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Gala 2018 Launches 50th Anniversary Year

NEW YORK, NY, October 19, 2018—On Thursday, October 18, The Studio Museum in Harlem welcomed over 800 artists, cultural leaders, civic leaders, business leaders, and philanthropists to its annual Gala, which this year inaugurated the Museum’s historic 50th anniversary celebration.

Co-chaired by Studio Museum Trustees Jacqueline L. Bradley, Kathryn C. Chenault, Carol Sutton Lewis, and Dr. Amelia Ogunlesi, the event at the Park Avenue Armory featured remarks by Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator, and Raymond J. McGuire, Chairman of the Board. First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray presented the Studio Museum with a Mayoral Proclamation to commemorate the Museum’s historic fifty year legacy. Studio Museum Trustees Holly Peterson and Ann G. Tenenbaum served as the event’s Founders’ Circle Co-Chairs.

The formal program also included the presentation of the thirteenth annual Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize to the Los Angeles-based artist Diedrick Brackens, confirming the meteoric rise of a boundary-defying young artist who has emerged within only the past seven years. The Prize was once again supported by George Wein.

Among the notable guests were Sir David Adjaye OBE, architect of the new home of The Studio Museum in Harlem; former Studio Museum Directors, Kinshasha Holman Conwill, current Deputy Director of the National Museum of African American Art and Culture and Edward S. Spriggs, Founding Director Emeritus, The Hammonds House Museum; artists Derrick Adams, Lyle Ashton Harris, Sanford Biggers, Brice Marden, Julie Mehretu, Lorna Simpson, Teresita Fernández, Titus Kaphar, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye; philanthropists Sherry Bronfman, Agnes Gund, Debra Lee, Brooke G. Neidich, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Nick Rohatyn, Mera and Don Rubell, and Elaine P. Wynn; New York City Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl.

Shattering previous records, the Gala raised $3.9 million in support of the Studio Museum’s operating costs, including key initiatives during the 50th anniversary such as the collaborative, community-enriching inHarlem exhibitions and programs.

In his remarks, Raymond McGuire said, “This evening, we celebrate our past in order to enable our future. As we embark upon our next half-century, the world has its eyes on us as never before. We are starting our next 50 years in the same spirit of hope, determination, faith in art, and faith in community that our founders imparted to us.”

Introducing Diedrick Brackens and presenting him with the Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, Thelma Golden said, “The past winners of this award—many of whom are here with us tonight—include Simone Leigh, Derrick Adams, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Leonardo Drew, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Leslie Hewitt, Jennie C. Jones, Samuel Levi Jones, Glenn Ligon, Nadine Robinson, Gary Simmons and Lorna Simpson. Tonight we add a new name to that illustrious list—Diedrick Brackens.”

Lead Founders’ Circle donors included Jacqueline Bradley and Clarence Otis, Kathryn C. and Kenneth I. Chenault, Katherine Farley and Jerry Speyer, Gucci, Susan and John B. Hess, Joan Ganz Cooney and Holly Peterson Foundation, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Carol Sutton Lewis and William M. Lewis, Jr., Christy and John Mack, The Margaret and Daniel Loeb – Third Point Foundation, Crystal McCrary and Raymond J. McGuire, Amelia and Bayo Ogunlesi, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee, Lise and Jeffrey Wilks, and Elaine Wynn/Elaine P. Wynn and Family Foundation.

About Diedrick Brackens

Diedrick Brackens (born 1989, Mexia, Texas) explores the intersections of identity and sociopolitical issues in the United States through an innovative and deeply thoughtful approach to textile art. His intricate tapestries, based on algorithms derived from the histories of African, American, and European weaving, highlight both the complexities of African-American identity and the cultural significance of the loom throughout the world. Brackens received his BFA from the University of North Texas in 2011 and his MFA in textiles from California College of the Arts in 2014. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita; Steve Turner Gallery, Los Angeles; and Johansson Projects, Oakland. His work has been included in group exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; SOMArts, San Francisco; the Berkeley Art Museum; the 3rd Ghetto Biennale, Port-au-Prince; and the Museum of Geometric Art, Dallas. He has previously been honored with the Barclay Simpson Award from California College of the Arts and an award from the Clare Hart DeGolyer Memorial Fund of the Dallas Museum of Art.

About The Studio Museum in Harlem

Founded in 1968 by a diverse group of artists, community activists and philanthropists, The Studio Museum in Harlem is internationally known for its catalytic role in promoting the work of artists of African descent. As it celebrates its 50th anniversary, the Studio Museum is preparing to construct a new home at its longtime location on Manhattan’s West 125th Street, designed by internationally renowned architect David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates in collaboration with Cooper Robertson. The first building created expressly for the institution’s program, the new building will enable the Studio Museum to better serve a growing and diverse audience, provide additional educational opportunities for people of all ages, expand its program of world-renowned exhibitions, effectively display its singular collection and strengthen its trailblazing Artist-in-Residence program. While the Studio Museum is currently closed in preparation for construction, the Museum has opened Studio Museum 127, a temporary programming space located at 429 West 127th Street, and is working to deepen its roots in the community through inHarlem, a dynamic set of collaborative programs in our neighborhood. The Museum’s groundbreaking exhibitions, thought-provoking conversations, and engaging art-making workshops continue at a variety of partner and satellite locations in Harlem.

Full Press Release

Gala 2018 Launches 50th Anniversary Year