Exhibitions, Press Release

September 29, 2020

Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020

MEDIA CONTACT: Virginia McInnis | [email protected] | 480-874-4663

Four Original Solo Exhibitions Opening in 2021 at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) announces upcoming 2021 exhibition schedule to begin February 6, 2021.

“SMoCA is proud and honored to highlight the work of four incredibly relevant and timely projects in the coming year. On the heels of 2020 we recognize the importance of providing space for artists of color to lead the conversations on where we are and where we want to go. With new commissions, publications and solo exhibitions we are acknowledging the historic inequities and making contributions toward a better future,” says Jennifer McCabe, SMoCA’s director and chief curator.

The highlights of the upcoming year are four original solo exhibitions, featuring new commissions. First the Museum debuts “PROJECT SPACE,” a series that features projects by emerging artists. The inaugural show premieres new works by Diedrick Brackens that incorporate textiles with ideas of agency to advance change. A major highlight of the year is an exhibition with London-based artist Zineb Sedira, who will represent France in the 2022 Venice Biennale. At SMoCA, Sedira creates a new iteration of “Standing Here Wondering Which Way to Go,” a work inspired by the 1969 Pan-African Festival of Algiers. In the summertime, new soft sculptures take over “PROJECT SPACE” with works by New York-based Mimi O Chun with the intent to spark moments of self-reflection. During the fall, an exhibition by Brad Kahlhamer presents new works in a variety of mediums that offer a meditation on the nomadic and intersectional contemporary condition that involves a social network of individuals of different ages, residency status, class and race.

Diedrick Brackens: Ark of Bulrushes 
Feb. 6 – Aug. 22, 2021 

Diedrick Brakens art
Diedrick Brackens, “if you feed a river,” 2019; cotton, acrylic, and nylon yarns; 79 x 83 inches. Courtesy of the artist, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, and Various Small Fires, Los Angeles. © Diedrick Brackens. 

“Ark of Bulrushes” presents a new body of work by Diedrick Brackens that includes hand-woven tapestries and sculptural weavings. In this series of works, Brackens forms visual allegories of emancipation by intertwining symbology from the Underground Railroad and the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, offering a meditation on the climate crisis, liberation and the power of craft. The colorful and textural landscapes by Brackens are filled with stars, rivers, coded patterns, boats, and Black figures that together create narratives of hope in times of oppression and turbulence. 

“Diedrick Brackens: Ark of Bulrushes” is organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and curated by Lauren R. O’Connell, assistant curator. 

VOICE-OVER: Zineb Sedira 
Feb. 20 – Sept. 5, 2021 

Zineb Sedira, “Standing Here Wondering Which Way to Go”, 2019 (Detail of the installation “Way of Life”). © Zineb Sedira/ ADAGP, Paris, 2019. Courtesy of galleries kamel mennour, Paris/London and The Third Line, Dubaï.

In her solo-exhibition, “VOICE-OVER,” Sedira will create a new iteration for SMoCA of “Standing Here Wondering Which Way to Go”an installation first shown at the Jeu de Paume in Paris in 2019 and commissioned by Jeu de Paume, Paris, France; IVAM, Valencia, Spain; Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal; and Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden. This work is inspired by the 1969 Pan-African Festival of Algiers — a key historical event that marked Algeria’s important role in various liberation movements in Africa along with the global 1960s political, anti-imperialist and utopian consciousness — and its eponymous William Klein documentary film of the same year. SMoCA will also be exhibiting several of Sedira’s videos, which focus on her interest in intergenerational oral histories — how stories are collected, recorded and transmitted —  paying particular tribute to her parents’ native country, Algeria. 

“VOICE-OVER: Zineb Sedira” is organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and guest curated by Natasha Boas, Ph.D. Supported by the Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation.  

Mimi O Chun: It’s all cake
Sept. 4, 2021 – Jan. 30, 2022 

New York-based artist and designer Mimi O Chun’s soft sculptures capture moments that reflect the world in which we live. Her recent work re-contextualizes existing vernacular to reveal beauty, at times irony, and ultimately truth about the cultural values we collectively adopt, perpetuate and create. Through ironic pairings of recognizable objects, Chun humorously points out the complicity in which people engage the ridiculousness of, what she terms, quick culture. Using social media and internet memes as sources for her soft sculptures, Chun is also keenly aware of art history. She explains that “the art world is certainly no stranger to stuffed goods, even for artists whose oeuvres fall outside of the realm of textile arts.” Chun offers the viewer these humorous, ironic, and thoughtful sculptures in order to spark moments of collective self-examination. 

“Mimi O Chun: It’s all cake” is organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and curated by Lauren R. O’Connell, assistant curator.

Brad Kahlhamer: Swap Meet 
Sept. 25, 2021 – Jan. 23, 2022  

Brad Kahlhamer, “Nomadic Studio,” 2020. Courtesy of the artist. © Brad Kahlhamer.

New York City-based Native American artist Brad Kahlhamer first exhibited at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) in 2004 with the hugely successful exhibition “Let’s Walk West.” For his second SMoCA exhibition, over 15 years later, Kahlhamer draws his inspiration from the ethnographic experience of fieldwork at swap meets throughout the Southwest, which he has engaged with since his childhood in Arizona. The social and cultural space of the swap meet models and fuels Kahlhamer’s artistic practice in varying mediums of painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, performance and music, as well as a new commission. At the cross-section of Native American cultures and his own culture as an artist, “Swap Meet” becomes Kahlhamer’s meditation on a nomadic and intersectional contemporary condition that involves a social network of individuals of different ages, residency status, class and race.  This exhibition will be accompanied by a multi-media publication which will include drawings, a music component and an interview with the artist and Native American author Tommy Orange. 

“Brad Kahlhamer: Swap Meet” is organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and guest curated by Natasha Boas, Ph.D. The exhibition is accompanied by a series of performances, a catalog and a new major commission by SMoCA.


Through its partnership with the City of Scottsdale, the nonprofit Scottsdale Arts (formerly known as Scottsdale Cultural Council) creates diverse, inspired arts experiences and educational opportunities that foster active, lifelong community engagement with the arts. Since its founding in 1987, Scottsdale Arts has grown into a regionally and nationally significant, multi-disciplinary arts organization offering an exceptional variety of programs through four acclaimed branches — Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA), Scottsdale Public Art and Scottsdale Arts Learning & Innovation — serving more than 600,000 participants annually. In conjunction with the City of Scottsdale, we also host more than 200,000 people annually on our campus through a robust rentals program.


Founded in 1999, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) explores the best of contemporary art, architecture and design. Global in its focus, the Museum is a unique and vital cultural resource for the Southwest, serving local audiences as well as visitors from the United States and abroad. Designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, SMoCA’s minimalist building (an ingenious renovation of a former movie theater) has four galleries for showcasing changing exhibitions and works from the Museum’s collection, along with SMoCA Lounge, a living, functional art installation and space for community engagement. The Museum presents a wide variety of educational programs and special events for adults and families, including lectures, readings, performances, docent-led tours, workshops and classes. SMoCA also features an outdoor sculpture garden housing James Turrell’s “Knight Rise,” one of the renowned artist’s public skyspaces, and “Scrim Wall,” a monumental curtain of translucent glass panels by James Carpenter Design Associates. The Museum’s retail store, Shop@SMoCA, offers classic design objects and furnishings, contemporary jewelry, art and architecture books, and imaginative gifts for all occasions.


Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

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Virginia McInnis

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Phone: 480-874-4663

Email: [email protected]