Arts & Minds

High Stylin'

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  • Arts & Minds participant and caregiver enjoy a Samuel Fosso photograph.
    Photo: Sophia Bruneau

  • A participant shows off her finished artwork. Photo: Sophia Bruneau

  • Teaching artist, Sonya Jaye Bell, leads a hands-on activity.
    Photo: Sophia Bruneau

It’s Tuesday at The Studio Museum in Harlem. A bustling and vibrant group meets in the Atrium Café, the usual meeting place, filling the air and the moment with smiles. Familiar faces mingle, discuss, and observe before the start of yet another exciting Arts & Minds program. Twice a month, this diverse group of people come together to join in on a conversation—an experience—around a selected piece of artwork in the Museum.

I should also mention that this diverse group is composed of adults suffering with memory disorders and their caregivers—add in a couple of volunteers, staff and a teaching artist and you get Arts & Minds! Arts & Minds is an organization that brings adults with memory disorders and their caregivers together in new experiences of art. Through gallery discussions and hands-on art activities, Arts & Minds opens a window to creativity and well-being.

Michaela Angela Davis and Melissa Harris-Perry

In Conversation at the Brooklyn Museum

  • Michaela Angela Davis (left); Melissa Harris-Perry (right)

On Thursday, February 16th, I attended an installment of the In Conversation Series hosted by MAD Free at the Brooklyn Museum. It featured an in-depth discussion and forum with Melissa Harris-Perry, professor and MSNBC commentator, and with writer and activist Michaela Angela Davis. The dialogue took cues from Harris-Perry’s new book Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, which comments on the persistence of stereotypes and misrecognition that afflict black women. Furthermore, these images aid in creating very material consequences that affect black women’s political and social standing in America.

Saluting Creative Voices

Thelma Golden on the AIDS Memorial Park

Thelma Golden from AIDS Memorial Park on Vimeo.

Ishmael Houston-Jones: PLATFORM 2012: Parallels

  • Ishmael Houston-Jones

The following is an excerpt from Ishmael Houston-Jones’s curatorial statement, which appears in the catalogue for PLATFORM 2012: Parallels. Join us on February 2 for our public program The Artist's Voice: Ishmael Houston-Jones in Conversation with Wangechi Mutu and Thomas J. Lax, where you can purchase a copy of the catalogue. More info about Parallels programming, here.


The Winter/Spring 2012 Issue of Studio Magazine Is Here!

The latest issue of Studio magazine has arrived and we couldn't be more thrilled! In honor of the Bearden Centennial, this issue has four different covers featuring artworks by Leonardo Drew, Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu and Brenna Youngblood that are currently on view in The Bearden Project.

Art Basel Conversation

The Evolution of Museum Missions

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  • Left to Right: Margarita Aguilar, Executive Director of El Museo del Barrio, New York; Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem; Madeleine Grynsztejn, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Beatrix Ruf, Director of Kunsthalle Zürich; András Szántó, Author and Arts Consultant

    Photo: Katherine Finerty

  • Left to Right: Margarita Aguilar, Executive Director of El Museo del Barrio, New York; Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem; Madeleine Grynsztejn, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Photo: Katherine Finerty

  • A view of the audience
Photo: Katherine Finerty

  • Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem Photo: Katherine Finerty

“How do we keep museums relevant and essential to our cultural landscape and life?” This was the fundamental question driving the Art Basel Conversation “The Evolution of Museum Mission” between four contemporary art museum directors on Friday December 2nd in Miami. Author and Arts Consultant András Szántó moderated the four female directors (including Studio Museum Director Thelma Golden), stating that there has been more change in the art world and museum institutions in the past 10 years than in the past 100 years. This notion is especially applicable for contemporary art museums: given their topical focus, they encompass perhaps the most sizable and accelerated evolutions in terms of not only art representation, but also mission.

Isaac Julien

Against the Tides of Globalization

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  • Isaac Julien with photograph Glass House, Prism (2010) from Ten Thousand Waves. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

  • Isaac Julien
    WESTERN UNION: Small Boats (installation view), 2007
    Courtesy Metro Pictures, NY

  • Isaac Julien
    Ten Thousand Waves (installation view), 2010
    Courtesy the Bass Museum, Miami
    Photograph: Jonathan Franklin

  • Isaac Julien
    Ten Thousand Waves (details), 2010
    Left: Yishan Island, Right: Dreaming and Green Screen Goddess
    Courtesy the artist

Acclaimed British filmmaker and installation artist Isaac Julien turns primarily to visually elaborate and technologically sophisticated installations of the moving image to express his urgent fascination with global human movement. Columbia University’s recent World Leaders Forum teamed up with the Mellon Visiting Artist & Thinkers Program to host a talk by Isaac Julien with Carol Becker, Dean of Faculty of the School of the Arts. Dean Becker highlighted this unique choice of featuring an artist for the World Leaders Forum – proclaiming that geopolitically-minded and creative innovators, such as Julien, are particularly significant cultural leaders today.

Three Trips Around the Block

Thelma Golden in Conversation with Rico Gatson at Exit Art

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  • Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and artist, Rico Gatson at Exit Art. Photo: Kyla McMillan

  • Rico Gatson
    Nape of the Neck, Small of the Back, 2006 Museum Purchase 07.11.16.

  • Rico Gatson
    Nigeria Power, 2009
    Courtesy the artist

  • Rico Gatson
    The Group, 2011
    Courtesy the artist

  • The audience awaits the arrival of Thelma Golden and Rico Gatson in the intimate Exit Art theater. Photo: Kyla McMillan

Rico Gatson sees the potential for art in everything: he allows his everyday experiences to inspire his work. Recently at Exit Art, Gatson and Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem, treated an audience to an engaging conversation about Gatson, his artwork, and his influences. Three Trips Around the Block, now on view at Exit Art, is a survey of 15 years of Gatson’s work.

Who, What, Wear

Where Style Meets Substance

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  • Samuel Fosso
    Self Portrait, 1976
    Museum purchase with funds provided by the Acquisition Committee 03.10.23

  • Barkley Hendricks
    Lawdy Mama, 1969
    Gift of Stuart Liebman, in memory of Joseph B. Liebman 83.25

Who, What, Wear: Selections from the Permanent Collection, opening this Thursday at the Studio Museum in Harlem, frames style as substance. This exhibition aims to question how what one wears ultimately fashions the body as a symbolic vessel of meaning. Whether this meaning be social, cultural, or political, the clothing we put on our bodies speaks loudly – and if desired, proudly.

Aesthetic of the Cool

Dr. Robert Farris Thompson in conversation with Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims

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  • Robert Farris Thompson's Aesthetic of the Cool: Afro Atlantic Art and Music (2011)

  • Agbeke Asoko, Dancing with Crown of Eyinle. 6 July 1965, Ejileté, Nigeria.

  • Shrine Head, Ife, Nigeria (12th-14th century) Courtesy of The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

  • Mambo dancers, Palladium Ballroom, 1 January 1954, New York NY.
    Photo: Yael Joel / Life Magazine / Time & Life pictures / Getty images

  • Keith Haring
    Untitled, 1983
    © The Estate of Keith Haring, Deutsche Bank Collection

“If you don’t know by now, don’t mess with it,” Dr. Robert Farris Thompson stated at the start of his program at the Studio Museum two weeks ago –followed quickly by a spirited promise that he was, indeed, going to “mess with it.”

“It” being, of course, the topic of the evening: Afro-Atlantic art. Last Thursday the Studio Museum galleries were filled to the brim with guests, eager to hear from two of the most prestigious art historians of our time. On the occasion of the release of Dr. Thompson's Aesthetic of the Cool: Afro-Atlantic Art and Music, the author sat down with Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims, Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, and former Studio Museum President, to discuss his concept of the “cool” in Afro-Atlantic culture.