Staff Picks: 2023

By January 03, 2023

In this round up, Burnaway staff revisits our favorite exhibitions from 2022 and what we are looking forward to in the cultural sphere for 2023.

Album art for Ethel Cain’s Preacher’s Daughter, released in 2022.

Favourite Exhibitions of 2022

Jasmine Amussen, Editor

Visit the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University and spend the day a world away!

A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration, Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, Mississippi. Curated by Ryan Dennis and Jessica Bell Brown (Baltimore Museum of Art).

I wrote about Burnaway’s trip to Mississippi for the opening of Legacies in April,  and I haven’t really stopped thinking about it since. The ongoing water crisis in the state, the migration from expensive coastal cities during COVID-19, the political events across the South – Mississippi will be forever on my mind. 

Bryn Evans, Assistant Editor

Denyse Thomasos: Just Beyond, Art Gallery of Ontario

— My friends and I visited AGO during an early November trip to Toronto. The space was a God-send — visitors twenty-five and under visit free all year, anytime. I was grateful for this large retrospective dedicated to Denyse Thomasos’ work, reminiscent of Joan Mitchell’s show at SFMOMA and Julie Mehretu’s exhibition at the High Museum. The institutional attention given to women abstract painters in recent years has been a pleasure to witness. I wonder what is next.

Billie Zangewa: Thread for a Web Begun, Museum of the African Diaspora

— My fiancé surprised me with my first visit to MoAD in San Francisco, and I was transfixed by Zangewa’s silk paintings. It was so opportune to see Zangewa’s first solo U.S. museum exhibition. In a way, viewing her show acted as a sort of predecessor to my interview with Akea Brionne. Both artists are established practitioners in the fabric arts and have interests in Black portraiture, domestic interiors, and memory’s landscapes. I am a huge fan.

Lava Thomas: Homecoming, Spelman Museum of Art

— Lava Thomas’ artistic talent and attention to detail shines through in her portraits of several Black women who were arrested in conjunction with the Montgomery bus boycott that endured through December 1955 and December 1956. The conversation between the portraits and two others included in the Spelman Museum show encourages a wholehearted examination of Black autonomy, interiority and self-fashioning; protest; and carcerality. 

Alma Thomas: Everything is Beautiful, Columbus Museum of Art

Everything is Beautiful is a groundbreaking exhibition that has traveled to multiple venues across the South over the past several years. I am grateful to have been able to visit the Columbus Museum of Art’s iteration in Thomas’ hometown alongside Sand Unshaken: The Origin Story of Alma Thomas, an archival project that explores Thomas’ upbringing in Columbus’s budding Black middle class at the turn of the twentieth century. The juxtaposition of these two exhibitions in the same museum offered insight that Everything is Beautiful could not provide on its own due to an understandable focus on the formal and thematic elements of Thomas’ vibrant color field paintings.

Namwon Choi, The Shape of Distance. Courtesy the artist and Laney Contemporary.

Emily Llamazales, Programs and Development Coordinator

Namwon Choi at Laney Contemporary

Twin Realms at Dodd Galleries, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Athens, GA.

This beautiful two person exhibition by Dodd MFA candidates Katie Ford and Lindsey Kennedy brought together textiles, photography, and sculpture. The airness of translucent fabric draped over a printed image on canvas, photographs depicting folds, curves, and scanned fabric, the integration of haptic metal wire and lattices cut into fabric left me in awe of the simple magic one can feel in the presence of beautiful things. But more importantly, these works conveyed an instability or pause—I was transfixed. 

Brandon Sheats, Executive Director

Nina Chanel Abney: Big Butch Energy

ICA Miami – On until March 2023

Okay, so you’re in a city with a ton of decadence in one of the most decadent weeks, then you enter a room with work that invokes the mundane (but necessary) insistence of we can be Black but also “ordinary people” vibe of A Different World but insists on transgressing against that. Abney displaces those silly tropes of college life by breaking gender rules. 

Kat Eaves, Social Media Coordinator

Jacolby Satterwhite at Tiger Strikes Asteroid Greenville

In March of 2022 TSA-Greenville presented Worlds Apart: Jacolby Satterwhite, an exhibition of two works by the South Carolina native that combined digital film, animation,  illustration, original score and performance. Satterwhite is an alumni from my high school and it was great to finally experience his bizarre video work at a new contemporary art space in the same city.

Blood Orange, Freetown Sound, 2016.

Deana Lawson at the High Museum of Art

My first introduction to Deana Lawson’s photography was the cover art for Blood Orange’s 2016 album Freetown Sound (2009 photograph titled Binky and Tony Forever). On view at the High Museum through February 19, are a collection of pervasive and captivating large scale depictions of family, spirituality, sexuality and Black identity, taken over 15 years of Lawson’s career. 

Isabella Marie Garcia, Intern

ORDER MY STEPS: There are no answers here, move on | Roscoè B. Thické III
Oolite Arts, Miami, Florida
February 9 – May 15, 2022
There was a room in this debut solo exhibition of Miami-based Roscoè B. Thické III’s photography work featuring a three-part black and white portrait series of a pregnant loved one that remains one of my favorite rooms in an exhibition I’ve seen this year. Curator Rosie Gordon-Wallace notes in her accompanying exhibition text that Thické III “is determined to share the raw beauty of his family,” a continuous devoted thread that is palpable in his photographs. Learning about Roscoè’s story more in-depth and who he fundamentally is as an artist throughout the year has been super enriching for my knowledge and love of the local photography scene and its established and emerging pillars.

Looking Forward to in 2023

Trailer for Laura Poitras’ documentary around the activism of photographer Nan Goldin.

Jasmine Amussen

The Art of Cruelty, CAMH, Texas (early 2024)

Using Maggie Nelson’s book as inspiration, I am intensely curious about this exhibition opening at CAMH, even if it is a little more than a year away.

Another Gaze Editions,  London, UK

My favourite film journal has started an imprint! Excited to see new projects come out of Another Gaze. Always thoughtful, considered, exciting criticism about feminist filmmaking.

After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz

Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez

Bryn Evans

Tennessee Triennial

Tri-Star Arts announced the Tennessee Triennial in 2019, and it’s almost upon us! Artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons is the inaugural consulting curator, offering the guiding theme of RE-PAIR as the triennial’s core thematic premise. I am excited to see the coverage — regionally, nationally, and internationally — for this long-awaited endeavor.

Rivers Institute collaborations with Alia Farid and Allison Janae Hamilton

Rivers Institute recently announced a project at the intersection of indigeneity, climate change, and art. Working with artists Alia Farid and Allison Janae Hamilton, the Institute will closely study liminal spaces, degraded environments, and marronage. I look forward to what comes from these ongoing projects and the Rivers Institute’s ongoing relationship with Siglio Press.

Logo for newly launched imprint from Another Gaze.

Emily Llamazales
Kara Walker at the Athenaeum, Athens GA

Attending WRESTLEMANIA in L.A., plus my first LA visit. 

Dune: Part II directed by Denis Villeneuve

Brandon Sheats

Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich: Too Bright to See

Perez Art Museum Miami

Opening April 2023

This one strikes me as potentially one of the best presentations of the next year. Hunt-Ehrlich dives deep into the life of Suzanne Roussi-Césaire, a writer and anticolonial and feminist activist now discussed in our histories of Négritude, a post-War movement to erase the intellectual barriers between colonial and African control of African art, to shift from being perpetual influences and into agency. 

Visit the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University and spend the day a world away!

Bruce Onobrakpeya: The Mask and the Cross

High Museum of Art

Opening April 2023

One of the things I think about often, living in the South, is how much we’re now openly exploring our diasporic connections – not the great (out)migration, but where we come from, and the inherent double consciousness it inspires on both sides of the Atlantic. Forming connections and reminding us of dissonances between Nigerian culture and imported Christianity, this will be the first solo exhibition of Onobrakpeya’s work in America.

Kat Eaves

Evelyn Hofer: Eyes on the City opening at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta March 24, 2023

Tennessee Triennial, statewide event organized by Tri-Star Arts

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Laura Poitras’ 2022 documentary film on the career of Nan Goldin and the fall of the Sackler family. Coming to streaming (HBO Max) early 2023. 

Yorgos Lanthimos Poor Things set for 2023 release. Alleged My Year of Rest and Relaxation film adaption rumored also to be directed by Lanthimos.

Caroline Polachek and Ethel Cain in Nashville, TN at the Ryman Auditorium on 5/17

Isabella Marie Garcia

Tropic Bound Fair – Miami’s first-ever artists’ book fair!
Multiplicity: Blackness in Contemporary American Collage at The Frist Art Museum, Nashville, TN – yes!!

Paramore: This Is Why – I need to revamp my After Laughter denim jacket!!! ⚡ (x)

The Bad Bunny Enigma: Culture, Resistance, and Uncertainty – This has stayed on my mind.

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