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Kendell Carter

November 7, 2006 - February 11, 2007

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Kendell Carter is a recent graduate from California State University, Long Beach. His installations bring together elements of urban street culture, modernist architecture, and textile and furniture design, funneling these disparate references into the domain of the museum gallery. Camouflage, brand-name clothing, and three-dimensional, chrome-plated graffiti share space with century-old toile designs and molded wainscoting. Carter blends and reshuffles the cultural identities of objects and materials, seeking to create a dialogue around their use and significance in contemporary society.

About the Exhibition

By Nizan Shaked

 

Kendell Carter’s installation Hommie/Homey is a catalyst for social interaction, an environment that invites visitors to relate directly to the art and to one another through the art. The installation—intended, in Carter’s words, “to create the condition for an alternate perception”1—is a living room that is at once homey and strange. Combining familiar objects with surprising elements, the space offers a dynamic play between several sets of alternative meanings that challenge preconceived notions about the engagement with art and its interpretation. Incorporating a host of cultural expressions, Carter infuses the vocabulary of the fine arts with multiple styles and techniques of design, all based on a profound relationship to hip-hop culture. Sometimes confrontational, sometimes subdued, these improvisational riffs on recognizable forms stimulate immediate and delayed responses. The more one sinks into the art, figuratively and literally, the more signifiers begin to unfold and reveal themselves.

 

While one side of the room looks like a luxurious cocktail lounge with dark drapes brushing against the black walnut frames of cushioned wainscoting, the other side looks like a generic living room, with plants and a store-bought couch. In between lie coffee tables and ottomans made of upturned chrome-plated milk crates. Crowned with walnut or with remarkably designed and flawlessly crafted seats upholstered with an amalgam of cheap and expensive fabrics, the crates-turned-furniture hybridize high and low materials. More

Nizan Shaked is a curator and an assistant professor of museum studies and art history at California State University, Long Beach.

Notes
1. All quotations from Kendell Carter are from an interview with the author, September 7, 2006

 

Hammer Projects is made possible with support from The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Annenberg Foundation, Fox Entertainment Group's Arts Development Fee, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, members of the Hammer Circle, and the David Teiger Curatorial Travel Fund.

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