Rodney McMillian’s First Large-Scale European Show at Marta Herford Museum

Spread the love

The Marta Herford Museum of Art and Design in Herford, Germany, presents Rodney McMillian: The Land—Not Without a Politic, the first European large-scale presentation of work by CalArts alum Rodney McMillian (Art MFA 02) running through June 16.

The exhibition, which opened earlier this month, marks the first show of the year in the museum’s Gehry Galleries, and includes art dating back as early as 2001. McMillian’s selection of paintings, sculptures, installations, and videos reflect more than two decades of work that “examines history and art historical tropes to expose the social and political conditions that exists and persists.” 

Among the works is shaft (2021-22), a 24-meter tall structure created for the 2022 Whitney Biennial, located in the museum’s central Dome Gallery. Named after a 1971 film by director Gordon Parks, shaft is surrounded by several works: Untitled (flag IV) (2006–2008), Untitled (flag VI) (2012), and Untitled (flag) (2002). 

Also surrounding the installation is McMillian’s 2006 video Untitled (the Great Society), in which he portrays former US President Lyndon B. Johnson delivering a speech about a “new, groundbreaking social legislation.” By creating fictional legislation focused on improving educational and environmental policy, racial injustice, and ending poverty, the artist highlights the relevance of these issues in the present day. Another video in the exhibition is A Migration Tale (2014-2015), a depiction of a route traveled by millions of Black Americans in the first half of the 1900s, screening opposite his 2009 painting Untitled (4443 Prospect Ave.).

McMillian is a Los Angeles-based artist whose practice is rooted in connecting history and contemporary culture. His works can be found in the permanent collections of various museums  and galleries, including LACMA, UCLA Hammer Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles. McMillian is also the recipient of the 2016 Suzanne Deal Booth Art Prize.

Avatar photo
PUBLISHED BY Taya Zoormandan

As digital content and social media producer, Taya enjoys lifting up the stories and accomplishments of CalArts' students, alums, and faculty. She fancies herself a visual artist but is really more of an overzealous collector of art supplies.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



24700 is CalArts‘ online space dedicated to sharing news and work of the larger CalArts community from around the world. The news site captures stories of the exploration of new forms and expressions in the arts by our students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Subscribe Now

Get 24700 delivered straight to your inbox.


Your email has been sent