Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin A. Ramsey
Atlanta-based playwright, photographer and folk art painter Calvin Alexander Ramsey grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and Roxboro, North Carolina. He is a former Advisory Board Member of the Robert Woodruff Library Special Collections at Emory University in Atlanta. He is also a recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Justice Award. His plays have been performed in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; San Francisco; Valdez, Alaska; Omaha, Nebraska; Baltimore; and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
In early September, the Studio Museum welcomed Ramsey as its guest for the monthly program, Books & Authors, Kids!, where he read from his children’s book Ruth and the Green Book (Carolrhoda Books, A Division of Lerner Publishing Group, 2010). Books & Authors, Kids! allows children to have a creative experience with some of their favorite writers and artists, including hands-on workshops, storytelling and a book-signing.
We’re excited to announce that a tumblr page accompanying the Fall/Winter 2013–14 Studio Museum exhibition The Shadows Took Shape launched today!
The Shadows Took Shape on tumblr will serve as a source for the Afrofuturist aesthetics featured in the exhibition and beyond. Stay tuned on tumblr for information about public programming, book club meetings and more! Each month we’ll have a guest blogger share their inspirations and favorite Afrofuturistic ephemera. (Note: You don’t have to have a tumblr account to view the tumblr page)
Curatorial Fellow Monique Long highlights Harlem-based designer Mimi Plange
Mimi Plange was born in Ghana and grew up in California. As someone who has always been interested in fashion, her mother and her uncle were her earliest influences. Her uncle, an architect, indoctrinated her with his love of art and music which, in turn, ignited her own creativity. Plange learned to play the flute, but understood early in life that she would design clothes. Before attending Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California, she obtained a BA in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley. Her favorite visual artists include Kehinde Wiley, Wangechi Mutu, and Nandipha Mntambo.
Jocelyn Cooper of AFROPUNK
Jocelyn Cooper, a music industry veteran who has worked with such artists as Beyoncé and Sean Garrett, collaborates with Matthew Morgan (former music manager of Santigold), to run AFROPUNK. Showcasing black musicians making alternative, experimental and underground music and hosting numerous events throughout the year, the production company throws the acclaimed AFROPUNK FEST every summer in Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn, NY. On August 24 and 25, it held its ninth installment, featuring such celebrated acts as Grammy winners Living Colour, Chuck D of Public Enemy, and the seminal Detroit proto-punk band Death, as well as a diverse group of emerging performers such as Big Freedia, Mykki Blanco and The Skins.
The American Folk Art Museum’s exhibition on Bill Traylor, perhaps the most extensive to date and certainly the most in-depth consideration of his work in a New York museum, is the final justification of Traylor as a canonical self-taught artist. It is also an emphatic validation for Charles Shannon, who “discovered” Traylor in 1939 and began archiving his work. His persistent efforts to exhibit Traylor and garner appreciation for his work in cultural institutions are thoroughly discussed in the exhibition. In this, the exhibition is nearly a double homage: to the artist and to the preserver.
A career retrospective of the fashion designer Stephen Burrows opened at the Museum of the City of New York this spring and has been the most current highlight in the over 40-year career of a designer who has seen many highlights.
radicalpresenceny.org, the website accompanying the forthcoming Studio Museum exhibition (co-presented with the Grey Art Gallery at NYU), Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art has launched today!
Curatorial Fellow Monique Long on Fashion in Harlem and Art
In the glossary that accompanied Zora Neale Hurston’s short story “Story in Harlem Slang,” (1942) there are five different terms listed for someone fashionable. Invariably, iconic photographs of Harlemites include those dressed in blindingly fashionable clothes. There’s a rich history and tradition in Harlem that defines the neighborhood not only as the cornerstone of African-American culture but style as well. Visitors and residents alike assimilate to the expectation that you must express yourself fashionably here, demonstrated beautifully by the attendees at our summer opening in July and the monumental drawings by Rob Pruitt of fashionable women that hang in the main gallery.
Summer 2013 Curatorial Intern Martha Scott Burton reflects on her time at Studio Museum
One of Studio Museum’s many partners is the ARTS Intern program, developed by the nonprofit organization Studio in a School, through which college undergraduate students from diverse cultural backgrounds gain work experience at some of New York’s most exciting and influential institutions. It is through this program that I have had the privilege of working as a Curatorial Intern over the past 9 weeks at the Studio Museum—certainly one of my most rewarding and educational experiences to date.
Growing up in a small Midwestern town (one of the many Springfields in Tornado Alley) with the closest major art institution over 4 hours away, I thought art history majors necessarily became teachers. But after moving to the city, where museums, galleries and auction houses are abundant, and after working at the Studio Museum, whose mission is pursued with singular energy, a whole new world opened up, almost at a flashpoint.
On August 14, Erin Hylton, School Programs Coordinator, sat down with three college interns at the end of their summer internships in the programming departments of Community Engagement and Public Programs and Education, to reflect and share their experience at the Studio Museum with each other.
Justin Allen, the summer 2013 intern in The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Public Programs and Community Engagement department, is a rising senior and poetry major at the New School's Eugene Lang College. Harlemite Dyeemah Simmons studies Studio Art and English at Oberlin College, and this summer, she was an Education Department intern through Studio in a School's ARTSIntern program. Asha Whale, a Brooklyn native, came to intern at came to intern at the Studio Museum through the Jeanette K. Watson Fellowship; she is a History major at the City College of New York.