Contemporary Arts Center
Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center
for Contemporary Art
44 E. 6th Street,
Cincinnati, OH 45202

513 345 8400

Kahlil Robert Irving: Ground Water from screen Falls [(Collaged media) + Midwest] Street

The street as a site of becoming and resistance

On view through
30 December
2025

Exhibition Highlights

Exhibition Details

For the lobby carpet installation, Kahlil Robert Irving integrates imagery of asphalt with pop culture references, news headlines, and digital ephemera. In the carpet’s design, a crumpled beer can lies abandoned next to a pair of shackles and a newspaper announcing Trump’s impeachment. A littered plastic bag can be found adjacent to a pair of Nike sneakers on fire and a sign that reads “#Capitalism.” By scattering an assemblage of debris and other found images against the asphalt, Irving documents the realities of urban life for global majority populations and establishes the street as an emancipatory space. The artist asks viewers to reconsider their daily engagement with social media, civic community life, and the urban landscape. Positioned in conversation with Zaha Hadid’s Urban Carpet—an architectural intervention wherein the sidewalk enters the CAC lobby and continues to form its northern wall—Irving’s installation offers a powerful meditation on Blackness and the urban street as a site of becoming and resistance.

About the Artist

Kahlil Robert Irving was born in 1992 in San Diego and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He received a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute (2015) and an MFA from Washington University, St. Louis (2017). His work has been featured in solo and two-person exhibitions at the the South Dallas Cultural Center, Dallas (2017); the Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT (2018); the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (2020); and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2021). He has also had works included in numerous group exhibitions, including "Former Glory," RISD Museum, Providence, RI (2018); "Every Step in the Right Direction," the Singapore Biennial, China; "Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950-2019," Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (both 2019); "Ceramics in the Expanded Field," MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; "2021 Triennial: Soft Water Hard Stone," New Museum, New York (both 2021); and "Working Thought," the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh (2022). He currently lives and works in Brooklyn and St. Louis.

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