Profile: Nina Chanel Abney

nina-chanel-kravetz-wehby-gallery-chelsea-police-brutality-paintingsAbney an American artist, based in New York. She was born in Chicago, Illinois. She is an African American contemporary artist and painter who explores race, gender, pop culture, and politics in her work.

Her work uses symbols and bright colors to present new ways of approaching loaded topics as she invites viewers to draw their own conclusions. Blending the playful and the serious, Abney has said that her work is “easy to swallow, hard to digest.”

Abney attended Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois and received a BFA with a dual major in studio art and computer science in 2004. Abney then received an MFA at the Parsons School of Design in 2007.

n 2007, Abney got her first big break for her painting Class of 2007, which she painted for her MFA thesis show. The painting is a diptych. In one panel, she is depicted as a blonde officer carrying a gun. In the second panel, her MFA classmates, all white, are painted as black inmates in orange uniforms. The painting was purchased by the Rubell family, owners of the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, Florida.

She is best known for her colorful graphic large-scale paintings, four of which are included in the 30 Americans exhibition organized by the Rubell Family Collection of works by African American artists of the last three decades, which has toured museums and galleries in America since 2008. Her work has also appeared in the Whitney Museum, the Jack Shainman Gallery, as well as the Kravets Wehby Gallery in Chelsea.


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