Charles Gaines Joins NAD’s 2020 Class of National Academicians

Charles Gaines, Faces 1: Identity Politics, #6, Jacques Lacan (detail), 2018. Acrylic sheet, acrylic paint, lacquer, and wood. Unique. 59 1/4 x 5 3/4 in. © Charles Gaines. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Thomas Barratt.

Esteemed conceptual artist and School of Art faculty Charles Gaines has been inducted into the National Academy of Design’s (NAD) newest class of National Academicians. Gaines is among the 15 artists and architects selected for the 2020 roster, who will serve as ambassadors of American art and contribute to NAD’s permanent collection.

Charles Gaines | Courtesy of the artist

Since its establishment in 1825, NAD annually elects to its membership artists and architects who have made “remarkable contributions to the canon and story of American art.” Gaines joins a community of nearly 450 current National Academicians, and 2,387 total inducted since NAD’s inception. See the full list of NAD’s class of 2020 National Academicians here.

NAD launches its series of 2020 inductee interviews with Gaines, who spoke with NAD’s newly appointed Executive Director Gregory Wessner about his career, influences, and distinctly systems-based works. On the subject of “removing ego” from his artistic systems, Gaines shared:

The work that I did was directly a consequence of my lived experience and culturally conscious. My interest in working with systems and processes was because I had existential questions that came out of my experience living in the Jim Crow South; questions like: Who authorized this system? Why is this person better than that person? Why can’t I drink water out of that fountain? I was interested in interrogating culture. My interest in systems was the process of interrogating strategies, the received strategies of what art is, and what constitutes an art practice.

Read the full interview here.

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