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Biography

Highly regarded as both a leading practitioner of conceptualism and an influential educator at the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles-based artist Charles Gaines (b. 1944, Charleston, SC) is celebrated for his works on paper and acrylic glass, photographs, drawings, musical compositions, and installations. He has had over 80 one-person shows and several hundred group exhibitions in the US and abroad, including the 2007 and 2015 Biennale di Venezia. In 2015, he presented a critically-acclaimed retrospective exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Gaines’ work is collected by major institutions including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. His compositions, created by translating revolutionary texts into musical notation, have been widely performed, most recently in Australia at the 2017 Melbourne Festival; at the Brooklyn Museum in 2016; and at the 56th Biennale di Venezia, Venice.

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails
Charles Gaines Manifestos 3, 2018
Charles Gaines Manifestos 3, (detail), 2018
Charles Gaines Manifestos 3, (detail), 2018
Charles Gaines Manifestos 3, 2018

Charles Gaines
Manifestos 3, 2018
video (black and white and color, sound), two graphite drawings on paper, one monitor, one pedestal, two speakers, hanging speaker shelves
overall dimensions variable

Charles Gaines Faces 1: Identity Politics, #10, Edward Said, 2018
Charles Gaines Faces 1: Identity Politics, #10, Edward Said, (detail), 2018
Charles Gaines Faces 1: Identity Politics, #10, Edward Said, 2018

Charles Gaines
Faces 1: Identity Politics, #10, Edward Said, 2018
acrylic sheet, acrylic paint, lacquer, wood
74 x 59 1/8 x 5 3/4 in. (188 x 150.2 x 14.6 cm)

Charles Gaines Faces 1: Identity Politics, #12, bell hooks, 2018
Charles Gaines Faces 1: Identity Politics, #12, bell hooks, (detail), 2018
Charles Gaines Faces 1: Identity Politics, #12, bell hooks, 2018

Charles Gaines
Faces 1: Identity Politics, #12, bell hooks, 2018
acrylic sheet, acrylic paint, lacquer, wood
74 x 59 1/8 x 5 3/4 in. (188 x 150.2 x 14.6 cm)

Charles Gaines Faces 1: Identity Politics, Drawing #7, Dolores Huerta, 2018

Charles Gaines
Faces 1: Identity Politics, Drawing #7, Dolores Huerta, 2018
ink on paper
20 7/8 x 16 7/8 in. (53 x 42.9 cm); frame: 23 1/2 x 19 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. (59.7 x 49.5 x 3.8 cm)

Charles Gaines Faces 1: Identity Politics, Drawing #2, Maria W Stewart, 2018

Charles Gaines
Faces 1: Identity Politics, Drawing #2, Maria W Stewart, 2018
ink on paper
20 7/8 x 16 7/8 in. (53 x 42.9 cm); frame: 23 1/2 x 19 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. (59.7 x 49.5 x 3.8 cm)

Sound texts, ARENA, Padiglione Centrale, Giardini, 56th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia, All the World’s Futures , Photo by Sara Sagui, Courtesy: la Biennale di Venezia.

Sound texts, ARENA, Padiglione Centrale, Giardini, 56th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia, All the World’s Futures , Photo by Sara Sagui, Courtesy: la Biennale di Venezia.

Charles Gaines Numbers and Trees, Central Park, Series I: Tree #4, Kent, 2015
Charles Gaines Numbers and Trees, Central Park, Series I: Tree #4, Kent, (detail), 2015
Charles Gaines Numbers and Trees, Central Park, Series I: Tree #4, Kent, 2015

Charles Gaines
Numbers and Trees, Central Park, Series I: Tree #4, Kent, 2015
Acrylic, ink jet print, plexiglass
2 panels each: 95 x 42 x 5.75 in. (243.8 x 106.7 x 14.6 cm) center panel 95 x 42 1/2 x 5.75 in. (243.8 x 108 x 14.6 cm) overall: 95 x 126 1/2 x 5.75 in. (243.8 x 321.3 x 14.6 cm)

Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974 – 1989, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY, 2014.

Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974 – 1989, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY, 2014.

Charles Gaines Librettos: Manuel de Falla/Stokely Carmichael, #19, 2016

Charles Gaines
Librettos: Manuel de Falla/Stokely Carmichael, #19, 2016
Printed ink stained paper and lilghtjet on acrylic
66 x 47 x 3 1/2 in. (167.6 x 119.4 x 8.9 cm)

Charles Gaines NIGHT/ CRIMES: Canis Major, 1995

Charles Gaines
NIGHT/ CRIMES: Canis Major, 1995
black & white photograph and silkscreened text
framed: 70 3/4 x 37 3/4 in. (179.7 x 95.9 cm)

Charles Gaines Manifestos 2, 2013
Charles Gaines Manifestos 2, 2013
Charles Gaines Manifestos 2, 2013

Charles Gaines
Manifestos 2, 2013
four channel video installation and four graphite drawings on Rising Barrier Paper drawings
dimensions variable

Charles Gaines Notes on Social Justice: That's Politics, (1908), 2013

Charles Gaines
Notes on Social Justice: That's Politics, (1908), 2013
ink on 3 sheets of Stathmore Bristol sheet
each: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm) frame: 25 x 54 1/2 in. (63.5 x 138.4 cm)

Charles Gaines Sound Text #1: All on Account of the Tariff, 2015
Charles Gaines Sound Text #1: All on Account of the Tariff, (detail), 2015
Charles Gaines Sound Text #1: All on Account of the Tariff, 2015

Charles Gaines
Sound Text #1: All on Account of the Tariff, 2015
graphite on printed paper, single channel video, monitor
2 drawings each: 35 x 21 in. (88.9 x 53.3 cm) frame: each: 44 x 28 x 1 1/2 in. (111.8 x 71.1 x 3.8 cm) monitor: 44 x 27 1/2 x 3 in. (111.8 x 69.9 x 7.6 cm) overall: 44 x 92 in. (111.8 x 233.7 cm)

Charles Gaines Librettos; Manuel de Falla/Stokely Carmichael, Set 9, 2015

Charles Gaines
Librettos; Manuel de Falla/Stokely Carmichael, Set 9, 2015
printed ink stained paper and lightjet print on acrylic
2 panels @ 36 x 27 x 3 1/2 in. (91.4 x 68.6 x 8.9 cm) 
overall: 36 x 56 x 3 1/2 in. (91.4 x 142.2 x 8.9 cm)

Charles Gaines Shadows VIII, Set 1, 1980

Charles Gaines
Shadows VIII, Set 1, 1980
photographs, ink on paper
2 photographs, each: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
2 drawings, each: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
frame: 25 1/8 x 72 1/4 x 1 5/8 in. (63.8 x 183.5 x 4.1 cm)

All Of This and Nothing, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, 2011.

All Of This and Nothing, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, 2011.

Charles Gaines Manifestos 3, 2018

Charles Gaines
Manifestos 3, 2018
video (black and white and color, sound), two graphite drawings on paper, one monitor, one pedestal, two speakers, hanging speaker shelves
overall dimensions variable

Charles Gaines Faces 1: Identity Politics, #10, Edward Said, 2018

Charles Gaines
Faces 1: Identity Politics, #10, Edward Said, 2018
acrylic sheet, acrylic paint, lacquer, wood
74 x 59 1/8 x 5 3/4 in. (188 x 150.2 x 14.6 cm)

Charles Gaines Faces 1: Identity Politics, #12, bell hooks, 2018

Charles Gaines
Faces 1: Identity Politics, #12, bell hooks, 2018
acrylic sheet, acrylic paint, lacquer, wood
74 x 59 1/8 x 5 3/4 in. (188 x 150.2 x 14.6 cm)

Charles Gaines Faces 1: Identity Politics, Drawing #7, Dolores Huerta, 2018

Charles Gaines
Faces 1: Identity Politics, Drawing #7, Dolores Huerta, 2018
ink on paper
20 7/8 x 16 7/8 in. (53 x 42.9 cm); frame: 23 1/2 x 19 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. (59.7 x 49.5 x 3.8 cm)

Charles Gaines Faces 1: Identity Politics, Drawing #2, Maria W Stewart, 2018

Charles Gaines
Faces 1: Identity Politics, Drawing #2, Maria W Stewart, 2018
ink on paper
20 7/8 x 16 7/8 in. (53 x 42.9 cm); frame: 23 1/2 x 19 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. (59.7 x 49.5 x 3.8 cm)

Sound texts, ARENA, Padiglione Centrale, Giardini, 56th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia, All the World’s Futures , Photo by Sara Sagui, Courtesy: la Biennale di Venezia.

Sound texts, ARENA, Padiglione Centrale, Giardini, 56th International Art Exhibition - la Biennale di Venezia, All the World’s Futures , Photo by Sara Sagui, Courtesy: la Biennale di Venezia.

Charles Gaines Numbers and Trees, Central Park, Series I: Tree #4, Kent, 2015

Charles Gaines
Numbers and Trees, Central Park, Series I: Tree #4, Kent, 2015
Acrylic, ink jet print, plexiglass
2 panels each: 95 x 42 x 5.75 in. (243.8 x 106.7 x 14.6 cm) center panel 95 x 42 1/2 x 5.75 in. (243.8 x 108 x 14.6 cm) overall: 95 x 126 1/2 x 5.75 in. (243.8 x 321.3 x 14.6 cm)

Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974 – 1989, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY, 2014.

Charles Gaines: Gridwork 1974 – 1989, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY, 2014.

Charles Gaines Librettos: Manuel de Falla/Stokely Carmichael, #19, 2016

Charles Gaines
Librettos: Manuel de Falla/Stokely Carmichael, #19, 2016
Printed ink stained paper and lilghtjet on acrylic
66 x 47 x 3 1/2 in. (167.6 x 119.4 x 8.9 cm)

Charles Gaines NIGHT/ CRIMES: Canis Major, 1995

Charles Gaines
NIGHT/ CRIMES: Canis Major, 1995
black & white photograph and silkscreened text
framed: 70 3/4 x 37 3/4 in. (179.7 x 95.9 cm)

Charles Gaines Manifestos 2, 2013

Charles Gaines
Manifestos 2, 2013
four channel video installation and four graphite drawings on Rising Barrier Paper drawings
dimensions variable

Charles Gaines Notes on Social Justice: That's Politics, (1908), 2013

Charles Gaines
Notes on Social Justice: That's Politics, (1908), 2013
ink on 3 sheets of Stathmore Bristol sheet
each: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm) frame: 25 x 54 1/2 in. (63.5 x 138.4 cm)

Charles Gaines Sound Text #1: All on Account of the Tariff, 2015

Charles Gaines
Sound Text #1: All on Account of the Tariff, 2015
graphite on printed paper, single channel video, monitor
2 drawings each: 35 x 21 in. (88.9 x 53.3 cm) frame: each: 44 x 28 x 1 1/2 in. (111.8 x 71.1 x 3.8 cm) monitor: 44 x 27 1/2 x 3 in. (111.8 x 69.9 x 7.6 cm) overall: 44 x 92 in. (111.8 x 233.7 cm)

Charles Gaines Librettos; Manuel de Falla/Stokely Carmichael, Set 9, 2015

Charles Gaines
Librettos; Manuel de Falla/Stokely Carmichael, Set 9, 2015
printed ink stained paper and lightjet print on acrylic
2 panels @ 36 x 27 x 3 1/2 in. (91.4 x 68.6 x 8.9 cm) 
overall: 36 x 56 x 3 1/2 in. (91.4 x 142.2 x 8.9 cm)

Charles Gaines Shadows VIII, Set 1, 1980

Charles Gaines
Shadows VIII, Set 1, 1980
photographs, ink on paper
2 photographs, each: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
2 drawings, each: 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm)
frame: 25 1/8 x 72 1/4 x 1 5/8 in. (63.8 x 183.5 x 4.1 cm)

All Of This and Nothing, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, 2011.

All Of This and Nothing, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, 2011.