Sculptor Kelly Akashi Joins Lisson, Departing Her Longtime LA Gallery

Kelly Akashi, an artist whose mysterious sculptures of hands and biological material have been seen widely in the US, has joined Lisson Gallery, a multinational operation that will now represent her alongside Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, of New York and Los Angeles.

Through the new representation, Akashi will leave the LA gallery that helped raise her profile, François Ghebaly, which has mounted four solo shows for her since 2016.

She enters Lisson’s stable as two US institutions mount solo exhibitions for her. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego recently opened its iteration of a traveling survey that also visited the San Jose Museum of Art and the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. The Henry Art Gallery in Seattle is also about to show new work by her.

Lisson, which has spaces in London, New York, Shanghai, Beijing, and Los Angeles, now seems to be expanding its reach in that last city, where it opened earlier this month. Akashi will be one of the few Los Angeles–based artists on a roster that also includes Marina Abramović, Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor, and others of note.

The gallery plans to bring her work to the second edition of Paris+, Art Basel’s fair in the French capital, next month.

Akashi, who was born in Los Angeles in 1983 and is still based there, has said that her work takes up the relationship between humanity and nature, often invoking scientific inquiries in the process. “My work is often about encouraging people to look at things in broader, less human-centric perspectives,” she told Art in America earlier this year. “It’s not about forgetting about humans entirely, but considering where humans fit in a much bigger system.”

She is best known for sculptures in which hands palm biota and fingers are twined with what appear to be branches. Yet her work has also taken other forms, including photography, the medium in which she was trained as an art student.

“We are honored to be working with Kelly, an artist whose work I’ve admired for some time,” said Alex Logsdail, CEO of Lisson, in a statement to ARTnews. “The way that she approaches her practice, with such rigor and sensitivity to material, craft and process, is entirely singular. She is a force to be reckoned with and a pillar of the LA art ecosystem. I am looking forward to the ways that the gallery can support her career and help to take her extraordinary vision to even greater heights.”