• Magic, 1990 Mixed media with puppet and armature 30 x 48 x 24 in. (76 x 122 x 61 cm) Collection of Igor DaCosta and James Rondeau. Photo: Ron Amstutz
  • Nayland Blake, Untitled (Pinocchio), 1994. Collection of Gretchen and John Berggruen
  • Nayland Blake, Feeder 2, 1998. Steel and gingerbread
  • Nayland Blake, Equipment for a Shameful Eric, 1993

No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake

ShowingOctober 16, 2020 - February 14, 2021

For over thirty years, artist, educator, and curator Nayland Blake (b. 1960 United States; lives and works in New York) has been a critical figure in American art, working between sculpture, drawing, performance, and video. No Wrong Holes marks the most comprehensive survey of Blake’s work to date and travels to the List Center from the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Heavily inspired by feminist and queer liberation movements, and subcultures ranging from punk to kink, Blake’s multidisciplinary practice considers the complexities of representation, particularly racial and gender identity; play and eroticism; and the subjective experiences of desire, loss, and power. The artist’s sustained meditation on “passing” and duality as a queer, biracial (African American and white) person is grounded in post-minimalist and conceptual approaches made personal through an idiosyncratic array of materials (such as leather, medical equipment, and food) and the tropes of fairy tales and fantasy. The exhibition pays particular focus to work Blake produced while they lived on the West Coast, first in the greater Los Angeles area as a graduate student at CalArts, followed by a decade in San Francisco—years bookended by the advancement of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and the “culture wars” of the 1990s.

No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake is organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and curated by Jamillah James, Curator.

 No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake is made possible thanks to lead support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Generous support is provided by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Marieluise Hessel, Linda Janger, Matthew Marks Gallery, and Friends of Nayland Blake: Karyn Kohl, Stephen J. Javaras and Robert A. Collins, and Marla and Jeffrey Michaels.

 Additional support is provided by the ICA LA’s Curator’s Council, Fieldwork, and 1717 Collective.

 The List Center presentation of No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake is organized by Selby Nimrod, Assistant Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center.

 Exhibitions at the List Center are made possible with the support of Karen & Gregory Arenson, Fotene & Tom Coté, Audrey & James Foster, Idee German Schoenheimer, Joyce Linde, Cynthia & John Reed, and Sara-Ann & Robert Sanders. Additional support for the List Center’s presentation of No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake was generously provided by Matthew Marks Gallery.

General operating support is provided by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the Council for the Arts at MIT; Philip S. Khoury, Associate Provost at MIT; the MIT School of Architecture + Planning; the Mass Cultural Council; and many generous individual donors. In-kind media sponsorship provided by 90.9 WBUR.  The Advisory Committee Members of the List Visual Arts Center are gratefully acknowledged. 

  • Magic, 1990
    Mixed media with puppet and armature
    30 x 48 x 24 in. (76 x 122 x 61 cm)
    Collection of Igor DaCosta and James Rondeau
    Photo: Ron Amstutz 

  • Untitled (Pinocchio), 1994
    Painted wood
    11 × 32 × 4 ½ in. (28 × 81 × 11 cm)
    Collection of Gretchen and John Berggruen

  • Feeder 2, 1998
    Steel and gingerbread
    7 × 10 × 7 feet
    The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and
    Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs,
    New York; Gift of Peter Norton

  • Equipment for a Shameful Epic, 1993
    Courtesy the artist and Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

Press Coverage

  1. Nayland Blake, Feeder 2, 1998. Steel and gingerbread

    Adam Pendleton's Must-See Fall Art Exhibition | The artist tells T&C about the fall exhibition he can’t miss: a survey of the work of Nayland Blake | Town and Country | Adam Rathe

  2. Nayland Blake, Feeder 2, 1998. Steel and gingerbread

    Nayland Blake | Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles | Andy Campbell | Artforum

  3. Magic, 1990 Mixed media with puppet and armature 30 x 48 x 24 in. (76 x 122 x 61 cm) Collection of Igor DaCosta and James Rondeau. Photo: Ron Amstutz

    An Artist’s Personal Museum in Brooklyn | Coco Romack | NY Times Style Magazine

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