Painter Nina Chanel Abney has never taken her work 3-D before, until now. In a collaboration with Google Pixel, her colorful abstract work has taken shape into a fairgroundemphasis on the “fair.”
“The concept a playground,” the artist explains of her interactive work, which includes a swing asking passerby, “Do you push yourself?'” “We were trying to get everybody back to their childhood where they are much more inquisitive and their minds are more open to ideas and doing amazing things.”
Abney’s Fair Grounds is hosted at 29Rooms in Los Angeles this weekend and next, and outside of the swing, visitors can play on other staples of a typical park playground but with some additional messaging. “There’s something so inspiring about the wild curiousity all children possess,” the room’s description reads. “Transport yourself back in time to your inquisitive childhood years as you enter this colorful, inclusive space. A sanctuary for sharing, development, and play, let this playground offer new ideas, dismantle your preconceived notions, and help you challenge the status quo.”
A Tic-Tac-Toe panel offers several options of genderless faces (blue and smiling, yellow with a raised eyebrow, pink with a mustache), torsos (boobs, hearts, hands), and bottoms (pants, skirts, a simple pair of legs) that can be spun into any combination. The ramp leading up to a slide poses the question: “Who are you inside and out?” with tempting symbols of money, cars, and airplanes alongside stabilizing stars and hearts. A four-way seesaw has a table at the center says “Are we all the same?” and includes a rainbow-colored triangle.
In addition to the 29Rooms partnership, Abney has also worked with Google on cases for their new Pixel phones.
Abney says these same themes of gender and identity are a running theme in her everyday work, which she describes as “large, figurative paintings mixed with abstractions.”
The recently engaged Abney currently has two solo exhibitions in New York City: Seized The Imagination at the Jack Shainman Gallery and Safe House at the Mary Boone Gallery. Both shows highlight her commentary on modern culture, including race, safety, sexuality, celebrity, and gun violence, among other contemporary and historic strongholds and run through December 20.
“People who are familiar with my work know that I’m always picking hot topics,” she told Vanity Fair in 2015. “Whatever I feel like painting, I just paint it. For me, nothing is off-limits.”
29Rooms is at The Row DTLA this weekend and next in Los Angeles.
Images via Getty