American artist Margaret Kilgallen (1967–2001) died at the young age of thirty-three, just as her work was gaining recognition and prominence. She is known primarily for her association with the Bay Area Mission School—a loosely associated group of artists from the early 1990s—and for her inclusion in the exhibition Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture (2004–6). The AAM’s presentation will be Kilgallen’s first posthumous museum exhibition, and the largest presentation of her work to date since her 2005 show, In the Sweet Bye & Bye, at REDCAT, Los Angeles.
Using her exhibition history as a chronological tool to guide viewers through the space, that’s where the beauty is., will examine Kilgallen’s roots in the longstanding histories of printmaking, American and Non-Western folk history and folklore, and feminist strategies of representation.
Kilgallen’s aesthetic reminds us that it is not only within readily accessible narratives or the commercial mainstream where we can find inspiration and empowerment. Rather, she also celebrates the handmade, making heroes and heroines of those who live and work in the margins and challenging traditional gender roles and hierarchies. Her work advocates for a quality of time and emphasizes the impact that can come from hard work and individual expression.