Billy White: Coming to America

Coming to America at Shrine marks Billy White’s well-deserved inaugural solo exhibition in New York, offering an exuberant selection of recent work; the paintings and sculptures currently on view dynamically illustrate White’s definitive creative focus and sustained capacity for fearless reinvention. ..

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Michael Pellew: #1 Under Control World Tour

#1 Under Control World Tour featured ten drawings and four paintings by the prolific Brooklyn based artist in Western Exhibitions’ intimate back gallery. The tight installation felt appropriate for Pellew’s populous works; as usual the drawings were teeming with congregations of favorite music and TV icons, the occasional friend in real life, and fantastic alternate identities…

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A Conversation with Harriet Body

Paired at Firstdraft in Woolloomooloo, Sydney is the culmination of in-depth investigation by Harriet Body of collaborations between artists with and without disabilities. Body, who has maintained a collaborative creative relationship for several years with Thom Roberts at Studio A, has traveled throughout Australia and elsewhere to visit progressive art studios with a specific interest in collaboration…

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Visual Oasis: Works from Creative Growth

We were recently commissioned by the Capital City Arts Initiative to write the following exhibition essay for Visual Oasis: Works from Creative Growth. Visual Oasis brings together a diverse selection of works by Creative Growth artists employing various approaches to drawing, painting, and fiber art at CCAI’s Courthouse Gallery…

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Mysterious Feelings at Circle Contemporary

Circle Contemporary, the only Chicago space dedicated to integrated programming, has consistently offered ambitious and thoughtful group exhibitions since its founding early last year. Curated by Corrie Thompson, Mysterious Feelings brings together a highly varied selection of Chicago-based artists

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Byron Smith: Cover Girls at Institute 193

Byron Smith’s Cover Girls offers earnest and adoring tributes to glamorous movie, TV, and music industry icons. Smith’s drawings are typified by a hyperbolic allure, with an archetypal framework revealed collectively throughout the portrait series; this becomes most evident in simplified yet distinctive feminine features - elongated eyelashes radiating outward from almond-shaped lids, cherry red lacquered fingernails and lips, pronounced cupid’s bows, and wide, toothy grins....

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Neurodiversity in Contemporary Art - Lecture at Haverford College

Disparate Minds co-founders Tim Ortiz and Andreana Donahue discuss current concerns at the intersection of art and disability studies while highlighting neurodivergent artists’ contributions to the contemporary art discourse...

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Disparate Minds in "Manifesto for all"

From the initial mark placed on a blank page, the artist is laid bare. As Philip Guston said, that first mark is necessarily destructive. The pristine blank page is perfect and once marked is ruined and only saved when the artist finds a way, through magic, to transform it into something better than before. The artist leads the way into the unknown, owning the details of each choice. To mark a blank page becomes a tremendous proposition and responsibility, to set out without direction and asking the viewer to follow.

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Carl Bailey

As a painter, thinker, and self-described “indigenous male earthling of the United States of America”, Wilmington-based artist Carl Bailey explores concepts with a sense of wonder.
Never driven by the consensus narrative, he is only concerned with primary sources -
artworks and their respective artists, their relationship to time and place, and discovering their universal humanity...

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Holiday Giving

Evelyn Reyes, Carrots (Green), 2006, oil pastel on paper, image courtesy Creativity Explored

If you participate in donating to important causes this holiday season, we extend our annual reminder to keep your local progressive art studio in mind. Studios facilitating the creative practices of fantastic artists that we discuss depend on the support of their local communities in the form of both patronage and charitable giving. These invaluable programs depend largely on Medicaid funding and now more than ever rely directly on you as continued government support is increasingly uncertain.

Of course these studios are also places to find incredible holiday gifts. Visiting and collecting works of art that you love to live with is a powerful way to integrate disability (disparate thinking) into your life in a personal and authentic way. If there’s a progressive art studio in your community, you'll almost certainly find some of the most original and remarkably affordable local art is being created there. Alternatively, you can now purchase many artists’ work online, such as Sarah Malpass at NIAD, Evelyn Reyes at Creativity Explored, or Larry Pearsall of DAC on Amazon. Please refer to our side-bar directory for all studio locations and websites.

If you’re interested in supporting larger organizations that advocate for disability rights on a national scale, this year we offer the following two recommendations:

ADAPT

ADAPT has always been at the forefront of the fight for disability rights even before the ADA. These heroes have been putting their lives and liberty on the line all year to defend Medicaid, crowding the halls of Congress, crashing meetings, and staging sit-ins at the offices of our political leaders - getting arrested and accruing legal fees in the process. ADAPT is still a relatively small organization, but these individuals saved America this year and they need your support.

ADAPT protester Lonnie Smith arrested at a sit-in at Denver US Senator Cory Gardner's office opposing GOP health care bill cuts to Medicaid (Jon Leyba/The Denver Post via AP)

The ACLU

The ACLU, co-founded by Helen Keller, has always understood disability rights in their most progressive form to be essential civil rights. They have been providing the legal muscle behind this movement at crucial moments - some you may have heard of and others you may not.  When the state of Oklahoma sent letters to Medicaid recipients in early November indicating their home care services would be terminated at the end of the month, an ACLU lawsuit sent the state legislature back to work.

Curtis Davis

Cincinnati-based artist Curtis Davis blurs the boundaries between painting and sculpture, alternating between totemic mixed-media assemblages and large scale panels. Davis’ mysterious abstractions conjure various interpretations, yet curious elements ground the viewer...

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Helen Rae at White Columns

Helen Rae, one of the progressive art studio movement's rising stars, currently has recent work on view at White Columns in NYC, marking her first east coast solo exhibition. Rae is quickly emerging as an important figure in this movement; her work is striking, wildly popular, and at 78 years old, her practice is one of great dynamism and momentum. 

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Larry Pearsall, David Lynch, and the Process of Storytelling

Larry Pearsall is a Los Angeles-based artist who has created an extensive, focused body of work at ECF’s downtown studio for over a decade. Pearsall's paintings have a masterful quality, which can be difficult to access only because of their strangeness and ambiguity; the more his epic narrative is given weight or trusted, the more unsettling it becomes...

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Storytellers: Sara Malpass

We first encountered Sara Malpass’ work at NIAD in her solo exhibition What Are Words For, and have included her work in our latest curatorial project Storytellers, currently on view at LAND in Brooklyn. Selections by Malpass are featured in this exhibition in order to highlight the important perspective she offers in the discussion of narrative...

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Storytellers: Living Narrative

Storytellers brings together works anchored in narrative from disabled artists working in progressive art studios across the country, these selections providing an expansive view of manifold and highly original approaches. The pieces featured in this exhibition provide entry points into bodies of work that construct robust narratives, representing ongoing projects and life-long dedications of twelve artists...

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