Harlem Postcards is an ongoing project that invites contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds to reflect on Harlem as a site of cultural activity, political vitality, visual stimuli, artistic contemplation and creative production. Representing intimate and dynamic perspectives of Harlem, the images reflect the idiosyncratic visions of contemporary artists from a wide range of backgrounds and locations. Each photograph has been reproduced as a limited edition postcard available free to visitors.

This season, we are pleased to feature postcard images by Marina Adams, Chester Higgins Jr., Catherine Opie and Trokon Nagbe.

Harlem Postcards is organized by Hallie Ringle, Assistant Curator.

Frontpage Order: 
Marina Adams Harlem Postcard Spring 2016

Marina Adams

Harlem Postcard 2, 2016

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Harlem Postcard 2 comes out of my many years working with pattern and color on paper and canvas. When I was asked by The Studio Museum in Harlem for an image for Harlem Postcards, I chose this piece because the strong contrasts of drawing and color reference sound and movement, and speak to me of the vitality, culture and streets of Harlem. It seems to have the right beat.

Born in Orange, NJ

Lives and works in New York, NY, and Parma, Italy

Chester Higgins Jr. Harlem Postcard Spring 2016

Chester Higgins Jr.

Harlem Spirit, 2015

© Chester Higgins Jr./

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In my work I look for the signature of the Spirit. When I see leaves, I see the magic of being and the interconnectedness of all things. This leaf shared the space, elements and moods of the day, and gave respite from the Harlem sun.

Born 1946, Lexington, KY
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY

Trokon Nagbe Harlem Postcard Spring 2016

Trokon Nagbe

Kora, 2016

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The kora is a twenty-one-string harp instrument found in a number of African countries, including Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso and the Gambia. Before I even knew the instrument’s name, I felt a deep connection to its sound. The numerous strings give the kora a complex, layered sound that matches its West African origins. My curiosity about the instrument led me to Salieu Suso, who was born in the Gambia and immigrated to Harlem in the mid-1980s. Suso comes from a long family tradition of kora players, including his renowned father, Musa Makang Suso, who began his training at age eight.

Born 1977, Bassa County, Liberia

Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY

Catherine Opie Harlem Postcard Spring 2016

Catherine Opie

Harlem Winter, 2016


© Catherine Opie, Courtesy of Regen Projects, Los Angeles and Lehmann Maupin, New York & Hong Kong

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It was a cold and crisp morning, with the light streaming along 125th Street, when I chose a simple path off the subway and turned to walk west. In Los Angeles the previous week I had shown my students the work of Roy DeCarava; his work was a touchstone during my early years as a street photographer. There is a moment when I look at things when they align for a composition that has the essence of narrative. That frozen moment is what photography does so well. A mixture of old with new, and evidence that Christmas has passed—this is my ode to DeCarava.

Born 1961, Sandusky, OH

Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA