Jul 08, 2023

Assistant Professor David Antonio Cruz Stages First Solo Exhibition in Philadelphia

This fall, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania will present When the Children Come Home, the first major solo exhibition from Assistant Professor of Visual Art David Antonio Cruz in his hometown.

Born in Philadelphia, the exhibition marks a homecoming for Cruz. Comprising more than 20 paintings and drawings, including three new works as well as a site-specific project space replete with artist-designed wallpaper, furnishings, and other decorative elements, When the Children Come Home celebrates community and chosen family through portraiture and performance.

“David Antonio’s practice encourages audiences to question existing structures and celebrate a more inclusive future—concepts which align with ICA’s own commitment to being an incubator for experimentation, a hub for cultural change, and an affirming space for everyone,” said Zoë Ryan, the Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director at ICA via press release. “ICA is proud to collaborate with (guest curator) Monique Long on this major solo exhibition dedicated to shining a spotlight on an artist whose work not only reflects his deep roots within Philly, the city in which he was born, but also encourages us to explore and question universal concepts of home and family.”

The exhibition will also feature an experimental, interactive, bilingual performance by Cruz later this fall that clashes high art with queer slang, playing with language, music, and double entendres particular to Latinx and Black underground gay culture. The performance includes new sculptures, objects, and original music composed by Cruz’s frequent collaborator, Daniel De Jesús.

“This exhibition is an expression of love and joy,” noted Long via press release. David’s portraits honor and celebrate chosen families, making visible queer worldbuilding and people of color in art historical canons that historically excluded them.”

When the Children Come Home will be on view August 18 through December 17, 2023, with an artist reception and public celebration on September 8, 2023.

Read more about the exhibition here.

David Antonio Cruz is an interdisciplinary artist working in painting, drawing, and performance. His work explores the intersectionality of queerness and race, centering Black, Brown, and queer bodies to explore personal and collective history and culture. Incorporating literature, language, and sculptural elements, his work engages portraiture as a place of permanence and as a form of resistance to normative conventions. Cruz received his BFA in Painting from Pratt Institute and his MFA from Yale University. He also attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and completed the AIM Program at the Bronx Museum. Recent residencies and fellowships include the LMCC Workspace Residency, Project for Empty Space Artist in Residence Program, BRIC Workspace Residency, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Award, Franklin Furnace, and the Mass Cultural Council's Artist Fellowship. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally, including at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Brooklyn Museum, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, ICA Boston, The Block Museum of Art, McNay Art Museum, and El Museo del Barrio.

David Antonio Cruz, nothatsummernight,theywashaway, theywashitallaway,away,theyalwaysgoaway, (48 × 60 inches, Oil, wax pencil and latex on wood panel, 2021)

David Antonio Cruz, Eachdaywecarvedeachmoment,leavingb ehindusatrailofdaysinafieldofdebris_longtrailsofdebris,withnothingtocleanitupbutlove, (72 × 60 inches, Oil and acrylic on wood panel with aluminum backing, 2022)

David Antonio Cruz, today,tomorrow,andyesterday;maybewe’llfindawayholdingthesun, (48 × 110 inches, Oil and latex on wood, 2019)

David Antonio Cruz, Bang,bang,bang,alloverthefloor, (20 × 20 inches, Oil on wood, 2016)

David Antonio Cruz