Mario Moore at CAAM

Mario Moore, What's Cooler Than Being Cool?, 2019

The California African American Museum's "Mario Moore / Enshrined: Presence + Preservation" is a small survey of works by the Detroit-based realist painter. Moore paints Black subjects in an Old Master mode, and his technical skills manage to bring that familiar trope to a new level. A 2019 self-portrait in the snow is baroque in the best sense of the word, creating magic from the matter-of-fact-ness of life and oil pigment.

A Student's Dream, conceived while Moore was recovering from surgery, is a subversion of Thomas Eakins' The Agnew Clinic from the other side of the Tuskegee study. Other paintings on view (plus several large-scale drawings) span informal portraits (often on copper), political allegories, eye-of-the-artist perspectives, and Old Master burlesques. It is often the scenes of everyday life that are the strangest. I Continue to Dream, a painting of the lunch counter run by the artist's grandmother, is a haunting meditation on memory and the power of images.

Curated by Taylor Renee Aldridge, "Mario Moore / Enshrined" opened last year at Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum. It runs at CAAM through Oct. 2, 2022.

Mario Moore, A Student's Dream, 2017
Mario Moore, Black and Blue, 2016
Mario Moore, Come Study, 2012
Mario Moore, I Continue to Dream, 2020
Mario Moore, Light on Brother (Jalen), 2019
Mario Moore, Not Your Landscape, 2017


Anonymous said…
Moore makes me think of all the talent out there, some of it below the radar, some of it obscure, some of it yet to be recognized. The nearby uncompleted Lucas Museum would be an ideal place for a permanent display of some of his works.

As for a MOCA or Broad? Or the Hammer? Moore's art doesn't come with enough of a cachet of "Huh?" or a certificate of hipster/avant-garde to qualify for such museums.

Meanwhile, LACMA is looking for a suitable type of window drapery. Louver or fabric?
Anonymous said…
I was going to write he has great great potential, strike that....he is there. There are these artists you remember for a long time because they are aware of craft and art history. He does not compromise which I like and he has a lot to say on his own. It is still too early to say for sure,as long as he does not bend to commercialism and stays true to the premise of fine art, he is looking like another updated version of Charles White and Kerry James Marshall.