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John Miller


On view February 18, 2016 – June 12, 2016


The Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, presents a comprehensive survey of work by John Miller, marking the first American museum exhibition dedicated to the influential conceptual artist. I Stand, I Fall brings together some 75 works that trace Miller’s use of the figure throughout his career in order to incisively comment on the status of art and life in American culture.


The exhibition features a range of media, including painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, installation and video; never-before-seen works from the 1980s; new large-scale sculptures; and the artist’s most ambitious architectural installation to date – a vast and immersive mirrored labyrinth that will go on view in ICA Miami’s Atrium Gallery.


I Stand, I Fall surveys Miller’s use of the figure in order to examine themes of citizenship and politics, and the conventions of realism in contemporary art. Organized chronologically, the exhibition begins with his drawings and paintings from 1982-1983, the majority of which have never been presented publicly. Influenced by the pastoral genre of painting and American social realism of the 1920s and 30s, these deadpan, even grotesque, works explore issues of urban and suburban Americana, public space, and the human relationship to the landscape. Depicting members of the Black Panthers and sit-ins alongside popular and folk imagery, the images are strikingly resonant today.


The exhibition also includes Miller’s iconic monochromatic gold and brown reliefs, composed of dense, animistic arrangements of readymade materials, as well as a wide array of his anthropomorphic sculptures, which include pointed, humorous re-imaginations of globes, mannequins and office furniture. Photographs from the ongoing series The Middle of the Day (1994-present) reveal the source material for many of the artist’s paintings, including his new “pedestrian” paintings and photomural wallpapers, which will also be on view. Shot between the hours of noon and 2:00 p.m., the typical hours of a lunch break, these photographs depict the everyday realities of economics and social class – themes that the artist has innovatively explored for decades.


About John Miller

John Miller (b. 1954) is an artist, critic, and musician whose work has been exhibited in major museums and collections worldwide. Over the course of thirty years, Miller has produced a diverse body of work that, in addition to figuration, addresses language, valuation, social hierarchy and abjection. He has had solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Zurich, Musée d’art moderne et Contemporain in Geneva, MoMA PS1, and Ludwig Museum, where he was awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize by the Society of Contemporary Arts in 2011. His work was included in the 1985 and 1991 Whitney Biennials, as well as the 2005 Lyon Biennial. Miller’s work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Carnegie Museum of Art, the Museum Ludwig, the Stedelijk Museum, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. Miller is an artist critic, whose writings often address the role of aesthetics in culture. He has contributed to Artforum, e-flux and Texte Zur Kunst, and his major publications include The Price Club: Selected Writings, 1977-1996 (JRP Editions and the Consortium, 2000); The Ruin of Exchange (Geneva and Dijon: JRP-Ringier and les Presses du Reel, 2012); and Mike Kelley: Educational Complex (London: Afterall Books, 2015). He currently lives in New York, where he is the Professor of Professional Practice in Art History at Barnard College, and in Berlin.


I Stand, I Fall is organized by ICA Miami and curated by Deputy Director and Chief Curator Alex Gartenfeld. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue to be released in Spring 2017, including introduction by Alex Gartenfeld, essay by Hal Foster, and an interview by Isabelle Graw.