heaven is a muddy riverbed, artist Diedrick Brackens’ first survey on the West Coast and the first exhibition to look at his poetry in depth. The exhibition is on view at the Craft Contemporary in Los Angeles until May 8, 2022. The exhibition examines the use of the catfish motif in Brackens’ weavings and poetry. He is well known for his narrative and figurative use of tapestry weavings, but has been increasingly interested in poetry and language. Through the catfish allegory, Brackens radically speculates—he creates worlds deemed impossible with the political, carceral, and cultural structures in place in the United States.
Diedrick Brackens (he/him, b. 1989, Mexia, TX) is a Los Angeles-based artist whose creative practices explore allegory and narrative through the artist’s autobiography, broader themes of Black American and queer identity, and the history of the American South. Brackens received a BFA from the University of North Texas, Denton, and a MFA in textiles from California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions around the country including at the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX; New Museum, New York, NY; Sewanee University Art Gallery, TN; and Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, KS. He has been included in recent group exhibitions at MCA Chicago, IL; Made in L.A. 2018, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; and Jewish Contemporary Art Museum, San Francisco, CA. He is the recipient of many awards including a United States Artists Fellowship; Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Grant; and the American Craft Council Emerging Artist Award. Brackens is in the permanent collections of numerous institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Brooklyn Museum, NY; and Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX. The artist is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, and Various Small Fires, Los Angeles and Seoul.