Kevin Beasley at Casey Kaplan, New York

A du-rag, typically wrapped around the head to condition hair overnight and establish natural waves, is stretched, distorted and hung on the wall in conversation with a necktie. The utility of the du-rag as hair product, or wave cap, is contrasted by disparate affiliations of thuggery and respectability, ultimately criminalizing its use. In 2001, the du-rag was banned by the NFL, compelling alternate designs of the skull cap by brands such as Nike, Under Armour, and formerly retired NFL player Marshawn Lynch’s apparel line “Beast Mode”. Lynch, a running back known for his agility and brute force, utilized his position in the public eye to destabilize stigmas often fed by the media in an attempt to regain control over his own narrative.

Interested in disruptions of establishment, Kevin Beasley seeks to re-establish the meaning of a symbol or image. To realize this in previous works, Beasley has inserted the viewer into a sculpture by playing back the sound of one’s own actions and movements slowed down, disrupted and displaced, or he has penetrated a prominent art institution with the loud and chilling a cappella voices of dead black rappers. For this exhibition, dual meanings and word plays are positioned within individual moments of manipulation, deconstruction and regeneration.

Sport Utility by Kevin Beasley
Casey Kaplan, New York
Through June 7