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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 dark room 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, are 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.

Studio Visit

Lauren Halsey, 2014–15 AIR

  • Courtesy the artist

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

As I stepped into Lauren Halsey’s studio on the third floor of the Studio Museum, I was immediately struck by the artist’s impressive—and large—ambitions. An eight-by-twelve-foot square of sheetrock takes up the vast majority of Halsey’s studio floor, leaving only a small walkway around its perimeter. The sheetrock is split into two-by-two-foot squares, which feature ancient Egyptian iconography mixed with carvings of Harlem and Los Angeles. Images of sarcophagi and the pyramids stand stand-by-side with phone numbers, corporate signage and portraits of LA citizens—symbols of the urban present elevated alongside mythological expressions of the past.

Questions with Artists

Tiffany Barber talks to Manuel Mathieu

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  • Manuel Mathieu

    Spooky in Marketplace (performance view), 2013

    Courtesy the artist

    Photo: Josué Azor

  • Manuel Mathieu

    Another one, 2014

    Neon mounted on Plexiglas

    18 × 24 in.

    Courtesy the artist

  • Manuel Mathieu

    Mattress, 2013

    Mixed media

    54 × 42 in.

    Courtesy the artist

  • Manuel Mathieu

    Dans le Bain/In the bath, 2014

    Mixed media

    7 × 7 ft.

    Courtesy the artist

    Photo: Guy L’heureux

  • Manuel Mathieu

    Home (performance view), 2013

    Courtesy the artist

    Photo: Josué Azor

  • Manuel Mathieu

    Spooky North (performance view), 2013

    Courtesy the artist

    Photo: Josué Azor

  • Manuel Mathieu

    Camille (film still), 2015

    Courtesy the artist

  • Manuel Mathieu

    Camille (film still), 2015

    Courtesy the artist

“Repetition” and “recirculation” are words typically associated with mid-twentieth century representational practices. From silkscreen prints to text-based neon works, artists such as Andy Warhol, Richard Hamilton, Bruce Nauman, Tracey Emin and Glenn Ligon have contested the rise of consumerism in popular media and culture. Now, the sites in which images are made and circulated have multiplied, as well as the means by which we invest images with values to correspond to our identities. What are the stakes of representation and artmaking in this ‘new media’ landscape?

Studio Visit

Ayana V. Jackson

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  • Does the Brown Paper Bag Test ... ... Really Exist?/ Will my Father be Proud? (from the "Archival Impulse" series), 2013

     

    Courtesy the artist and Gallery MOMO

  • Don't Hide the Blade/ How do you think their women dress? (from the "Archival Impulse" series), 2013

     

    Courtesy the artist and Gallery MOMO

  • Death (from the "Poverty Pornography" series), 2011

     

    Courtesy the artist and Gallery MOMO

  • Dis Ease (from the "Poverty Pornography" series), 2011

     

    Courtesy the artist and Gallery MOMO

  • Dictatorship (from the "Poverty Pornography" series), 2012

     

    Courtesy the artist and Gallery MOMO

  • On Fire (video still), 2014

     

    Courtesy Dean Hutton in collaboration with Dorky Park

  • The Dorky Park On Fire Cast, 2014

     

    Courtesy Dean Hutton in collaboration with Dorky Park

  • The Dorky Park On Fire Cast, 2014

     

    Courtesy Dean Hutton in collaboration with Dorky Park

Per the gracious introduction of Thomas Lax, I had the opportunity to meet and visit with Ayana V. Jackson some time ago. We first met in Berlin, where Ayana graciously guided me around the city. Jackson, a US American and graduate of Spelman College, splits her time between Johannesburg, New York and Paris, where we followed up a few weeks later to discuss her work and artistic practice. Her photography and filmmaking, while simultaneously alluring and shocking, serve a higher conceptual function: a bitingly intelligent elucidation of the power of the image, the scars of history and the internalized architectures of difference built thereof.  Confronting what she terms the “original sin of images,” Jackson manipulates her own body as subject, creating a running critique of socialized perceptions of race, gender and class and their intersections. 

An ode to RadicalPresenceNY.org

by Curatorial Intern Ciaran Finlayson

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  • Senga Nengudi
    R.S.V.P, 1976–77
    Performed September 10, 2013 at the Grey Art Gallery, NYU
    Photos: © 2013 Nisa Ojalvo

  • Zachary Fabri
    Shiny Shoes, 2013
    Performed November 17, 2013 at The Studio Museum in Harlem on the occasion of Perfoma 13
    Images courtesy Performa
    Photos: © Paula Court

  • Benjamin Patterson
    A Penny for Your Thoughts, 2012
    Performed on The High Line on the occasion of Performa 13
    November 16, 2013
    Images courtesy Performa
    Photos: Chani Bockwinkel

Check out Curatorial Intern's, Ciaran Finlayson, post about radicalpresenceny.org, a website designed designed by William B. Marshall in collaboration with Jamillah James, Communications Coordinator at The Studio Museum in Harlem, with assistance from Monique Long, Curatorial Fellow chronicling black contemporary performance art over on our friends at the Walker Art Center's website.

Ellison at 100 Livestream

Watch it here!

Ralph Ellison lived in Harlem from the late 1930s until his death on April 16, 1994. He was a prominent figure in the neighborhood’s overlapping literary and artistic communities. Ellison at 100: Reading Invisible Man honors this legacy through a landmark collaboration between two leading Harlem-based cultural institutions. The participating artists in the program have been specially curated by the Studio Museum and the Schomburg Center teams, following in both institutions’ tradition of exploring Harlem as a site for artistic and literary creation. 

Ellison at 100: Reading Invisible Man is organized by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and The Studio Museum in Harlem with the generous support of the Ralph and Fanny Ellison Charitable Trust.