Raised by his art-loving mom, Abdi Farah (b. 1987) was introduced to the arts at an early age. Growing up in Baltimore, a city with a rich artistic and cultural presence, he recalls being around art all the time. Farah remembers visiting art galleries and institutions such as the Walters Art Museum (formerly the Walters Art Gallery) and the Baltimore Museum of Art. His earliest memories of making art are when he went to work with his mom, a college professor and sat in a quiet corner to draw with markers and crayons. “I grew up always drawing,” he says. “That’s kind of who I was.” This love of drawing manifested into a skill and passion that led him to attend the George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology High School, where he focused on studio art. It wasn’t until he won the NAACP ACT-SO Gold Medal in painting that he realized how much artistic talent he had, and that he could be an artist for a living. Prior to this realization, Farah was certain he was going to play professional basketball, a huge part of his adolescence. “My buddies and I worshipped it,” he says.
Processing Stephen Burks
Back in 2007, long before Stephen Burks: Man Made was even an inkling in our minds, we featured a profile of the internationally acclaimed industrial designer in our magazine, Studio. Not only that, but the profile was illustrated with an image of his Part Occasional Tables, 2007, which are currently on view in the Museum of Arts & Design Global Africa Project exhibition. A prescient profile? Perhaps!
Ariel Scott interviews dancer Trajal Harrell
Ariel Osterweis Scott, Ph.D. candidate in Performance Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, speaks with noted choreographer Trajal Harrell. Harrell’s works have been seen at institutions including The New Museum, ICA Boston, The Kitchen, and numerous international venues. Here, Harrell discusses his latest work.
This interview is an extended version of the interview that appeared in Studio magazine.
A- How did your piece Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church (S) come about?
AIR Kamau Amu Patton Collaborates with ETW Students
Recently, I facilitated a workshop with the museum’s Expanding the Walls Youth Program. Totally fun! Thank you to all the students who participated. Gerald Leavell and I had a few conversations prior the workshop about what that afternoon could look like. After continued discussion about themes, we decided on “building creative communities” as the idea that would inform our activity. We presented the group with a variety of underground artists produced zines and videos from my collection. The discussion that followed focused on the power of such objects to voice the spirit of a creative community. Then, we made a zine!
Matana Roberts's Playlist
This week guest blogger Matana Roberts, our current StudioSound artist, shares some of her favorite music!
My thirst for sound knowledge spirals from the traditions of the jazz alto saxophone, which is my main tool of reference, or "weapon of choice," as it was recently described to me. But it is heavily combined at this point with other sound aspects that intrigue me and filter through my work right now, such as language, repetition and trance. Below are items on my current playlist, chosen completely randomly. There's so much sound to explore out there, that I can barely keep track myself. By the time this posts, I will be onwards to completely different soundscapes most likely, but here are a few that I thought might pique any sound-seeker's interest:
A Guest Blog Post by Dawoud Bey
A writer once wrote that every place is simultaneously the place that it was and the place that it is. It is the combination of the two that constitutes the deeper meaning and experience of a place. And so it is with Harlem.
Studio Museum Assistant Curator Lauren Haynes and artist Noah Davis in conversation:
Tell us about The Gardener (2009). Is it based on a real person?
The Gardener is Osiris, who ruled Egypt in a time of great cultural and agricultural prosperity. After being hoaxed by his brother Seth and seventy-two conspirators, he was made to enter a chest. The chest was then sealed shut and tossed into the Nile, where it became his coffin. It later washes up in Byblos and drifts ashore into the roots of a sapling. Strengthened by Osiris, the sapling grows in a single night into a tall and graceful tree. Osiris became the Egyptian God of the afterlife.
Ronak K. Kapadia
Office Hours is a new feature in Studio magazine and on the web that engages artists, scholars and organizers on the application of critical knowledge and theory.
Ronak K. Kapadia is a PhD candidate in NYU’s American Studies program. He is currently writing his dissertation on creative responses to state security, immigrant detention, surveillance, and the U.S. empire since the late 1970s.
Legendary performance/visual artist and avant-garde “drag superstar,” Vaginal Davis, has been interrogating notions of theater, performance, blackness and queer politics since the 1980s. Davis recently performed her critically acclaimed show at P.S. 122, Vaginal Davis Is Speaking from the Diaphragm, which uses a talk-show format and a set design channeling “kindergarten occultism.” Read a brief interview with the artist after the jump.