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RETROaction (part two) at Hauser & Wirth


Curated by Homi K. Bhabha, Kate Fowle, Charles Gaines, and Ellen Tani, RETROaction (part two) at Hauser & Wirth looks back to Gaines’s 1993 exhibition The Theatre of Refusal: Black Art and Mainstream Culture. Featuring the work of thirteen artists, RETROaction (part two) continues the same theoretical investigation thirty years later in order to understand its resonances today.

Gaines, Lorna Simpson, and Gary Simmons, who participated in the original The Theatre of Refusal, present works from the early 1990s. The ten additional artists, selected by Ellen Tani and Gaines, embrace abstraction and materiality in their artistic practice. The exhibition takes its name from Bhabha’s idea of “retroaction” and pinpoints a critical moment of transition in the 1990s and present-day concerns such as racial violence, climate catastrophe, and migration and displacement.

Photo: Installation view, ‘RETROaction (part two),’ Hauser & Wirth Downtown Los Angeles 27 February – 5 May 2024. Courtesy of the artists and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Keith Lubow.