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.

Thank You Target Free Sunday's Families and Friends!

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As October comes to a close and we say goodbye to the wonderful works in our summer exhibition season, we at the Studio Museum would like to say THANK YOU to all the wonderful friends and families who joined us for Target Free Sunday this season!

Whether making insightful comments about the works on view or sharing your creativity with us by donating your beautiful masterpieces to the Museum, we sincerely thank you for sharing your Sundays with us. For our fall/winter exhibition season, we will continue to have activities for all ages to enjoy including tours of our new exhibitions, hands-on activities such as greeting card making for the holidays, and a few other surprises!

30 Americans at the Corcoran Gallery

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  • Jean-Michel Basquiat
    Bird On Money, 1981
    Courtesy the Corcoran Gallery

  • Nick Cave
    Soundsuit, 2008
    Courtesy the Corcoran Gallery

  • Mickalene Thomas
    Baby I Am Ready Now, 2007
    Courtesy the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation

  • Kara Walker
    Camptown Ladies, 1998
    Courtesy the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation

  • Kehinde Wiley
    Equestrian Portrait of the Count Duke Olivares, 2005
    Courtesy the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation

Every once in a while, we are gifted with an exhibition that reminds us just how spectacular black art can be—30 Americans is that exhibition. Now on display at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C., 30 Americans features 76 works from the Rubell Family Collection by 31 black artists—many of whom sparked my interest in art.
Imagine three decades of artwork created by some of America’s most influential artists; the show was grand to say the least. It’s hard to pick highlights from a show with so many fantastic works, but visitors flocked to works by Kehinde Wiley, Nick Cave, Jean Michel Basquiat and Mickalene Thomas.

Join Us For Target Free Sundays!

For the past two months, Sunday has easily been my favorite day of the week. Not burdened by the confines of a classroom desk or having to run the miscellaneous errands that mark adulthood, Sunday has become a welcomed reprieve from ordinary day-to-day life, allowing me to spend my day doing what I love the best: engaging people in hands- on-art activities and conversations about art.

The Artist's Voice: Spiral Icon Emma Amos

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  • Emma Amos
    Work Suit, 1994
    Courtesy the artist

    Based on a Lucien Freud self portrait, Amos paints her head on Freud’s nude body as a reaction against the privileges of white male artists.

  • Emma Amos
    Yo Man Ray Yo, 2000
    Courtesy the artist

    In response to Man Ray’s Noire et Blanche (1926), Yo Man Ray Yo (2000) depicts two women –both beautiful in their own respects—who gaze at each other and affirm that women are real, not objects.

Esteemed artist Emma Amos and Assistant Curator, Lauren Haynes were the latest to sit down for The Artist’s Voice, a conversation series at the Studio Museum on Thursday, September 29th.

If you are a fan of Emma Amos, then you know that the she is anything but ordinary. The artist, like her work, is vibrant, poignant, and remarkably expressive.

The Romare Bearden Commemorative Stamps Unveiling

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  • Courtesy the United States Postal Service

  • E.T. Williams, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Romare Bearden Foundation and Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum Courtesy of the Harvey B. Gantt Center

  • Romare Bearden The Block, 1971 Courtesy of the Harvey B. Gantt Center

  • Audience members at the Romare Bearden commemorative stamps unveiling singing "Lift Every Voice and Sing" Courtesy of the Harvey B. Gantt Center

Last Wednesday the Schomburg Center was packed with energy as a multitude of guests eagerly anticipated the unveiling of four stamps honoring Romare Bearden. On the centennial of the artist’s birthday, cultural institutions all over New York City are commemorating Bearden and his powerful creative legacy. Currently on view at the Studio Museum is the majestic black and white Conjur Woman, 1964, created while Bearden was part of the historic Spiral group dedicated to the political and gallery representation of black artists.

Pacific Standard Time

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  • David Hammons
    Bag Lady in Flight, c. 1970
    Collection of Eileen Harris Narton, Santa Monica, CA
    Courtesy the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

  • Dale Brockman Davis
    Swept, 1970
    Blocker Collection c/o Rick Blocker
    Courtesy the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

  • Betye Saar
    Black Girl's Window, 1969
    Collection of the artist
    Courtesy Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York

In honor of the launch of the Pacific Standard Time initiative this weekend, we're reproducing an article from the current issue of Studio magazine that highlights two of the incredible exhibitions that anyone in the Los Angeles area must not miss!


Mark Your Calendar for The Artist's Voice!

Hear Lyle Ashton Harris in conversation with "Chocolate Polaroid" sitters

  • Lyle Ashton Harris
    Untitled (Face #155 Lyle), 2000
    Untitled (Back #155 Lyle), 2000
    Courtesy the artist and CRG Gallery, New York

Join us Thursday, September 22 at 7:00 pm for the latest installment of The Artist's Voice, featuring Lyle Ashton Harris, whose work is currently on view in Self/Portait. The evening presents a rare opportunity to hear Harris in conversation with Nancy Barton, Jim Hodges, and Shirin Neshat, all sitters from his "Chocolate Polaroid" series and seminal artists themselves. Stop by the Museum Store to pick up Excessive Exposure: The Complete Chocolate Portraits, the recently released monograph of Harris's work and have the book signed by the artist after the discussion!

Twitter Asked, Thelma Answered!

Director's Q&A: #AskThelma

Recently, we asked our Twitter followers if they had any burning questions for Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden. They asked, and she answered. We hope you’ll join the conversation: follow @studiomuseum and visit facebook.com/studiomuseum for up-to-the-minute news and interactive features like #AskThelma!

@artfagcity: Does Golden have any Freestyle-type exhibitions planned for the future?
TG: Freestyle (2001), Frequency (2005-06) and Flow (2008) were large, group exhibitions of emerging artists, the support of whom remains central to our curatorial focus. There might be another “F” show in the future…but exhibitions in that vein develop as the work demands, so all I can say is: stay tuned!