If UR Reading This It’s 2 Late: Vol 1 is the first UK solo exhibition of US-based artist Tony Cokes. The exhibition provides an opportunity to see a broad range of powerful artworks made by Cokes since the 1980s, alongside two newly commissioned films. Cokes’ video works are eviscerating critiques and affective art works, bringing together colour theory, sound, music, and texts quoting a polyphony of voices such as Louis Althusser, Malcolm X, David Bowie, Public Enemy and Donald Trump. Meeting political and social commentary with cultural theory and a critique of capitalism, Cokes’ films viscerally confront the social condition, as well as the specific prejudices and threats suffered by black subjects. Recent works range across minimal techno, the Bush administration’s use of colour to engender a perpetual culture of fear, and music used to torture detainees during the so-called ‘war on terror’.
Two new works will be produced for the exhibition, one of which is specific to the context of Goldsmiths CCA and takes as its subject the musicality of Kodwo Eshun’s Mark Fisher Memorial Lecture, which took place at Goldsmiths University in 2018. Mark Fisher was a well-loved writer and academic based at Goldsmiths, whose work explored the pervasive logic of capitalism as inflected through culture, including music, literature, film, television and visual art.
Co-organized by Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University (30 January – 5 April 2020) and ARGOS centre for audiovisual arts, Brussels (18 April – 26 July 2020).
Tony Cokes lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island, where he serves as Professor in the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. Recent exhibitions include the 10th Berlin Biennale, Berlin; Hessel Museum, Annandale-on-Hudson; Whitechapel Gallery, London; ZKM, Karlsruhe; REDCAT, Los Angeles; SFMOMA, San Francisco; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Pera Museum, Istanbul; and the Louvre, Paris.
His work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre George Pompidou, Paris; Kunsthallen, Copenhagen; Wexner Center for the Visual Arts, Columbus; and Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, among many others.
Tony Cokes, Evil.16 (Torture.Musik), 2009-2011. Courtesy Greene Naftali Gallery, New York, Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles, and Electronic Arts Intermix, New York.
Tony Cokes, FADE TO BLACK, 1990 (video still). Courtesy of Tony Cokes; Greene Naftali, New York, Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles, and Electronic Arts Intermix, New York.
Tony Cokes, Evil 35: Carlin / Owners, 2012. Installation view, On Non-Visibility, Greene Naftali, New York, 2018. Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali, New York.
Tony Cokes, The Queen is Dead, Fragment 2, 2019 (video still). Courtesy of Tony Cokes; Greene Naftali, New York, Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles, and Electronic Arts Intermix, New York.