Roberts spent most of 2015 in a residency at the Whitney Museum of American Art, creating both visual work and musical compositions, responding to the Whitney’s new building and its inaugural exhibition America is Hard to See. The residency culminated in a one-night installation and orchestral performance on December 31, aptly titled red, white and blues, which questioned, in Roberts’s words, “the perplexities of what it means to be American in the twenty-first century.”
The present exhibition offers an expanded version of the Whitney exploration. The visual work consists of several large-scale videos and tapestries, enwrapping the gallery in a kind of multi-media quilt. In conjunction with the exhibition, a program of musical performances will offer some of New York City’s leading improvisers a chance to interpret Roberts’ work and share their own takes on the contemporary state of the American ideal.
Matana Roberts has emerged as one of the most innovative cross-disciplinary artists of her generation. Her acclaimed artistic practice aims to expose the mystical roots and the intuitive spirit-raising traditions of American creative expression. She has forged new conceptual approaches to considering narrativity, history, and political expression within improvisatory structures. Born in Chicago, Roberts is based in New York City.