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Our Journey to One Stop Down

  • Zainab Floyd

    Untitled, 2015

    Courtesy the artist

As a high school student, I have had the opportunity to learn about photography at the Studio Museum through a program called Expanding the Walls. It’s an eight-month photography-based residency that immerses high school students, from all over New York City, in the world of photography. This program is specifically unique because we receive cameras and have opportunities to interact with contemporary artists and the James VanDerZee archive, and exhibit our work in the Studio Museum’s galleries.

Reflections from an Artist-in-Residence Program Alumnus

Paul Mpagi Sepuya

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  • Paul Mpagi Sepuya
    Studio, 2014
    Courtesy the artist

  • Paul Mpagi Sepuya
    Darren, 2011
    Courtesy the artist

  • Paul Mpagi Sepuya
    Looking at Alex, 2014
    Courtesy the artist

As an intern in the Curatorial department at The Studio Museum in Harlem, I have the opportunity to explore how the Museum functions behind the scenes. At work, it is exciting to observe how our curators harness the power that exhibitions and their surrounding discourse possess in order to activate art as a social and political tool. Selecting artists and framing their work in relation to broader thematic concerns is one of a curator’s primary responsibilities, and I am especially interested in the long-term relationships between our curators and the artists. The Artist-in-Residence program at the Studio Museum, founded in 1968, provides an excellent example of the close working relationships between curators and creators. One of my projects at the Museum is to manage a database of information concerning AIR alumni.

ETW Blogs

Finding Themes and Experimenting with Materials

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  • The students watch as Samuel Levi Jones walks through the paper-pulping process

    Photo: Chris Ogando

  • Samuel Levi Jones demonstrating the paper-pulping process

    Photo: Chris Ogando

  • Samuel Levi Jones forming pulp into flat sheets

    Photo: Chris Ogando

  • ETW 2008 Alum Ivan Forde leading a cyanotype workshop

    Photo: Chris Ogando

  • Forde showing students how to make cyanotypes

    Photo: Chris Ogando

  • Students proudly displaying their finished cyanotypes

    Photo: Chris Ogando

As the sixteen high school students continue on their eight-month, photography-based journey at the Museum through the Expanding the Walls program, they take time to look through and thoroughly discuss work by artists such as Lorna Simpson, Malick Sidibe, Gordon Parks and others to help shed light on the multitude of topics and themes photography can cover. The hope is that in studying these artists, the students gain an introduction to themes that they might later choose to focus their projects on. As emerging artists with newfound creative voices, the students struggle with capturing their experiences, perspectives and comments on their respective themes. Many found themselves stuck when trying to analyze and build upon the themes they have chosen, feeling that their approaches had already been employed in a multitude of projects by other artists.

Unbinding Contemporary Book Art

Samuel Levi Jones & More

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  • Samuel Levi Jones

    Unbound (detail), 2015

    Mixed media

    94 × 343 in.

    Courtesy the artist

  • David Ortiz

    #232 Me as a Kid at my Old Address, 2014

    Courtesy ArtNow NY

  • Nicholas Galanin

    What Have We Become? Vol. 5, 2006

    Courtesy the artist

  • Nicholas Galanin

    What Have We Become? Vol. 3, 2006

    Courtesy the artist

  • Robert The

    Art Crisis, 2003

    Courtesy the artist

  • Wim Botha

    Untitled (III), 2011

    Courtesy Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg

    Photo: Mario Todeschini

    © Wim Botha

  • Wim Botha

    Untitled (Witness series I), 2011

    Courtesy Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg

    Photo: Mario Todeschini

    © Wim Botha

  • Paul Octavious

    from the “Book Collection” series

    via pauloctavious.com

For his first solo museum exhibition, Samuel Levi Jones: Unbound, Samuel Levi Jones transforms the Studio Museum's Project Space with a site-specific installation made of dismantled law books. When deconstructed into their basic components—covers and spines—the reference books’ implicit authority symbolically disintegrates. Stitched together in wall-to-wall grids, the fragmented books hang like paintings, emphasizing form and materiality. Once the books are stripped of their identity, their function and value are obscured, even negated. By manipulating law books, Jones engages with recent criticism of the American justice system.

Arts & Minds Celebrates Five Years at the Studio Museum

with Exhibition at Word Up Community Bookshop

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  • Arts & Minds Artwork, Word Up Community Bookshop

    Photo: K.P. Minta

  • Arts & Minds Exhibition Opening at Word Up Community Bookshop

    Photo: K.P. Minta

  • Arts & Minds Teaching Artists with participants

    Photo: Nellie Escalante

  • An Arts & Minds participant sharing his work

    Photo: Nellie Escalante

  • Carolyn Halpin-Healy, Executive Director of Arts & Minds

    Photo: Nellie Escalante

Arts & Minds is celebrating five years at The Studio Museum in Harlem with an exhibition at Word Up Community Bookshop, a non-profit, volunteer-run bookstore and art space in Washington Heights. On Sunday, March 8th, participants, friends and family members gathered for the opening reception.

Every two weeks, people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias and their caregivers gather at the Studio Museum to discuss the art on view and to respond creatively in the studio. This ongoing experience is the catalyst for the art now on view at Word Up. Co-curated by Executive Director, Carolyn Halpin-Healy and Arts & Minds intern Jessica Kemper, the works in the exhibition range from collage and chalk drawings, to watercolor and acrylic painting.

ETW Blogs

Just the beginning

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  • Isaac Diggs walking the students through the intricacies of exposures

  • The students editing their contact sheets in search of a strong image

  • The students’ darkroom orientation

Not very often will a beginner photographer get an intensive class at a prestigious art school, but that is exactly what happened for the 2015 class of Expanding the Walls. Many of the participating students came to the program without any previous knowledge of photography. Slightly overwhelmed, some of the students worried about how they would capture images with a high tech camera. While a few students had some experience in photography, they still lacked an in-depth understanding of the camera’s workings. So to ease the students into using their cameras and the world of photography, Isaac Diggs, photography professor at Schools of Visual Arts, lent a helping hand. Throughout the month of February, ETW class sessions took place at the SVA campus, where Diggs led an intensive class covering the technicalities of the camera as well as the bases of black and white darkroom photography.

Studio Visit

Sadie Barnette, 2014–15 AIR

  • Courtesy the artist

In the third of a series of three blog posts, Curatorial Intern Mallory Cohen writes about her studio visits with each of the current artists in residence. Read Mallory's previous posts here and here.

Studio Visit

Eric Mack, 2014–15 AIR

  • Courtesy the artist

In the second of a series of three blog posts, Curatorial Intern Mallory Cohen writes about her studio visits with each of the current artists in residence. Read Mallory's first post here.

Eric Mack’s works shuttle between humor and a heady abstract expressionism, and his art offers neither legibility nor instant gratification. The payoff that sustained engagement with his work yields, however, is more than enough reward.

Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair

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  • Givenchy by Alexander McQueen

    Evening Ensemble, Fall/Winter 1997–1998

    Courtesy Milwaukee Art Museum

    © International Art & Artists

  • Tilmann Grawe

    Cocktail Dress, Fall/Winter 2003–2004

    Courtesy Milwaukee Art Museum

    © International Art & Artists

It is always interesting to see the unplanned through lines that appear between exhibitions at different institutions. Just as we at the Studio Museum prepare to close Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum has opened another exhibition centered around the role of the Johnson Publishing Company in defining concepts of beauty, style and empowerment for African Americans.