loop of my experience.” The wallpaper pays homage to the structural composition of an architectural frieze, a New York City skyline, and the ornate adornment seen on the walls of institutional period rooms. Through this unique presentation of digital collage and sculpture, Irving’s ceramic work is juxtaposed with the detailed wallpaper that maps the artist’s personal archive of visual culture as culled from his activity on the Internet. From this cache of images, Irving assembles decals both found and of his own making—and applies them to sculptures and architectural surfaces in a layered compositional process. The immersive display of 24 sculptural, digital, and two-dimensional works expands on Irving’s ongoing research into, and practice of, collage and assemblage. Describing his fusion of materials and references, the artist has said, “By refusing to make everything explicitly legible, the work allows there to be space for the ways Black people live . . . for more of the complicated nature of our existence in places and spaces.”

Thelma Golden explains, “Like the Internet, a boundless and dynamic space that fuels Kahlil Robert Irving’s imagination, the artist’s new installation is fascinating and multilayered, and opens path after path for the viewer. The Studio Museum in Harlem is proud to continue its collaboration with MoMA by presenting this extraordinary exhibition, which is as historically probing as it is timely and forward thinking.”

ARTIST BIO: Kahlil Robert Irving (b. 1992, San Diego, CA) is an artist currently living and working in the USA. He attended the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art, Washington University in St. Louis (MFA fellow, 2017); and the Kansas City Art Institute (BFA, art history and ceramics/sculpture, 2015). His work has been exhibited at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas; the Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe; and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Rhode Island, among others.

Currently, Irving is presenting a group of new sculptures in the New Museum Triennial Soft Water Hard Stone, co-curated by Jamillah James and Margot Norton. Irving was recently awarded the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant. In 2018, Irving’s first institutional solo exhibition took place at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts, Connecticut, and was accompanied by a full-color catalogue with essays and an interview. He is currently presenting a large-scale commission in the lobby of the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio. Irving’s work is also featured in the exhibitions Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019 and Nothing Is So Humble: Prints from Everyday Objects at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. His work is in the collections of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art; the RISD Museum; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

PARTNERSHIP: The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Museum of Modern Art, and MoMA PS1
The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 have joined in a multiyear partnership with The Studio Museum in Harlem. Together, these museums have developed a series of programs and exhibitions building on existing affiliations and shared values. At the core of this partnership is a joint fellowship for rising professionals in the arts. Founded in 2015, this fellowship program for the development of museum staff is aimed at mentoring and diversifying the next generation of art professionals. The two-year fellowship provides participants with the opportunity to spend a year at each institution, gaining experience in the curatorial or public programming departments.

In the third year of collaboration across institutions, the Studio Museum presents its annual Artist-in Residence exhibition at MoMA PS1, from November 18, 2021, to February 27, 2022. The exhibition, (Never) As I Was, features new work by the 2020–21 cohort of the Studio Museum’s foundational residency program, artists Widline Cadet (b. 1992, PétionVille, Haiti), Texas Isaiah (b. Brooklyn, NY), Genesis Jerez (b. 1993, Bronx, NY), and Jacolby Satterwhite (b. 1986, Columbia, SC). In response to the seismic impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, for the first time in the Studio Museum’s history the artists participated entirely in remote form for the duration of the residency.

SPONSORSHIP:

The Elaine Dannheisser Projects Series is made possible in part by the Elaine Dannheisser Foundation and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art.