The Studio Museum in Harlem – Summer 2012 Exhibitions and Projects

Studio Museum in HarlemThe Studio Museum in Harlem has announced its Summer 2012 Exhibitions and Projects schedule which launches today, June 14th and will run until October 21, 2012.  The line-up includes Primary Sources: 2011-12 Artists in Residence;  Caribbean: Crossroads of the World;   Illuminations: Expanding the Walls 2012 and Harlem Postcards 2012.

The Studio Museum in Harlem
144 West 125th Street
New York, NY 10027

Press Release:

NEW YORK, NY— The Studio Museum in Harlem is thrilled to announce its Summer 2012 season, a compelling mix of local and global perspectives on view from June 14 to October 21. Primary Sources: 2011-12 Artists in Residence: Njideka Akunyili, Meleko Mokgosi, Xaviera Simmons features new work by the latest participants in the Studio Museum’s renowned Artist-in-Residence program, while Illuminations: Expanding the Walls 2012 offers a glimpse at the exceptional work by teen participants in the Museum’s eight-month photography intensive. Visitors can also begin or continue their journey through the multi-venue exhibition Caribbean: Crossroads of the World, organized by El Museo del Barrio in conjunction with the Queens Museum of Art and The Studio Museum in Harlem. The Studio Museum’s galleries host two of six sections of Caribbean: Crossroads, offering an exciting opportunity to explore four centuries of the region’s diverse and impactful cultural history. Finally, Harlem Postcards Summer 2012 offers a new installment of the beloved series, with fresh takes on the iconic neighborhood by Yasmine Braithwaite, Zoe Crosher, Moyra Davey and Lauren Halsey.

Primary Sources
2011-12 Artists in Residence: Njideka Akunyili, Meleko Mokgosi and Xaviera Simmons

Primary Sources

Primary Sources presents the work of Njideka Akunyili, Meleko Mokgosi and Xaviera Simmons, the 2011–12 artists in residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem. All three artists use appropriated source material and imagery, mediating and reinterpreting their initial contexts through painting and photography.

A primary source is original documentation of a specific historical moment, often used to inform later interpretations or analyses of that time period. For Akunyili, Mokgosi and Simmons, such material provides the starting point for artistic practices that are deeply invested in histories—recent and distant, personal and global—to make artworks situated in the immediate present.

In her vibrant, textured paintings, Njideka Akunyili (b. 1983) employs collage and acetone-transferred images to reflect the cultural overlap that occurs in her everyday life. Through this meticulous process, Akunyili creates scenes of domesticity and intimacy, incorporating photographs of herself, her American husband and both their families with found images from popular Nigerian fashion and lifestyle magazines. This deeply personal work speaks to larger issues of culturally fluidity and what it means to stay connected to one place while living in another.

Meleko Mokgosi (b. 1981) questions and rethinks established histories, including those of painting and the post-colonial landscape of southern Africa—particularly in his native Botswana. In this context, Mokgosi also utilizes the visual tools of cinema, including wide angle camera work, large-scale imagery and working within serial “chapters” or panels. He paints scenes with images sourced from wedding blogs, newspapers from Botswana, magazines, and photographs taken by the artist himself. Several paintings intentionally leave negative space interspersed with detailed figurative images. Through this process, Mokgosi alters traditional historical narratives and allows the viewer to question what has been added and what has been deliberately left out of the accounts he portrays, calling attention to the manufactured aspects of historical memory.

The work of Xaviera Simmons (b. 1974) includes photography, performance, installation, audio and video. An avid traveler, Simmons gathers and collects materials and imagery that directly inspire her art-making. She draws on multiple media to construct, deconstruct and reconstruct narratives of migration, using a wide variety of resources—from magazines and objects discovered at thrift stores across the country, to items found on the streets of Harlem. These materials echo the specific contexts from which they were sourced, layering national and global perspectives with the local, site-specific nature of being an artist in residence at the Studio Museum.

The Artist-in-Residence Program represents one of the founding initiatives of the Museum from its inception in 1968. Past participants in the program include Terry Adkins, Chakaia Booker, Renée Green, David Hammons, Kerry James Marshall, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, Nadine Robinson, Alison Saar and Kehinde Wiley. Primary Sources, organized by Assistant Curator Lauren Haynes, maintains the Museum’s commitment to highlighting new artistic talent and voices, and continues the Museum’s core mission and vital tradition.

The Artist-in-Residence program is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; Jerome Foundation; Robert Lehman Foundation; and New York Community Trust.


Caribbean: Crossroads of the World

Caribbean Crossroads of the World

The exhibition Caribbean: Crossroads of the World is the culmination of nearly a decade of collaborative research and scholarship organized by El Museo del Barrio in conjunction with the Queens Museum of Art and The Studio Museum in Harlem. Presenting work at the three museums and accompanied by an ambitious range of programs and events, Caribbean: Crossroads offers an unprecedented opportunity to explore the diverse and impactful cultural history of the Caribbean basin and its diaspora. More than 500 works of art spanning four centuries illuminate changing aesthetics and ideologies and provoke meaningful conversations about topics ranging from commerce and cultural hybridity to politics and pop culture.

Shades of History explores the significance of race and its relevance to the history and visual culture of the Caribbean, beginning with the pivotal moment of the Haitian Revolution in 1791. Race is analyzed as a trigger for discussions on human rights, social status, national identity, and beauty.

Land of the Outlaw
addresses the dual images of the Caribbean as a utopian place of pleasure and a land of devi2 ance and illicit activity, and how they intertwine in myths and stereotypes (from pirates and zombies to dictators and drug smugglers) that are now part of global popular culture.

Caribbean: Crossroads of the World: Metlife Foundation Presenting Sponsor. Major support provided by The Reed Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; Bacardi USA; Institut Français; Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York; Mondriaan Fonds; Christie’s, Inc.; and The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation.


Illuminations: Expanding the Walls 2012


Illuminations is this year’s installment of the Museum’s annual exhibition featuring the work of high school participants in the Expanding the Walls: Making Connections to Photography, History and Community program. Student photographs will be displayed along with work by quintessential Harlem photographer James VanDerZee, whose work they have studied and used as inspiration. The 2012 Expanding the Walls artists celebrate and critique contemporary culture and explore various definitions of self at a key moment in each of their lives. The group investigates the formal and conceptual possibilities of photography, drawing on a wide range of technical effects, investigating qualities of light and color, and using theatrical lighting and staging to manipulate the scenes they depict.

The works in the exhibition reflect the specific concerns and interests of each artist, including teen culture and social life, neighborhood and high school communities, the bonds of family, and the natural and urban environments that compose the landscape of New York. Many of the artists also emphasize themes of individuality and vulnerability as they transition into adulthood, making pictures that reveal honest interpretations of their everyday lives.

Expanding the Walls is made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; Colgate-Palmolive; Dedalus Foundation, Inc.; The Keith Haring Foundation, Inc.; Joy of Giving Something, Inc.; The David Rockefeller Fund; and Surdna Foundation.


Harlem Postcards Summer 2012

Harlem Postcards Summer 2012

Represented, revered, and recognized by people around the world, Harlem is a continually expanding nexus of black culture, history and iconography. Venerable landmarks, such as the Abyssinian Baptist Church, the Apollo Theater, Hotel Theresa, Audubon Ballroom and 125th Street, remain popular emblems of important historic moments
and moods. The Studio Museum ongoing series, Harlem Postcards, invites contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds to reflect on Harlem as a site for artistic contemplation and production. Installed in the Museum lobby and available to visitors free of charge, Harlem Postcards present intimate views and fresh perspectives on this famous neighborhood. This season we feature images by Yasmine Braithwaite, Zoe Crosher, Moyra Davey and Lauren Halsey.

Upcoming Exhibitions
July–October 2012:
The Bearden Project offers a new iteration of an initiative in which artists were asked to create a work of art inspired
by Romare Bearden’s life and legacy on the occasion of the centennial of his birth. New works by contemporary artists join those displayed during Fall/Winter 2011–12 and Spring 2012 seasons.

November 8, 2012–March 10, 2013:An important facet of the Studio Museum’s mission is to include the work of emerging artists of African descent. The Museum’s signature “F” series of group exhibitions features a diverse group of up-and-coming artists in a non-thematic presentation. Opening in November 2012, the Studio Museum will present its newest show of the “F” series: Fore. This series, which includes Freestyle (2001), Frequency (2005-06) and Flow (2008), acts as an exceptional foundation for emerging artists of African descent, solidifying roots of burgeoning careers and serving as an avenue for critical dialogue and public acclaim.

November 30, 2012 will mark the 100th birthday of iconic artist and photojournalist Gordon Parks. This fall, the Studio Museum is honored to celebrate Parks’ photographic legacy with a comprehensive and moving exhibition, Gordon Parks: A Harlem Family 1967.

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