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Summer/Fall 2017 Exhibitions

June 26, 2017—The Studio Museum in Harlem today announced its schedule through the end of 2017, offering a diverse group of exhibitions and projects that look to the Museum’s—and the neighborhood’s—past, present, and future. Opening on July 20, Their Own Harlems, Impressions: Expanding the Walls 2017, and Harlem Postcards Summer 2017 will offer a broad range of perspectives on the neighborhood by artists ranging from Jacob Lawrence—whose birth centennial is September 7, 2017—to the young participants in the Museum’s Expanding the Walls teen photography program. Their Own Harlems, taking its name from a phrase Lawrence used to refer to African-American communities around the country, contextualizes key Lawrence works from the Studio Museum’s collection with those by his contemporaries and subsequent generations, all exploring the urban experience. These exhibitions will join four highly regarded exhibitions and projects currently on view at the Museum—Regarding the Figure, Rico Gatson: Icons 2007–2017, Jamel Shabazz: Crossing 125th, and Smokehouse, 1968–1970—as well as innovative presentations outside the Museum created as part of inHarlem, a new set of initiatives that bring art exhibitions, projects, and programs directly into the Harlem community. The site-specific sculpture commissions that inaugurated inHarlem in August 2016—by Kevin Beasley, Simone Leigh, Kori Newkirk, and Rudy Shepherd—remain accessible in four Historic Harlem Parks through July 25. A new exhibition, Derrick Adams: Patrick Kelly, The Journey, is currently enlivening the New York Public Library’s Countee Cullen Library. Further afield, the collaborative exhibition 20/20: The Studio Museum in Harlem and Carnegie Museum of Art brings a dialogue between the two museums’ collections to Pittsburgh.

In August, the Museum will invite the public behind the scenes to Photo Studio, the last phase of a major project to capture high-quality digital images of its unparalleled permanent collection. And in September, the Studio Museum’s galleries will simultaneously host two of the Museum’s most anticipated and beloved exhibition initiatives: Fictions, the latest in the Museum’s signature “F-shows” of emerging artists, and We Go as They: Artists in Residence 2016–17, featuring the work of Autumn Knight, Julia Phillips, and Andy Robert. Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, said, “As we approach our fiftieth anniversary, which we will commemorate in 2018, our exciting schedule is helping us to take stock of the achievements of the Studio Museum and look toward our future and the future of Harlem. We will be presenting works by touchstone artists including Jacob Lawrence and James Van Der Zee, celebrated contemporary artists such as Julie Mehretu, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, and Wardell Milan, and a host of outstanding emerging artists, including the participants in this year’s Artist-in-Residence program. We’re also looking both outward and inward: outward at the realities of Harlem over time, and inward at the meanings that Harlem has held for artists and residents over the generations. It all adds up to a series of exhibitions that are more vital and engaging than ever.”

Upcoming Exhibitions 2017

Their Own Harlems

July 20, 2017–January 7, 2018

In honor of the centennial of the birth of Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000), Their Own Harlems examines the ways in which the urban landscape has influenced Lawrence’s artistic practice, as well as that of other artists. Known primarily for his bodies of work that depict historical figures, Lawrence was also a keen observer of contemporary life, drawing inspiration throughout his career from the years he spent living in Harlem. He thought of Harlem in a broad sense, acknowledging the powerful and positive experiences people of African descent across the country could find in “their own Harlems.” The works in this exhibition thus consider different aspects of urban life, such as the ritual of moving through the city and the direct observation of scenes on the street, to illustrate how the city has served as a source of inspiration for artists across generations. Drawn entirely from the permanent collection and the Harlem Postcards project, Their Own Harlems features the work of more than twenty artists including Dawoud Bey, Jacob Lawrence, Julie Mehretu, Wardell Milan, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Their Own Harlems is organized by Connie H. Choi, Associate Curator, Permanent Collection.

Impressions: Expanding the Walls 2017

July 20–August 27, 2017

The Studio Museum’s Expanding the Walls program, founded in 2001, is a photography-based residency for young emerging artists enrolled in high schools or equivalent programs in New York City, providing them with workshops with a diverse group of arts professionals, intensive instruction in the techniques of digital photography, opportunities to build community, and a culminating exhibition. Each eight-month residency is based on the young artists’ investigation of the work of James Van Der Zee (1886–1983), the iconic chronicler of Harlem life, whose archives are housed at the Studio Museum.

The sixteen young artists in the 2016–17 program took an interest in particular methods of Van Der Zee’s practice, such as his use of hyperreal studio backdrops, street scenes and etching notes on his negatives. They were also drawn to the performative and conceptual strategies of other photographers, including Devin Allen, Isaac Diggs, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Lorna Simpson. The works in Impressions are a testament to the young artists’ close attention to family bonds and the nuances of life in Harlem and other New York City communities, and the exhibition reflects their shared desire to use formal aspects of photography to uncover beauty in overlooked places and histories. Impressions: Expanding the Walls 2017 is organized by Doris Zhao, Curatorial Assistant, with Ginny Huo, Expanding the Walls/Youth Programs Coordinator.

Harlem Postcards Summer 2017

July 20–September 10, 2017

Harlem Postcards
is an ongoing project that invites contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds to reflect on Harlem as a site of cultural activity, political vitality, visual stimuli, artistic contemplation, and creative production. Representing intimate and dynamic perspectives of Harlem, the images reflect the idiosyncratic visions of contemporary artists from a wide range of backgrounds and locations. Each photograph has been reproduced as a limited edition postcard available free to visitors. This season, we are pleased to feature an unprecedented ten postcard images in conjunction with Uptown, a new triennial surveying the work of artists who live or practice north of 99th Street, an initiative of the Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University’s new Lenfest Center for the Arts. The featured artists include Dawoud Bey, Reza Farkhondeh, Phyllis Galembo, Glendalys Medina, Al Miller, Joiri Minaya, Shani Peters, David Shrobe, Derick Whitson, and Expanding the Walls participant Wildriana De Jesús Paulino. Harlem Postcards Summer 2017 is organized by Doris Zhao, Curatorial Assistant.

20/20: The Studio Museum in Harlem and Carnegie Museum of Art

The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA

July 22–December 31, 2017

In a unique institutional collaboration, The Studio Museum in Harlem and Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) present a group exhibition at CMOA in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with works by forty artists, twenty from each collection. Responding to a tumultuous and deeply divided moment in our nation’s history, 20/20 mines both collections to offer a metaphoric picture of America today. Spanning nearly one hundred years—from 1920s photographs by James Van Der Zee to recent works by Kerry James Marshall, Ellen Gallagher, and Collier Schorr—20/20 provides a critical opportunity to prompt conversations about the necessity of art during times of social and political transformation.

The exhibition unfolds through a thematic exploration of the foundations of our national condition, ultimately championing the critical role of art in political and individual expression. Taken together, the artworks in this unprecedented collaboration offer multiple pathways for reflection and interpretation, allowing visitors to meditate on the long, complex history of our country. This exhibition is organized by Carnegie Museum of Art in partnership with The Studio Museum in Harlem and curated by Eric Crosby, Richard Armstrong Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Carnegie Museum of Art, and Amanda Hunt, former Associate Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and now Director of Education and Public Programs, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Photo Studio

August 10–27, 2017

Photo Studio will transform one of the Studio Museum’s galleries into an active photography studio. Over the course of two weeks, museum staff will work in view of the public to create high-quality digital photographs of some of the largest works in the Museum’s permanent collection of nearly two thousand works of art. This is the culminating phase in a year-long project, generously supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), to fully digitize and make accessible this unparalleled collection.

Maintaining the Museum’s commitment to the preservation, accessibility, and study of work by artists of African descent, Photo Studio will allow for a rare behind-the-scenes look into the work that occurs at a museum while offering staff and visitors alike an opportunity to reflect upon the depth and breadth of the Studio Museum’s collection. Visitors will have the chance to see art handlers installing work in a variety of media, with rarely-seen, large-scale, or technically complex artworks periodically on view in the main gallery.


September 14, 2017–January 7, 2018

is a survey of recent work by about twenty emerging artists of African descent who live and work across the United States. The artists in the exhibition engage with a variety of media—including video, photography, drawing, and sculpture—with some combining multiple artistic practices to create large-scale installations. The exhibition is the fifth in a series of emerging artist exhibitions presented by the Studio Museum, following Freestyle (2001), Frequency (2005–06), Flow (2008), and Fore (2012–13). Tracing the artistic developments since Fore, Fictions emphasizes the development of narrative content in contemporary art over the past five years. From the personal to the political and the everyday to the imagined, the exhibition examines the stories that form the foundation of these artists’ practices. Fictions is organized by Connie H. Choi, Associate Curator, Permanent Collection, and Hallie Ringle, Assistant Curator. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by the co-curators as well individual artist essays by emerging curators and scholars. A full list of artists will be released later this summer.

We Go as They: Artists in Residence 2016–17

Autumn Knight, Julia Phillips, Andy Robert

September 14, 2017–January 7, 2018

We Go as They: Artists in Residence 2016–17
is the latest in the annual exhibitions from the Artist-in-Residence program at the Studio Museum. The title makes reference to one of the most significant aspects of the Museum’s residency, the community of artists, curators, and Museum staff that surround and nurture the program. Autumn Knight (b. 1980), Julia Phillips (b. 1985), and Andy Robert (b. 1984) have spent the year in close conversation with each other, negotiating the physical and mental boundaries that come with working in close proximity to one another. Investigating the space between abstraction and figuration, Robert created a series of nocturne paintings of Harlem scenes that formally engages the history of painting, from French social realism to the Harlem Renaissance to Pop Abstraction. Phillips’s seemingly functional metal and ceramic objects relate to the human body and invite the viewer to imagine a potential use. Working with physical relations as a metaphor, Phillips makes reference to psychological, social, gender, and racial power dynamics. In her installation and performance, Knight continues her investigation of the flexible boundaries of identity and psyche through her fictional talk show, Sanity TV, where she promotes neither sanity nor insanity. We Go as They: Artists in Residence 2016–17 is organized by Hallie Ringle, Assistant Curator.

Full Press Release

Summer and Fall 2017 Exhibitions