On June 2, the inaugural Uptown triennial opened with an exhibition at the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University. Uptown is a summer-long compilation of exhibitions, art installations, and events featuring contemporary artists living and working north of 99th Street. Organized by Wallach Art Gallery Director and Chief Curator Deborah Cullen, Uptown, which is on view through August 20, acknowledges the longstanding collaborations between upper Manhattan institutions in their shared goal to provide spaces for critical thought and artistic engagement. The new gallery space in the Lenfest Center for the Arts allows for the Wallach to more readily engage with surrounding communities than their previous location on the eighth floor of an academic building.
Prosperity of Perspective
This month, Expanding the Walls (ETW)—an eight-month photography-based program at the Studio Museum—participants had the opportunity to work with Baltimore-based photographer Devin Allen.
Devin Allen’s most recognizable work, the series "A Beautiful Ghetto" (2015)—documenting the Baltimore uprising following the death of Freddie Gray—demonstrates how an image can have the power to unify a community and promote social justice. After presenting his work at the Museum and discussing the impact that his community has had on his life, ETW participants had the chance to walk the streets of Harlem and take photos with Allen.
During the second month of Expanding the Walls (ETW)—an eight-month photography-based program at the Studio Museum—participants received the digital cameras that they’ll use for the remainder of the program.
Receiving my digital camera in ETW last week was an amazing experience. Not only was it fun to have my camera, it finally gave me the tools to transfer my ideas into reality. This means a lot to me because you can only grow to love something by doing it more and more. Getting the camera highlighted my main goal during this program, which is to learn how to work with digital photography. Alvaro, a friend who is also in the program, said, "Getting our cameras was like getting a new pair of eyes, we now see the world from a different perspective."
Autumn Knight, Julia Phillips and Andy Robert
A core component of The Studio Museum in Harlem's mission and history, the Artist-in-Residence program provides each artist with studio space, a stipend and the opportunity to exhibit at the end of the eleven-month residency. Here, 2016–17 artists in residence Autumn Knight, Julia Phillips and Andy Robert share a little bit about their practices and what inspires them.
Well, there was that time that I fell off a basket at a grocery store and blacked out. When I was revived, I told the doctor that I was reaching for the pink cookies. The ones with the frosting and sprinkles. And the time I called a mechanical puppet a “motherfucker” for his poor performance skills at my fifth birthday party. Or the moment I had to respond quickly to why my elementary classmate told me she didn’t like black people. Oh, and the fire.
The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Artist-in-Residence program is a testament to the Museum’s commitment to supporting emerging contemporary artists whose work is inspired or influenced by black culture. The Museum’s community of teaching artists reflects a similar type of engagement. Serving at the intersection of the institution and the public, Museum educators are creative, pedagogical hybrids who navigate the fascinating line between the role of teacher and practicing artist.
I first came across multidisciplinary artist Santiago Mostyn’s work on a visit to Moderna Museet in Stockholm. His video performance Delay (2014) followed the artist through the streets of the Swedish capital as he encountered affluent white men and addressed each racially charged interaction with the simple touch of his hand. It is in this way that Mostyn approaches his experiences, by becoming a character through which social forces are reflected, that drew me to his work.
Eric Booker: When we first spoke you brought up this idea of the American diaspora, which is an interesting point to start with, given your international upbringing.
One Black Day (II)
The Studio Museum in Harlem believes that the radical voices of artists telling the truths of the moment are essential to democracy. The Museum has long been committed to giving artists a space to share their provocations and insight—artist Glenn Ligon’s One Black Day (II) (2017), currently on display in the Museum’s window, is the most recent example of this.
Expanding the Walls 2017 has officially begun! Congratulations to the sixteen participants from all over New York City that have been selected to participate in the Museum's after-school teen photography program. Every Tuesday and Saturday for the next eight months, we will meet to create art, engage in discussion groups and embark on excursions all while learning the basics of digital photography!
What will this year bring for Expanding the Walls? We are looking forward to a lot of exciting experiences this year, including visiting artists, learning film photography though a partnership at the School of Visual arts, exchanges with other cultural institutions, artmaking and time capsules. We hope you will follow us on our journey!
Congratulations again to the Expanding the Walls class of 2017! I’m proud of you all and excited to see what we create together.
2016 was a fantastic year for The Studio Museum in Harlem. We launched inHarlem with sculptural installations in four of Harlem’s Historic Parks, presented trailblazing exhibitions, and confirmed the vital place our Artist-in-Residence program holds within the community and art world at large. Help us continue the exciting work of the Studio Museum and participate in the Annual Fund. We wish you the very best in the New Year.