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The Shadows Took Shape tumblr is now online!

We’re excited to announce that a tumblr page accompanying the Fall/Winter 2013–14 Studio Museum exhibition The Shadows Took Shape launched today!

The Shadows Took Shape on tumblr will serve as a source for the Afrofuturist aesthetics featured in the exhibition and beyond. Stay tuned on tumblr for information about public programming, book club meetings and more! Each month we’ll have a guest blogger share their inspirations and favorite Afrofuturistic ephemera. (Note: You don’t have to have a tumblr account to view the tumblr page)

Who is Mimi Plange?

Curatorial Fellow Monique Long highlights Harlem-based designer Mimi Plange

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  • A vision board from Mimi Plange’s studio for her Spring 2012 collection. She was particularly inspired by the Herero women of Namibia.

  • A look from the Mimi Plange 2012 collection

  • Another interpretation of her Herero women inspiration

  • Samples from Plange’s collaboration with shoe designer Manolo Blahnik.

  • Plange’s approach to her 2013 Fall/Winter collection references her training as an architect.

  • A look from Plange's Fall/Winter 2013 collection

  • A look from Plange's Fall/Winter 2013 collection

  • In her studio, Plange surrounds herself with inspiration. The wall paper in her studio is a Victorian pattern.

  • Plange uses an Italian embroidery technique called trapunto to interpret scarification, a traditional body adornment practiced in regions of West Africa where the skin is etched into decorative patterns.

    Image: Head of a Figure.  Ife.  11th-12th century.  Terracotta.  6 ¼ inch high.

  • Plange’s signature trapunto incorporated into a leather shift.

Mimi Plange was born in Ghana and grew up in California. As someone who has always been interested in fashion, her mother and her uncle were her earliest influences. Her uncle, an architect, indoctrinated her with his love of art and music which, in turn, ignited her own creativity. Plange learned to play the flute, but understood early in life that she would design clothes. Before attending Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California, she obtained a BA in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley. Her favorite visual artists include Kehinde Wiley, Wangechi Mutu, and Nandipha Mntambo.

In Conversation

Jocelyn Cooper of AFROPUNK

  • Jocelyn Cooper

Jocelyn Cooper, a music industry veteran who has worked with such artists as Beyoncé and Sean Garrett, collaborates with Matthew Morgan (former music manager of Santigold), to run AFROPUNK. Showcasing black musicians making alternative, experimental and underground music and hosting numerous events throughout the year, the production company throws the acclaimed AFROPUNK FEST every summer in Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn, NY. On August 24 and 25, it held its ninth installment, featuring such celebrated acts as Grammy winners Living Colour, Chuck D of Public Enemy, and the seminal Detroit proto-punk band Death, as well as a diverse group of emerging performers such as Big Freedia, Mykki Blanco and The Skins.

The Long Road: Bill Traylor

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  • Bill Traylor
    Peg–Legged Man, c. 1939-42
    Pencil, poster paint on found cardboard
    11. 5 × 8 inches

  • Bill Traylor
    Untitled (Black Male dog with red eye and tongue), n.d.
    Pencil and poster paint on found cardboard
    16 × 16. 5 inches

  • Bill Traylor
    Untitled (Blue Man on Red Object), ca. 1939-1942
    Poster paint and pencil on cardboard
    11 3/4 × 7 3/4 inches
    Courtesy High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, purchase with funds from Mrs. Lindsey Hopkins, Jr., Edith G. and Philip A. Rhodes and the Members Guild, 1982.93

  • Bill Traylor
    Untitled (Exciting Event: House with Figures), c. 1939-1947
    Poster paint and pencil on cardboard
    13 1/2 × 13 7/8 inches
    Courtesy High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, T. Marshall Hahn Collection, 1997.114
    Photo by Mike Jensen

  • Bill Traylor
    Untitled (Figures, Construction), c. 1940–1942
    Poster paint and graphite on cardboard
    12 5/8 × 11 5/8 inches
    Courtesy Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, gift of Charles and Eugenia Shannon, 1982.4.16
    Photo by Lyle Peterzell

  • Bill Traylor
    Untitled (Man in Blue Pants), c. 1939-1947
    Poster paint, pencil, colored pencil, and charcoal on cardboard
    10 5/8 × 7 1/4 inches
    Courtesy High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia, T. Marshall Hahn Collection, 1997.115
    Photo by Mike Jensen

  • For comparison, a Jim Crow caricature.

  • Bill Traylor
    Untitled (Woman with Bird), c. 1940-1942
    Poster paint and graphite on cardboard
    13 1/4 × 7 3/8 inches
    Courtesy Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, gift of Charles and Eugenia Shannon, 1982.4.07
    Photo by Lyle Peterzell

The American Folk Art Museum’s exhibition on Bill Traylor, perhaps the most extensive to date and certainly the most in-depth consideration of his work in a New York museum, is the final justification of Traylor as a canonical self-taught artist.  It is also an emphatic validation for Charles Shannon, who “discovered” Traylor in 1939 and began archiving his work.  His persistent efforts to exhibit Traylor and garner appreciation for his work in cultural institutions are thoroughly discussed in the exhibition.  In this, the exhibition is nearly a double homage:  to the artist and to the preserver.

Stephen Burrows: Clothes that Danced

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  • Installation view of Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced
    Museum of the City of New York
    March 22, 2013—July 28, 2013

    Photo: Monique Long

  • Installation view of Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced
    Museum of the City of New York
    March 22, 2013—July 28, 2013
    White lettuce edged chiffon billowed over the exhibition.
    Photo: Monique Long

  • Wrap Top Pants Suit, 1970s
    Jasco matte jersey, lettuce edge
    Label: Stephen Burrows’ World
    Photo: Monique Long

  • Coat, 1977
    Merrow-edged wool melton
    Label: Stephen Burrows’ World

  • Tunic Dress, 1977
    Natural chamois banded in gilt metallic snakeskin
    Label: Stephen Burrows’ World
    Photo: Monique Long

  • Burrows was a master draper who made sexy, fluid, body conscious ensembles that permitted no underpinnings whatsoever.
    Photo: Monique Long

  • A Stephen Burrows sketch with his signature lettuce edge.

  • Pat Cleveland, the designer's muse

A career retrospective of the fashion designer Stephen Burrows opened at the Museum of the City of New York this spring and has been the most current highlight in the over 40-year career of a designer who has seen many highlights.

radicalpresenceny.org is now online!

radicalpresenceny.org, the website accompanying the forthcoming Studio Museum exhibition (co-presented with the Grey Art Gallery at NYU), Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art has launched today!

Draped Down

Curatorial Fellow Monique Long on Fashion in Harlem and Art

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  • Curatorial Fellow Monique Long

  • Elan Ferguson, Studio Museum Family Programs Coordinator, at our Summer 2013 opening
    Photo: Scott Rudd

  • Style conscious visitors reflecting on the work featured in Robert Pruitt: Women.
    Photo: Scott Rudd

  • Colorful prints were ubiquitous at our Summer 2013 opening.
    Photo: Scott Rudd

  • Menswear is in the midst of a renaissance at the moment. Three gentlemen enjoy the work of Robert Pruitt in the main galleries.
    Photo: Scott Rudd

  • Artist Jacolby Satterwhite
    Photo: Scott Rudd

  • Singer Solange Knowles snaps a photo in VideoStudio: Long Takes
    Photo: Scott Rudd

  • White is a summer staple.
    Photo: Scott Rudd

  • Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of Cool (installation view)
    The Studio Museum in Harlem, 2008–09
    Photo: Adam Reich

In the glossary that accompanied Zora Neale Hurston’s short story “Story in Harlem Slang,” (1942) there are five different terms listed for someone fashionable. Invariably, iconic photographs of Harlemites include those dressed in blindingly fashionable clothes. There’s a rich history and tradition in Harlem that defines the neighborhood not only as the cornerstone of African-American culture but style as well. Visitors and residents alike assimilate to the expectation that you must express yourself fashionably here, demonstrated beautifully by the attendees at our summer opening in July and the monumental drawings by Rob Pruitt of fashionable women that hang in the main gallery.

This Summer, I...

Summer 2013 Curatorial Intern Martha Scott Burton reflects on her time at Studio Museum

  • Summer 2013 Curatorial Intern Martha Scott Burton
    Photo: Scott Rudd

One of Studio Museum’s many partners is the ARTS Intern program, developed by the nonprofit organization Studio in a School, through which college undergraduate students from diverse cultural backgrounds gain work experience at some of New York’s most exciting and influential institutions.  It is through this program that I have had the privilege of working as a Curatorial Intern over the past 9 weeks at the Studio Museum—certainly one of my most rewarding and educational experiences to date.
Growing up in a small Midwestern town (one of the many Springfields in Tornado Alley) with the closest major art institution over 4 hours away, I thought art history majors necessarily became teachers. But after moving to the city, where museums, galleries and auction houses are abundant, and after working at the Studio Museum, whose mission is pursued with singular energy, a whole new world opened up, almost at a flashpoint. 

Summer Internship Reflections

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  • Dyeemah Simmons, Summer 2013 Education ARTSintern (through Studio in a School)

  • Asha Whale, Summer 2013 Education Intern

  • Justin Allen, Summer 2013 Public Programs and Community Engagement Intern

On August 14, Erin Hylton, School Programs Coordinator, sat down with three college interns at the end of their summer internships in the programming departments of Community Engagement and Public Programs and Education, to reflect and share their experience at the Studio Museum with each other.

Justin Allen, the summer 2013 intern in The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Public Programs and Community Engagement department, is a rising senior and poetry major at the New School's Eugene Lang College. Harlemite Dyeemah Simmons studies Studio Art and English at Oberlin College, and this summer, she was an Education Department intern through Studio in a School's ARTSIntern program. Asha Whale, a Brooklyn native, came to intern at came to intern at the Studio Museum through the Jeanette K. Watson Fellowship; she is a History major at the City College of New York.

Uptown Fridays

DJ Shaun J. Wright and Host Ricky Jones Interpret Things in Themselves

The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Uptown Fridays is a series of summer parties that place its attendees in direct dialogue with the artwork in the Museum. Each program this summer is named after a current exhibition. The first party of the season, thrown on July 26, was titled Things in Themselves, after the 2012–13 artists in residence exhibition featuring the work of Steffani Jemison, Jennifer Packer and Cullen Washington Jr.

Ricky Jones (left) and DJ Shaun J. Wright (right). Photo: Edwin Ramoran