The first museum survey of Houston-based multidisciplinary artist Jamal Cyrus (b. 1973), titled Jamal Cyrus: The End of My Beginning, opens its third installment at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson on Saturday, October 29. The exhibition was organized for MMA by Ryan N. Dennis, Chief Curator and Artistic Director of the Center for Art & Public Exchange (CAPE). The exhibition originated at the Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, and was organized by Steven Matijcio, Director and Chief Curator, Blaffer Art Museum, before continuing on to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Spanning nearly two decades, the exhibition provides an unparalleled opportunity to trace the trajectory of Cyrus’s practice, following his work as a founding member of the pioneering collective Otabenga Jones & Associates to the present.
The End of My Beginning includes approximately 50 works in assemblage, textiles, sculpture, and installation by Cyrus, including mixed media works using an eclectic array of materials such as paper, graphite, papyrus, and denim, produced over the past sixteen years. Cyrus’s expansive practice explores the evolution of African American identity within Black political movements and the African diaspora. In doing so, Cyrus’s vexing contemporary artifacts commemorate and question iconic figures and the understanding of historical events. The ensuing objects, installations, and actions cobble a patchwork lineage where the cumulative historical acts of silencing through edits, redactions, assassinations, and omissions become hauntingly and urgently present, forging a chronicle of histories lost and found.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated color catalogue designed and co-published by Inventory Press, featuring essays by the exhibition’s curator, Steven Matijcio; Grace Deveney, Associate Curator of Photography, Art Institute of Chicago; writer and editor Ciarán Finlayson; Jamillah James, Senior Curator, ICA LA; writer and independent curator Ana Tuazon; and an interview with the artist conducted by Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, Director and Curator, University Museum at Texas Southern University, Houston.
November 3, 2022