A Freewheeling Exploration of Artistic Practice
On June 19, Making and Unmaking opened at the Camden Arts Centre in London. Curated by Nigerian-born designer Duro Olowu, the exhibition features works by more than seventy artists, including Wangechi Mutu, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Stanley Whitney, Rodney McMillian, Eric Mack, Kehinde Wiley and Lorna Simpson. While the artists in the show create in a wide array of media—including textile, sculpture and photography—Olowu connects their work through thematic and narrative elements. Spanning two centuries and coming from countries around the globe, the works chosen by Olowu represent a diversity of approaches to timeless issues such as identity, self-adornment and the body.
On June 24, the New York Times broke the news of the Studio Museum's new set of initiatives designed to explore dynamic ways to work in the community and take the institution beyond its walls: inHarlem. inHarlem encompasses a wide range of artistic and programmatic ventures, from site-specific artists’ projects to collaborative presentations with civic and cultural partners in the Harlem neighborhood.
Coming into his residency at the Studio Museum, EJ Hill was well known for his performance practice. In pieces like The Fence Mechanisms (2014), O Captor My Captor (2014), Complicit and Tacit (2014), and Untitled (2012), Hill uses his body as a means to assert his agency, vulnerability and dissent, within a society that would view it as a threat. However, alongside his performance pieces, Hill has been creating quieter, more solitary work—drawings, paintings, photographs and music. While exploring possible performance opportunities at the Studio Museum, Hill is expanding into these quieter creative avenues, fearlessly expanding his practice.
with Ginny Huo
The Studio Museum in Harlem brought in the New Year with inspiration from Focus: Danielle Dean. During our Target Free Sunday Hands On workshop, visitors created flip books to explore transformation through animation! We caught up with Teaching Artist Ginny Huo to learn more about how her own artwork informed this exciting process. Read our interview with her and learn how to create your own flip book below.
Chloe Hayward: Tell me a bit about yourself. Where are you from originally?
Ginny Huo: Well, I moved around a lot but I was born in Hawaii, my family is Korean. I grew up mostly in the suburbs of Chicago.
CH: What inspires you to create?
As a self-professed impatient painter, Jordan Casteel is keen to put oil to canvas. Walking into her sunlit section within the artist-in-residence studios at The Studio Museum in Harlem, her large canvases and drawings were mounted upon the walls in various stages of progress, I was surprised to learn she felt behind schedule. Since receiving her MFA from Yale in 2014, Casteel has focused mainly on the black male figure. This subject matter continued on through exhibitions at Sargent’s Daughters (2014 and 2015), and now it reaches the Studio Museum. A few months since beginning her residency and moving to Harlem, Casteel continues to challenge the depiction of the black male figure through her large expressive portraits, but Harlem has already left its impression.
Last month The Studio Museum in Harlem invited visitors to explore the artwork in A Constellation. During the Target Free Sunday Hands On Workshop, visitors used Betye Saar as inspiration to create a work of art with symbolic imagery!
In Lil’ Studio, our mini artists were inspired by the exhibition Black: Color, Material, Concept. After we read the story Black Cat by Christopher Myers, we made artwork using only the color black!
Check out our calendar for upcoming Family Programs. We hope to see you uptown soon!
Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now
Coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now connects the vibrant legacy of jazz and experimental music of the 1960s—particularly within the African-American arts scene on the South Side of Chicago—to its influence on contemporary culture. The Freedom Principle combines historic materials with contemporary artistic responses to the rich heritage of the 1960s black avant-garde, which created a distinctive new language that blurred the boundaries between art, music and design.
Our Journey to One Stop Down
As a high school student, I have had the opportunity to learn about photography at the Studio Museum through a program called Expanding the Walls. It’s an eight-month photography-based residency that immerses high school students, from all over New York City, in the world of photography. This program is specifically unique because we receive cameras and have opportunities to interact with contemporary artists and the James VanDerZee archive, and exhibit our work in the Studio Museum’s galleries.
Paul Mpagi Sepuya
As an intern in the Curatorial department at The Studio Museum in Harlem, I have the opportunity to explore how the Museum functions behind the scenes. At work, it is exciting to observe how our curators harness the power that exhibitions and their surrounding discourse possess in order to activate art as a social and political tool. Selecting artists and framing their work in relation to broader thematic concerns is one of a curator’s primary responsibilities, and I am especially interested in the long-term relationships between our curators and the artists. The Artist-in-Residence program at the Studio Museum, founded in 1968, provides an excellent example of the close working relationships between curators and creators. One of my projects at the Museum is to manage a database of information concerning AIR alumni.
Finding Themes and Experimenting with Materials
As the sixteen high school students continue on their eight-month, photography-based journey at the Museum through the Expanding the Walls program, they take time to look through and thoroughly discuss work by artists such as Lorna Simpson, Malick Sidibe, Gordon Parks and others to help shed light on the multitude of topics and themes photography can cover. The hope is that in studying these artists, the students gain an introduction to themes that they might later choose to focus their projects on. As emerging artists with newfound creative voices, the students struggle with capturing their experiences, perspectives and comments on their respective themes. Many found themselves stuck when trying to analyze and build upon the themes they have chosen, feeling that their approaches had already been employed in a multitude of projects by other artists.