“When I’m making a painting I don’t want to feel like I’m writing a thesis,” said William Villalongo on a warm July afternoon in his Brooklyn studio. As curatorial interns, we were thrilled to begin our week not-so-silently shadowing Assistant Curator Naima Keith on a studio visit. Villalongo, a Cooper Union trained artist and Yale lecturer in the painting and print department, surprised us with the variety of work in his studio. Though diverse, his pieces were united by an imaginative rather than a strict, formulaic process.
Gordon Parks: 100 Years at the International Center of Photography
In June, I visited the International Center of Photography to view Gordon Parks: 100 Years, an ambitious hundred-year retrospective of Gordon Parks’s photography. The exhibition celebrates the centennial birth of the multitalented photographer and filmmaker. I arrived from the museum’s south side. After a few minutes of searching, I was guided to the gallery’s north side to a massive window display. Behind the display was a 20-by 13-foot mural of Parks’s Emerging Man. Three monitors were placed in front of the image, each shifting through various Parks photographs.
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30 Americans is the perfect primer for both budding and established aficionados of contemporary African-American art. Based on the Rubell Family Collection's 2011 show by the same name, the expanded second edition of 30 Americans actually includes work by 31 artists. The misnomer speaks to the ever expanding core of influential black artists in the U.S. The artists included range greatly in subject, time period, and medium from William Pope.L to Mickalene Thomas to Carrie Mae Weems to Rashid Johnson. Insightful essays tracing common threads of influence and exploring the subtle transition from artists of African descent to artists of America, as well as changing definitions and receptions of black art, bind the works together and provide a framework for meaningful understanding. Its breadth, generously sized full-color plates, and affordable price make 30 Americans a must have.
Available for purchase in the Museum Store.
"Communicating with Shadows" Series
In "Communicating with Shadows," New York-based artist Derrick Adams selects iconic photographic documentations of performances by post-war artists including Bruce Nauman, Adrian Piper, Senga Nengudi and David Hammons. He projects these images, adding slight animation and a soundtrack composed by Ramon Silva, then improvises in front of them, casting his own shadow over the original images. Adams uses mass-produced objects as props and costumes to create what he calls “an attempt to channel the original performances' essence and intention.” Animating the original live action, Adams transforms still photographs into the conceptual building blocks and interactive sets of his performances.
Performed on May 4, 2012 at The Studio Museum in Harlem.
Like all normal people, I hate public speaking. No one can avoid the performance anxiety that comes with rows of faces watching you squirm as you try to sell them something clever. But why be an artist then, since artists are in many ways always speaking to a public about what is dearest to their hearts? Of course the “voice” of the artist and ordinary speech act are different things. The former is developed and exercised mostly in the private quarters of a studio, while the latter is a universal attempt at getting at signification. Both of these voices, or rather any voice, according to Lacanian theory (I hope you are happy Liz!), is “everything in the signifier that does not partake in the effect of signification.” This is so because it is only through the structure of both lexicon and syntax that intention of signification registers. This obviously means that the voice does not partake in this structure, thus it is a remainder.
Interview with Benjamin Barson
On Friday, June 22nd, Katrina De Wees, Education Assistant at The Studio Museum in Harlem, sat down with Benjamin Barson, Production Manager at Ginny’s Supper Club Red Rooster Harlem, to discuss his most recent project, in collaboration with Arturo O’Farrill’s Grammy Award Winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and El Museo Del Barrio.
Katrina De Wees: Can you start with an introduction of yourself?
In Hands On: Photography – Preserving Legacy students participated in a project that documented their family and communities over the course of a week. In this two-part workshop, photographer and educator Jamel Shabazz shared his work, discussed his art-making philosophy, and offered practical and technical direction for taking photos. Shabazz guided students in an invaluable project that preserves the legacy of what is important to them through photography.
On Wednesday, June 13, guests were invited to the opening of the Summer 2012 Exhibitions and Projects: Caribbean: Crossroads of the World; Primary Sources: 2011-12 Artists in Residence; Illuminations: Expanding the Walls 2012; and Harlem Postcards Summer 2012. The old meets the new in this refreshing group of exhibitions with works spanning from the 1790s through 2012, including new works from this year's artists in residence: Njideka Akunyili, Meleko Mokgosi and Xaviera Simmons.
We are officially gearing up for our Summer 2012 Exhibitions and Projects featuring Caribbean: Crossroads of the World, Primary Sources: Artists in Residence 2011-12, Illuminations: Expanding the Walls 2012, and Harlem Postcards Summer 2012 opening Thursday, June 14!