The surprising combination of bright colours, in your face text and thumping beats has been characteristic for Tony Cokes’ unique and striking video essays for decades. Cokes’ art challenges its audience to re-evaluate the political role of art and media. What does it mean to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020: is it empathy or complicity? What role does pop music play in the War on Terror? From 22 December until 8 January, Cokes’ video works will take over de entire building of De Balie.
In his work, Cokes shows us the ambiguity and complexity of our modern capitalist society. He intertwines themes like gentrification, pop music and racial inequality, and combines the ideas of thinkers such as Paul Gilroy, Tino Seghal and James Baldwin with music by Michael Jackson, Morissey, Krafwerk and Nancy Sinatra.
The exhibition at De Balie has been curated in close consultation with Tony Cokes. The display of Tony Cokes’ works at De Balie is a partner project of the Hartwig Art Foundation and is based on their generous loans of works by the artist.
About Tony Cokes
Tony Cokes lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island, where he serves as Professor in the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. Recent solo exhibitions include MACRO Contemporary Art Museum, Rome (2021); CIRCA, London (2021); Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona (2020); ARGOS centre for audiovisual arts, Brussels (2020); Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2020); BAK – basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, Netherlands (2020); Luma Westbau, Zurich (2019); Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, London (2019); The Shed, New York (2019); Greene Naftali, New York (2018); Kunsthall Bergen, Bergen, Norway (2018); and REDCAT, Los Angeles (2012).
On 6 January, Tony Cokes will speak in De Balie about his work.