Kenneth Tam: Details

September 20 – December 6, 2019

The passage from childhood to adulthood is marked by key events that are at once mundane, formative, and unique—summer camp, the prom, high school graduation, to name a few. Through video and sculpture, Kenneth Tam considers how these milestones form the backdrop against which the socialization of men is staged. Tam’s work questions masculinity, gendered forms of identity formation, and male intimacy. Directing the participants in his videos to respond to both him and one another, Tam conceives of scenarios that nod to group activities meant to foster connection and intimacy. These scenes draw inspiration from team-building tasks and camp sing-alongs, and incorporate dancing, role play and simple speaking exercises. Tam’s videos are playful and funny while opening onto significant and weighty questions. How is gender learned? How is intimacy between men determined and regulated? How does popular culture market and sell a specific form of masculinity?

Kenneth Tam: Details is organized by MacKenzie Stevens, director, with Clare Donnelly, gallery manager.

This exhibition is supported in part by Suzanne Deal Booth and a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant.


Kenneth Tam (b. 1982, Queens, New York) received his BFA from The Cooper Union (2004) and his MFA from the University of Southern California (2010). He has held solo exhibitions at the Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles (2019); Minneapolis Institute of Art, MN (2018); MIT List Center for Visual Arts, Cambridge (2017); and Night Gallery, Los Angeles (2013). He has participated in group shows at the SculptureCenter, NY (2019); 47 Canal, NY (2018); Skibum MacArthur, Los Angeles (2018); MMAG Foundation, Amman (2018); Hollybush Gardens, London (2017); Vachon Gallery, Seattle (2017); Lawndale Art Center, Houston (2017); and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2016). Tam is in residence at Pioneer Works, Brooklyn in summer 2019 and participated in residencies including Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace, NY; Artist’s Lab, 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica; and the Core Residency Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. He is the recipient of a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant, California Community Foundation Fellowship, and Art Matters Foundation Grant. Tam is currently Guest Faculty in Sculpture at Sarah Lawrence College and will be a Lecturer at Princeton University in the spring.


Kenneth Tam: Precarious Work and Masculinities

Essay by Kimberly Yu

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