b. Moore explores Black identity from the lens of a Des Moines native

DES MOINES, IOWA (May 30, 2024) –  Self-taught multi-disciplinary and independent Black contemporary artist, b. Robert Moore, is set to unveil a new series of work that delves into the Black experience at the Des Moines Art Center for his solo exhibition, opening Saturday, June 22 and on view through October 20, 2024.

Moore’s artwork presents themes of Black life, its hidden figures, and heroes. By challenging conventional archetypes associated with the city and beyond, Moore’s exhibition titled “In Loving Memory” offers a profound exploration of family and identity through the unique perspective of an Iowa native. “In Loving Memory” spans three distinct rooms, each designed to evoke different facets of the Black experience; from the nostalgia of a grandmother’s living room to the hidden figures that shaped the complex identities of Black individuals, to a memoriam of fallen kin, particularly from rural America.

“This body of work dissects how the American experience has shaped the structure of the Black family and home. By exploring themes of life and death, presence and absence, the exhibit honors those who have shaped our identities, both past and present,” said artist b. Robert Moore. “This exhibit aims to immortalize our loved ones through physical forms, stories, and legacies. Here, mourning is not just about loss, but also about celebrating life and honoring the sacrifices of those we have lost.”

Evolving from last year’s solo show at ThinkSpace in Los Angeles, this exhibition highlights the vulnerability and joy of the Black community, while paying homage to Black veterans and their sacrifices. Known for his thought-provoking compositions that confront issues of social justice and Black identity, Moore references art history and material culture, including flags and gravestones, to create works that pull at the heartstrings of his audience. In his debut solo show, the artist used a voicemail recording of a mother grappling with the reality of never seeing her son again to bring a harsh reality to the forefront. “In Loving Memory” is meant to provoke happier, more joyful feelings from audiences and will feature heartwarming voicemails that tie in the themes of the exhibition.

“Iowa Artists 2024: b. Robert Moore” is a continuation of Moore’s legacy and his contribution to matters of cultural significance. Visually and emotionally direct, Moore frequently draws on his own biography for inspiration, likewise on the experiences and identities of friends and family members. For Moore, the political is intensely personal, and the personal political.

“Iowa Artists 2024: b. Robert Moore,” organized by Senior Curator Laura Burkhalter in partnership with artist b. Robert Moore, presents paintings based on Moore’s personal experiences and familial relationships, a field of solemn granite headstones, and military-style flags, offering an ambitious and thought-provoking iteration of the Art Center’s acclaimed Iowa Artist series, designed to inspire conversation and community gathering.

“b. Robert Moore’s ability to intertwine personal narrative with broader social themes creates a compelling dialogue that resonates deeply with viewers. “In Loving Memory” not only highlights the rich cultural heritage of the Black community in Des Moines but also challenges and redefines conventional archetypes. We’re honored to be debuting these new works in his hometown,” said Burkhalter from the Des Moines Art Center.

“The very best projects happen in the perfect place at the perfect time: such is true of b. Robert Moore’s show at the Des Moines Art Center, his first solo exhibition at a museum, says Kelly Baum, the Art Center’s John and Mary Pappajohn Director. “The partnership between a local artist and a local institution always catalyzes an especially exciting energy. The timing of Moore’s exhibition is also auspicious. Besides feeding a desire to learn more about an artist whose star is quickly rising, this exhibition also speaks to issues of great relevance to the public—race, identity, love, violence, and Black resilience—appropriately coinciding with Juneteenth celebrations.”

“Iowa Artists 2024: b. Robert Moore” is supported by the Harriet S. and J. Locke Macomber Art Center Fund, Laurie Wolf and Jeff Freude, and the Buberl-Knautz Family.

For more information about the exhibition, or to request an interview with the artist, contact Senior Director of Communications and Marketing Amy Day at aday@desmoinesartcenter.org.

Media Contacts:
b. Robert Moore
Press Contact: DISRPT AGENCY
Email: art@disrptpr.com

Des Moines Art Center
Press Contact: Amy Day
Email: aday@desmoinesartcenter.org

Image: b. Robert Moore (American, born 1983), “Mama’s Boys,” 2024

About b. Robert Moore
b. Robert Moore is a self-taught, multi-disciplinary artist known for his profound exploration of the Black experience through various mediums. His work challenges societal norms and fosters meaningful connections and discussions about identity and heritage. For more information about b. Robert Moore and his artwork, visit Moore’s website.

About the Des Moines Art Center
The Des Moines Art Center is a vibrant, AAM-accredited (American Association of Museums) institution located in the capital city of Iowa that welcomes over 300,000 visitors annually from across the country and around the globe. Its historic campus consists of three buildings designed by major architects of the 20th century—Eliel Saarinen, I. M. Pei, and Richard Meier—incorporated into the natural landscape of Greenwood Park. The Art Center is home to one of the strongest collections of 20th- and 21st-century art in the region, and it hosts a series of ground-breaking exhibitions and lectures each year featuring artists known regionally, nationally, and internationally. The experimental art for which the Art Center cares is reflected in its creative offerings, including a celebrated education program that prioritizes access and collaboration, an art school with studio classes for all ages, and the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park, situated on 4.4 acres in downtown Des Moines. The Art Center is committed to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, which are incorporated into every facet of its mission and identity.