The exhibition explores the artist’s longstanding engagement with secondhand porcelain and stoneware dishes, drawing from both the large-scale political works for which Green is acclaimed and more recent works interrogating societal gender biases and personal histories.
“Green’s mastery of art as social documentary affords a dramatic range of expression for an artist with a piercing cultural commentary. The artist’s provocative and pioneering works do not rest on well-deserved laurels but instead continue to push the bounds of the art world,” said Beth Ann Gerstein, Executive Director of the Museum. “This important exhibition invites viewers to marvel at the revealed scale of Green’s artistic ambition, and to formulate important questions about the foundations of our society.”
Green’s artistic practice should be considered alongside by contemporary masters Ai Weiwei, a Chinese contemporary artist and activist, and Theaster Gates, a fellow American social practice installation artist and professor at the University of Chicago. Both Ai’s works, especially commentary-rich pieces like “Hansel and Gretel” (2017), and Gates’ works, especially “Plate Convergence” (2007), use social documentary as a form of protest and artistic expression.
Highlights of the exhibition will include a large-scale installation of “The Last Supper” in its entirety (over 800 plates). In this acclaimed body of ongoing work, Green documents the last meal requests of death row inmates in cobalt blue on white, ceramic kiln-fired plates. Julie Green: Flown Blue will present this work in conversation with six works from Green’s most recent body of work, “First Meal,” which documents the first meals eaten by exonerated prisoners. “Naively, I thought ‘First Meal’ would be more uplifting to paint that ‘The Last Supper,’” Green tells NPR. “Of course the meal is celebratory, but it is nothing compared to all those lost years. And how do you depict absence, not having an orange for seven years? How do you illustrate holding an orange for 40 minutes before savouring every bite?”