fbpx Thomas J Price Witness | The Studio Museum in Harlem

Thomas J Price

Oct 2, 2021Oct 1, 2022

Thomas J Price: Witness marks the British sculptor’s first US solo institutional presentation. Price’s nine-foot bronze figure, The Distance Within (2021), is sited within Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park and depicts a young Black man looking down at his cell phone. The form of the piece pays homage to a work titled Network that the artist originally presented in the UK in 2013. Price’s large-scale figural sculptures are inspired by real people, often those who live and work in his hometown of South London, where the artist was born and raised, and resides today.  

Price’s relationship to Harlem comes via his lived experience as a Black man looking “across the pond” from his neighborhood of Brixton to where he describes as his home’s “counterpoint.” Both historically Black neighborhoods with rich social and cultural legacies, the respective landscapes of Harlem and Brixton remain in dialogue. Thus, for Price, Harlem holds a special significance as a place the artist considers a home away from home.  

With Witness, the artist continues his exploration of blackness and Black masculinity at monumental scales. In The Distance Within, Price asks us to consider what is projected onto Black bodies as they move in the world and in what ways they are made monolithic via broader archetypes and stereotypes, as well as how Black bodies in the ordinary everyday are subject to extraordinary surveillance and spectatorship. 

The grand size of the sculpture celebrates a familiar everyday form rarely monumentalized within a public setting. Simultaneously, the scale works to take up space, to occupy, to hold presence, to bear witness. In the artist’s words, “I want to interrogate [notions of] presence, movement, and freedom. Who do these spaces belong to? And what bodies are provided more or less autonomy to move with liberty through public [space]?” 

Thomas J Price: Witness is presented as part of The Studio Museum in Harlem’s series of collaborative initiatives, inHarlem, which are being undertaken while the Museum is preparing for construction of its new building designed by Adjaye Associates with Cooper Robertson.

Thomas J Price: Witness is organized by Legacy Russell, former Associate Curator, Exhibitions (now Executive Director and Chief Curator, The Kitchen) with Yelena Keller, Curatorial Assistant, Exhibitions, and is an inHarlem project presented by The Studio Museum in Harlem in partnership with Marcus Garvey Park Alliance and NYC Parks. Thomas J Price: Witness is made possible thanks to the Open Society Foundations. Support for inHarlem provided by Citi and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.


To access the artist’s audio guide and the Families in Conversation prompts please dial 888.411.1250​.

Watch a new film on Thomas J Price: Witness. The short film documents Price's presentation in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park, featuring The Distance Within (2021). 


Thomas J Price: Witness (Testigo)

Thomas J Price: Witness (Testigo) marca la primera presentación institucional en EE. UU. del artista británico. En la estatua de bronce de más de dos metros de altura, The Distance Within (La distancia interior) (2021), Price pide al espectador que considere cómo los cuerpos Negros están sometidos a una vigilancia insólita en la vida cotidiana. El gran tamaño de la escultura celebra una forma conocida que rara vez ha sido monumentalizada en un entorno público. Según el artista: «Quiero cuestionar las ideas de presencia, movimiento y libertad. ¿A quién pertenecen estos espacios? ¿A qué cuerpos se les da más o menos autonomía para moverse libremente en espacios públicos?»  

Para acceder a la audioguía del artista y los temas de Conversaciones en Familia, llame al 888.411.1250 o visítenos en studiomuseum.org/witness. En la página web del Studio Museum se puede encontrar una transcripción en inglés y español.  

La exposición Thomas J Price: Witness (Testigo) está organizada por Legacy Russell, previamente curadora adjunta de exposiciones (actualmente directora ejecutiva y curadora jefe en The Kitchen), junto con Yelena Keller, asistente curatorial de exposiciones, y es un proyecto inHarlem presentado por The Studio Museum en Harlem en colaboración con el Marcus Garvey Park y los parques de la Ciudad de Nueva York. 


Thomas J Price’s multidisciplinary practice confronts preconceived attitudes toward representation, perception, and identity. Price’s large-scale sculptures depict imagined subjects whose features are an amalgamation of sources. Individuals from Price's lived experience as well as stereotypes represented in the media are mixed with references to ancient, classical, and neoclassical sculptures. These works serve as psychological portraits of the viewer by revealing socially learned attitudes and understandings as they project identities on to the depicted characters. Using methods of presentation, material, scale, and detail, Price aims to challenge viewers’ expectations and assumptions.

Born in London in 1981, Price studied at Chelsea College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. Price has held solo exhibitions at institutions including The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada; The National Portrait Gallery, London, UK; Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK; MAC, Birmingham, UK; Royal College of Art, London, UK; Harewood House, Leeds, UK; and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, UK. Price’s work is held in collections such as The Donum Estate, Sonoma, CA; Government Art Collection, London, UK; The Wedge Collection (Canada), Derwent London (UK), Murderme (UK), and the Rennie Collection (Canada). Price was the recipient of the Arts Council England Helen Chadwick Fellowship in 2009, and has been commissioned to create a public artwork in Hackney in 2022 commemorating the Windrush generation.

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