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EJ Hill’s "A Monumental Offering of Potential Energy"

  • EJ Hill

    A Monumental Offering of Potential Energy ​(installation view), 2016

    Installation and durational performance, 492 × 108 × 85 in.
    Courtesy the artist
    Photo: Adam Reich

At The Studio Museum in Harlem, performance artist EJ Hill lays on a low rectangular platform. Behind him is a model roller coaster adorned with purple neon lights. Hill is a 2015–16 artist in residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem, and this piece, A Monumental Offering of Potential Energy, is part of Tenses, the exhibition that culminates the three artists' eleven-month residency.

Studio Visit

Jibade-Khalil Huffman

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  • Jibade-Khalil Huffman

    Untitled (Facade), 2015

    Archival inkjet print, 30 × 26 1/4 in. 

    Photo: Zuna Maza

  • Jibade-Khalil Huffman
    Untitled (Landscape), 2016
    Archival inkjet print, 30 × 26 1/4 in.
    Courtesy the artist

Jibade-Khalil Huffman’s practice depends on ideas, and the medium is his way of bringing these ideas to life, not the other way around. As a poet and artist, his work exists in between the visual and textual, and utilizes poetry, video, photography, installation, performance and painting. His initial months at The Studio in Harlem allowed him to return to painting, take new photographs and work on a two-channel, seventeen-minute video piece, filming some scenes in Harlem. When asked to narrow down his practice, Huffman told me he would reluctantly choose writing, photography and video. Luckily at the Studio Museum he faces no such circumstances, freely tackling lingering ideas on narrative and audience.

Studio Visit

EJ Hill

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  • EJ Hill's Studio

    Photo: Zuna Maza

  • EJ Hill's Studio

    Photo: Zuna Maza

  • EJ Hill's Studio

    Photo: Zuna Maza

Coming into his residency at the Studio Museum, EJ Hill was well known for his performance practice. In pieces like The Fence Mechanisms (2014), O Captor My Captor (2014), Complicit and Tacit (2014), and Untitled (2012), Hill uses his body as a means to assert his agency, vulnerability and dissent, within a society that would view it as a threat. However, alongside his performance pieces, Hill has been creating quieter, more solitary work—drawings, paintings, photographs and music. While exploring possible performance opportunities at the Studio Museum, Hill is expanding into these quieter creative avenues, fearlessly expanding his practice.

Studio Visit

Jordan Casteel

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  • Jordan Casteel

    Patrick and Omari, 2015

    Photo: Zuna Maza

  • Jordan Casteel

    Patrick and Omari Drawing, 2015

    Photo: Zuna Maza

As a self-professed impatient painter, Jordan Casteel is keen to put oil to canvas. Walking into her sunlit section within the artist-in-residence studios at The Studio Museum in Harlem, her large canvases and drawings were mounted upon the walls in various stages of progress, I was surprised to learn she felt behind schedule. Since receiving her MFA from Yale in 2014, Casteel has focused mainly on the black male figure. This subject matter continued on through exhibitions at Sargent’s Daughters (2014 and 2015), and now it reaches the Studio Museum. A few months since beginning her residency and moving to Harlem, Casteel continues to challenge the depiction of the black male figure through her large expressive portraits, but Harlem has already left its impression.

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.

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.

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.