April 8, 2021

Rodney McMillian's Art Address the African-American Experience While Examining Race, Gender, and Class

Rodney McMillian is a contemporary American artist with a wide-ranging conceptual practice often appropriating discarded, post-consumer materials into his work, McMillian modifies familiar objects into new, disconcerting forms:(source)

Blankets, can allude to the body—and even the pleasures of the bed— but there’s also the implication of an absent human presence in the discarded object and the deserted, painted terrain. Imbued with new lives, these knitted canvases are destined to find a new place in our lives. – Source

Couch, 2012 Couch, cement 32 1/2 × 88 1/2 × 33 1/2 in. Courtesy the artist and Maccarone, New York

In works such as Couch (2012)—a sateen sofa sawed in half and then cemented back together—McMillian uses post-consumer objects including discarded mattresses, carpets, chairs, and bedsheets as both the material and the subject matter of his art, as he evokes the physical, psychological and economic distress of communities hit by loan defaults, home foreclosures, and unemployment. McMillian juxtaposes these sculptures with works such as Untitled (The Supreme Court Painting) (2004-06) that challenge the terms that government and the media use to discuss justice, democracy, and citizens' rights in their private space, especially as African Americans experience these political ideals.