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Art Basel Conversation

The Evolution of Museum Missions

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  • Left to Right: Margarita Aguilar, Executive Director of El Museo del Barrio, New York; Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem; Madeleine Grynsztejn, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Beatrix Ruf, Director of Kunsthalle Zürich; András Szántó, Author and Arts Consultant

    Photo: Katherine Finerty

  • Left to Right: Margarita Aguilar, Executive Director of El Museo del Barrio, New York; Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem; Madeleine Grynsztejn, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
    
Photo: Katherine Finerty

  • A view of the audience
    
Photo: Katherine Finerty

  • Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem Photo: Katherine Finerty

“How do we keep museums relevant and essential to our cultural landscape and life?” This was the fundamental question driving the Art Basel Conversation “The Evolution of Museum Mission” between four contemporary art museum directors on Friday December 2nd in Miami. Author and Arts Consultant András Szántó moderated the four female directors (including Studio Museum Director Thelma Golden), stating that there has been more change in the art world and museum institutions in the past 10 years than in the past 100 years. This notion is especially applicable for contemporary art museums: given their topical focus, they encompass perhaps the most sizable and accelerated evolutions in terms of not only art representation, but also mission.

Isaac Julien

Against the Tides of Globalization

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  • Isaac Julien with photograph Glass House, Prism (2010) from Ten Thousand Waves. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

  • Isaac Julien
    WESTERN UNION: Small Boats (installation view), 2007
    Courtesy Metro Pictures, NY

  • Isaac Julien
    Ten Thousand Waves (installation view), 2010
    Courtesy the Bass Museum, Miami
    Photograph: Jonathan Franklin

  • Isaac Julien
    Ten Thousand Waves (details), 2010
    Left: Yishan Island, Right: Dreaming and Green Screen Goddess
    Courtesy the artist

Acclaimed British filmmaker and installation artist Isaac Julien turns primarily to visually elaborate and technologically sophisticated installations of the moving image to express his urgent fascination with global human movement. Columbia University’s recent World Leaders Forum teamed up with the Mellon Visiting Artist & Thinkers Program to host a talk by Isaac Julien with Carol Becker, Dean of Faculty of the School of the Arts. Dean Becker highlighted this unique choice of featuring an artist for the World Leaders Forum – proclaiming that geopolitically-minded and creative innovators, such as Julien, are particularly significant cultural leaders today.

Three Trips Around the Block

Thelma Golden in Conversation with Rico Gatson at Exit Art

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  • Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and artist, Rico Gatson at Exit Art. Photo: Kyla McMillan

  • Rico Gatson
    Nape of the Neck, Small of the Back, 2006 Museum Purchase 07.11.16.

  • Rico Gatson
    Nigeria Power, 2009
    Courtesy the artist

  • Rico Gatson
    The Group, 2011
    Courtesy the artist

  • The audience awaits the arrival of Thelma Golden and Rico Gatson in the intimate Exit Art theater. Photo: Kyla McMillan

Rico Gatson sees the potential for art in everything: he allows his everyday experiences to inspire his work. Recently at Exit Art, Gatson and Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, treated an audience to an engaging conversation about Gatson, his artwork, and his influences. Three Trips Around the Block, now on view at Exit Art, is a survey of 15 years of Gatson’s work.

Who, What, Wear

Where Style Meets Substance

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  • Samuel Fosso
    Self Portrait, 1976
    Museum purchase with funds provided by the Acquisition Committee 03.10.23

  • Barkley Hendricks
    Lawdy Mama, 1969
    Gift of Stuart Liebman, in memory of Joseph B. Liebman 83.25

Who, What, Wear: Selections from the Permanent Collection, opening this Thursday at the Studio Museum in Harlem, frames style as substance. This exhibition aims to question how what one wears ultimately fashions the body as a symbolic vessel of meaning. Whether this meaning be social, cultural, or political, the clothing we put on our bodies speaks loudly – and if desired, proudly.

Aesthetic of the Cool

Dr. Robert Farris Thompson in conversation with Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims

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  • Robert Farris Thompson's Aesthetic of the Cool: Afro Atlantic Art and Music (2011)

  • Agbeke Asoko, Dancing with Crown of Eyinle. 6 July 1965, Ejileté, Nigeria.

  • Shrine Head, Ife, Nigeria (12th-14th century) Courtesy of The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

  • Mambo dancers, Palladium Ballroom, 1 January 1954, New York NY.
    Photo: Yael Joel / Life Magazine / Time & Life pictures / Getty images

  • Keith Haring
    Untitled, 1983
    © The Estate of Keith Haring, Deutsche Bank Collection

“If you don’t know by now, don’t mess with it,” Dr. Robert Farris Thompson stated at the start of his program at the Studio Museum two weeks ago –followed quickly by a spirited promise that he was, indeed, going to “mess with it.”

“It” being, of course, the topic of the evening: Afro-Atlantic art. Last Thursday the Studio Museum galleries were filled to the brim with guests, eager to hear from two of the most prestigious art historians of our time. On the occasion of the release of Dr. Thompson's Aesthetic of the Cool: Afro-Atlantic Art and Music, the author sat down with Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims, Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, and former Studio Museum President, to discuss his concept of the “cool” in Afro-Atlantic culture.

Thank You Target Free Sunday's Families and Friends!

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As October comes to a close and we say goodbye to the wonderful works in our summer exhibition season, we at the Studio Museum would like to say THANK YOU to all the wonderful friends and families who joined us for Target Free Sunday this season!

Whether making insightful comments about the works on view or sharing your creativity with us by donating your beautiful masterpieces to the Museum, we sincerely thank you for sharing your Sundays with us. For our fall/winter exhibition season, we will continue to have activities for all ages to enjoy including tours of our new exhibitions, hands-on activities such as greeting card making for the holidays, and a few other surprises!

30 Americans at the Corcoran Gallery

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  • Jean-Michel Basquiat
    Bird On Money, 1981
    Courtesy the Corcoran Gallery

  • Nick Cave
    Soundsuit, 2008
    Courtesy the Corcoran Gallery

  • Mickalene Thomas
    Baby I Am Ready Now, 2007
    Courtesy the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation

  • Kara Walker
    Camptown Ladies, 1998
    Courtesy the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation

  • Kehinde Wiley
    Equestrian Portrait of the Count Duke Olivares, 2005
    Courtesy the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation

Every once in a while, we are gifted with an exhibition that reminds us just how spectacular black art can be—30 Americans is that exhibition. Now on display at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C., 30 Americans features 76 works from the Rubell Family Collection by 31 black artists—many of whom sparked my interest in art.
 
Imagine three decades of artwork created by some of America’s most influential artists; the show was grand to say the least. It’s hard to pick highlights from a show with so many fantastic works, but visitors flocked to works by Kehinde Wiley, Nick Cave, Jean Michel Basquiat and Mickalene Thomas.

Join Us For Target Free Sundays!

For the past two months, Sunday has easily been my favorite day of the week. Not burdened by the confines of a classroom desk or having to run the miscellaneous errands that mark adulthood, Sunday has become a welcomed reprieve from ordinary day-to-day life, allowing me to spend my day doing what I love the best: engaging people in hands- on-art activities and conversations about art.

The Artist's Voice: Spiral Icon Emma Amos

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  • Emma Amos
    Work Suit, 1994
    Courtesy the artist

    Based on a Lucien Freud self portrait, Amos paints her head on Freud’s nude body as a reaction against the privileges of white male artists.

  • Emma Amos
    Yo Man Ray Yo, 2000
    Courtesy the artist

    In response to Man Ray’s Noire et Blanche (1926), Yo Man Ray Yo (2000) depicts two women –both beautiful in their own respects—who gaze at each other and affirm that women are real, not objects.

Esteemed artist Emma Amos and Assistant Curator, Lauren Haynes were the latest to sit down for The Artist’s Voice, a conversation series at the Studio Museum on Thursday, September 29th.

If you are a fan of Emma Amos, then you know that the she is anything but ordinary. The artist, like her work, is vibrant, poignant, and remarkably expressive.

The Romare Bearden Commemorative Stamps Unveiling

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  • Courtesy the United States Postal Service

  • E.T. Williams, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Romare Bearden Foundation and Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum Courtesy of the Harvey B. Gantt Center

  • Romare Bearden The Block, 1971 Courtesy of the Harvey B. Gantt Center

  • Audience members at the Romare Bearden commemorative stamps unveiling singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing" Courtesy of the Harvey B. Gantt Center

Last Wednesday the Schomburg Center was packed with energy as a multitude of guests eagerly anticipated the unveiling of four stamps honoring Romare Bearden. On the centennial of the artist’s birthday, cultural institutions all over New York City are commemorating Bearden and his powerful creative legacy. Currently on view at the Studio Museum is the majestic black and white Conjur Woman, 1964, created while Bearden was part of the historic Spiral group dedicated to the political and gallery representation of black artists.