University Art Museum
Well/Being: An Exhibition on Healing and Repair
August 4 - December 11, 2021
Artists, Installation Views, Public Programs, About

Diedrick Brackens

Weaving with an abstract figure holding up another with a brickwork patterned background.
Diedrick Brackens, fire makes some dragons, 2020, woven cotton and acrylic yarn, 85 x 74 inches, Hudgins Family Collection, New York. [image description: Weaving with an abstract figure holding up another with a brickwork patterned background.]

A standing figure raises a martyred figure in this work that is part of Diedrick Brackens’s ongoing response to the past and future of the HIV/AIDS crisis, which is expected to continue to disproportionately affect Black and Latino men. In the context of Well/Being, Brackens’s work reminds us that Covid-19 is not our first pandemic, and we can look to the past for strategies of survival and models of care. Similarly, the artist’s reflection on past and present is embedded in Brackens’s choice of medium: “Cotton is the primary material because it is a very easy material to manipulate, it takes color beautifully and its historical significance in the U.S. relative to enslavement, violence and subjugation has had lasting effects on Black bodies,” Brackens says. “I think of the process of handweaving cotton as a small way to pay tribute to those who came before me and worked with the material under very different circumstances.”

Diedrick Brackens

Born in 1989 in Mexia, Texas. Lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

Selected solo exhibitions include Diedrick Brackens: ark of bulrushes at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Scottsdale, Arizona (2021); Diedrick Brackens: darling divined at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas (2020-21), and at the New Museum in New York, New York (2019); Diedrick Brackens at Oakville Galleries at Centennial Square in Oakville, Ontario, Canada (2020-21); a slow reckoning at Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas (2017); No More Trauma at Steve Turner Gallery in Los Angeles, California (2016); and This is Real Life at Johansson Projects in Oakland, California (2015). Brackens is represented by Various Small Fires in Los Angeles, California and Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, New York.

Brackens’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, New York; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas; the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, California; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California; the New Orleans Museum of Art in New Orleans, Louisiana; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York; the Oakland Museum of California in Oakland, California; and the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. Brackens is a recipient of the United States Artists Fellowship (2021); Louise Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Grant (2019); Marciano Artadia Award (2019); American Craft Council Emerging Voices Award (2019); and the Studio Museum in Harlem’s Wein Prize (2018).

Brackens received a B.F.A. from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas in 2011 and an M.F.A. from California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California in 2014.