Awol Erizku on The Creators Project

November 29th, 2016

Awol Erizku's I Was Going to Call It Your Name But You Didn’t Let Me at Nina Johnson

Not since the days of Patrick Nagel have the fine arts turned an eye towards the Los Angeles nail salon, failing to find lyrical potential in acrylics and gels. Finally, Ethiopia-born, Bronx-raised artist Awol Erizku is giving the institution its due. From November 28 to January 17, Miami gallery Nina Johnson will mount an exhibition comprised of 20 paintings, a conceptual sound collage, and sonic ephemera from the artist. Erizku appropriated images from LA nail salon signage to create paintings of disembodied manicured hands. The titles derive from songs that remind Erizku of his past relationships and break-ups, turning the exhibition checklist into a playlist. Appropriately, pop songs and sound bites culled from YouTube and Soundcloud accompany the work. Of course, nail salons are about more than UV dryers and OPI colors—they’re sites where women of all backgrounds converge, proponents of both self-expression and disguise. Erizku’s work often addresses the absence of the black body in art history. Here, his images ask viewers to consider who his subjects are, beyond the wrist.

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