Greene Naftali gallery in New York now represents Tony Cokes, the video artist known for his text-heavy films that combine original and appropriated imagery, often with an attention to identity and power structures.
Cokes’s work resists what he calls the “representational regimes of image and sound” in mainstream filmmaking, often by quoting from sources as diverse as Malcolm X speeches and Public Enemy songs. In style, content, and aesthetics, his videos recalls the work of a number of artists working today, from Young Hae Chang Heavy Industries’ text animations to Arthur Jafa’s film essays about race. A release from the gallery also notes that Seth Price was once one of Cokes’s students.
Formerly a member of the collective X-PRZ, Cokes is largely unknown to New York audiences, who have rarely had a chance to see his videos. The Providence, Rhode Island–based artist, who also teaches at Brown University, has not had a solo exhibition in Manhattan since 1993, at the Alternative Museum. In 2012, Cokes’s work was the subject of a 30-year survey at Redcat in Los Angeles. His work with X-PRZ was shown in the Whitney Museum’s landmark “Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art” survey.