News Release

Major Group Exhibition Traces Lineage and Legacy of Yard Art, Adding New Perspectives and Establishing Impacts on Contemporary Art

May 9, 2024
Philadelphia, PA
Left: Wendy Red Star’s Rez Pop K, J, E, G. Image is Courtesy of the artist and Sargent’s Daughters.Right: Title: Nuestra Señora Artist: José Esquivel. Media: Acrylic on Canvas. Size: 16″ x 20″ in. Year Completed: 1995. Photo Credit: Mario Esquivel.

Opening this summer at the Institute for Contemporary Art Philadelphia, Where I Learned to Look: Art from the Yard counters the assumption that artistic production is bound to the studio, gallery, or museum. The exhibition explores artwork inspired by or created and presented in yards, the transitional space between the home and wider world that function as spaces for making, interpreting, and sourcing materials for art. In over 30 works ranging across media and geographies, the exhibition presents artists from the past five decades whose practices deploy utilitarian and elaborate aesthetics, found and handmade materials, and references to the sacred, the familial, and popular culture. By proposing a lineage of yard art made by both community and academically taught artists, Where I Learned to Look: Art from the Yard invites conversations about class, accessibility, and impermanence. The exhibition is curated by artist and art historian Josh T Franco and organized by ICA.

On view from July 12 through December 1, Where I Learned to Look: Art from the Yard features over 30 works by artists, including Beverly Buchanan, David Driskell, Donald Judd, Noah Purifoy, and vanessa german, among others, as well as new works by Franco and a site-specific commission by Finnegan Shannon. The exhibition is part of ICA’s Sachs Guest Curator Program, which brings artists and non-traditional curators to guest curate exhibitions that push the boundaries of ICA’s space and offer new perspectives on emerging artists and underrecognized artistic practices.

“ICA has a rich legacy of supporting artists who emerge from beyond the conventional academic system. This curatorial practice is evidenced in our presentation of Where I Learned to Look: Art from the Yard, and traces back to our beginnings. Since our founding in 1963, we’ve invested in launching the careers of under-recognized artists by not only offering them a platform but curating exhibitions that provide pivotal context for their work within the wider field of art,” remarks Zoë Ryan, Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director. “We’re excited to have Josh T Franco join visionary artists like Kara Walker and Nayland Blake in curating exhibitions from their unique vantage point as part of our Sachs Guest Curator program. Stemming from Josh’s personal and familial dedication to this aesthetic tradition, Where I Learned to Look: Art from The Yard will highlight his important work underscoring yard art as a key influence in the contemporary art world.”

To read the full press release, click here.