Atlanta’s burgeoning art scene welcomed a momentous debut solo exhibition, “Some Believe It To Be Conspiracy,” by the exceptional D.C.-bred conceptual artist Emmanuel Massillon. Hosted by UTA Artist Space Atlanta, the event showcased Massillon’s novel works, illuminating conversations around race, identity and culture within the African diaspora.
With an upcoming land art project in partnership with one of Atlanta’s local dirt bike communities, ATL Bike Life, UTA’s solo presentation added significant credibility to the city as an emerging player just prior to Atlanta Art Week’s festivities.
Massillon, representing the intricate connections and memories embedded within the African American and Haitian communities, creates evocative sculptures out of found objects such as bullet shells, dirt and wood.
His artworks delve into societal conspiracies impacting the Black community, exploring themes of mass incarceration, the drug epidemic, manipulation of Black culture, and flaws in judicial and medical systems. The exhibition displayed 13 sculptures, with “(Jab)Tuskegee Experiment” epitomizing the deep-rooted mistrust within the Black community towards the medical system.
Massillon and His Vision
Drawing parallels between his creative process and music sampling, Massillon remixes objects, images, and experiences into collage-based artworks, each becoming part of a larger conceptual “album.” The artist’s pieces, rich with social commentary and layered narratives, draw inspiration from jazz, R&B, and rap, preserving and portraying the essence of Black culture in America.
“I created this body of work to explore different conspiracies within the Black community, so we can think about them in new ways and try to find solutions to the systemic challenges we face,” Massillon said.
Art Lovers Flock to UTA for the Opening
The exhibition attracted a myriad of attendees, from art enthusiasts and collectors to philanthropists and music executives.
Meagan Montgomery, a D.C.-based art enthusiast, and collector, traveled to Atlanta just to take in the show. Atlanta-based collector, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Mack Wilbourn, was amongst the ranks.
Philanthropists John and Sara Shlesinger, known for their presence in ArtNews Top 200 collectors, also graced the event with their presence.
Music executive Amber Grimes added a little music industry starpower, stopping in with her colleagues.
A Vibrant Atmosphere
UTA’s Artist Space buzzed with energy, as VIPs gathered for JPMorgan’s private reception and artist talk.
The attendance soon swelled to over 150 people, creating a buzzing atmosphere that stretched the capacity of the venue in the most energetic way. DJ Flowers (@theflower.man) elevated the sonics of the evening, paying homage to Massillon’s D.C. roots by playing Uncalled 4 Band’s (UCB) classic, “Sexy Lady.”
There was definitely a vibe, as UTA and Massillon masterfully blended the worlds of art, music, and business.
A Lasting Impact
Bridgette Baldo, director of UTA Artist Space Atlanta, praised Massillon for revealing, “the interconnectedness of contemporary diasporic experiences.”
Tony Parker, the sales director, emphasized, “The connectivity between systems of oppression and youth rebellion speaks loudly through Emmanuel’s work and the energy tonight.”
Massillon’s exhibition, aligning with the upcoming edition of Atlanta Art Week, showcased his distinct narrative and innovative approach to conceptual art.
The successful opening night, marked by an intersection of diverse attendees, a vibrant atmosphere, and much of the work being placed, sets the tone for the promising journey of Massillon. At merely 25 years old, he is the emerging conceptual artist to follow.
Source: Washington Informer