NEW YORK, NY, September 5, 2019 — The Studio Museum in Harlem today announced its fall 2019 schedule of exhibitions and programs, presented at partner institutions throughout Harlem, New York City, and the nation. As the Studio Museum prepares for construction of its new home on West 125th Street, designed by Adjaye Associates with Cooper Robertson, these projects allow for the expansion of the Museum’s mission and the advancement of new work by artists of African descent.
Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, said, “The Studio Museum’s fall schedule offers a fascinating range of artistic themes and approaches, presented in collaboration with an equally extraordinary spectrum of partner institutions: NYC Parks, Danspace Project, MoMA, and beyond.
Whether the works in these initiatives are site-specific outdoor installations, performances, paintings, or a generous sampling of a historic collection, they bring dynamic visions by artists of African descent outside our walls and into dialogue with new and expanded audiences.”
The fall programs kick off in central Harlem with Chloë Bass: Wayfinding, the conceptual artist’s first institutional solo exhibition, presented as part of the Studio Museum’s ongoing inHarlem initiative. On view from September 28, 2019, to September 27, 2020, in St. Nicholas Park, the monumental commission features twenty-four site-specific sculptures that gesture toward the structural and visual vernacular of public wayfinding signage. Through a combination of texts and archival images, Bass’s sculptures explore dimensions of language, both visual and written, and encourage moments of private reflection in a public space.
In celebration of the Studio Museum’s acquisition of the first work of performance art to enter its collection—WALL (2014–16) by Autumn Knight, a 2016–17 artist in residence—the Studio Museum will join with Danspace Project to present Autumn Knight: WALL. Scheduled for October 5, 2019, at Danspace Project in New York’s East Village, the work is a series of sounds, rituals, and actions influenced by the Western Wall, or Wailing Wall, in Jerusalem and the Galveston Seawall in Texas. The work reimagines walls as psychological, spiritual, and embodied places. Knight envisions a sanctuary informed by black feminist experience: a loosely defined internal space where burdens can be placed, imagination is fostered, and mental and physical survival strategies can emerge. First staged in Galveston in 2014 and subsequently in Houston in 2016, WALL is being performed in New York City for the first time.
As part of an exciting multiyear partnership with The Museum of Modern Art, Projects 110: Michael Armitage will open on October 21, 2019, as the inaugural installation of Studio Museum at MoMA, The Elaine Dannheisser Project Series. Curated by Thelma Golden with Legacy Russell and organized in collaboration with MoMA, Projects 110 is Armitage’s first solo exhibition in a U.S. museum. The presentation will feature eight paintings that examine the shared cultural histories of Kenya and the United Kingdom, and interrogate contemporary visual culture in timely dialogue with art history and the legacy of Modernism as it veers toward—and breaks away from—the West.
The traveling exhibition Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem continues its national tour, proceeding from the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina, to the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Michigan, where it will open on September 14, 2019. The exhibition, organized with the American Federation of Arts, offers a selection of nearly a hundred works by more than seventy artists from the 1920s to the present.
Fall 2019 Exhibitions and Projects
Chloë Bass: Wayfinding
September 28, 2019–September 27, 2020
St. Nicholas Park, Harlem
Chloë Bass: Wayfinding is the conceptual artist’s first institutional solo exhibition. The monumental commission is situated in Harlem’s St. Nicholas Park and features twenty-four site-specific sculptures that echo the structural and visual language of public wayfinding signage. The artist poses three central questions: How much of care is patience? How much of life is coping? How much of love is attention?
These questions, along with images and other texts by the artist, are positioned as wayfinding signage along various pathways throughout St. Nicholas Park. The artist seeks to encourage moments of private reflection in public space, and invites visitors to explore the park spurred by these gentle sculptural interventions. In posing these questions, the artist seeks to build a bridge between internal thought and external social and political dialogue. Sited throughout the park at varying scales, Bass’s statements and images consider familial intimacy, desire, anxiety, and loss. This questioning is amplified by the artist’s audio guide, which carries listeners through sharply composed vignettes that grapple with notions of site, memory, belonging, joy, and risk.
The billboards that anchor Wayfinding mirror Harlem as it transforms over time, reflecting what Bass observes as “gentrification and the quiet force it enacts” on a city in constant flux. Across the landscape of St. Nicholas Park, the artist carries the viewer on a journey through the self and toward a collective consciousness. Wayfinding makes space to be lost and found, in a vulnerable interrogation of the known and unknown. In the artist’s words, “You’ll have to trust me when I say that many of the things I appear to know most deeply, I feel I know by accident.”
Chloë Bass is a multiform conceptual artist working in performance, situation, conversation, publication, and installation. Her work uses daily life as a site of deep research to address scales of intimacy: where patterns hold and break as group sizes expand. She has held numerous fellowships and residencies, most recently from Art Matters, Denniston Hill, BRIC, and Recess. Her projects, publications, and performances have been presented nationally and internationally at such venues as BAK (basis voor actuele kunst), Kunsthalle Wilhelmshaven (upcoming), The Knockdown Center, The Kitchen, The Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and Temple Contemporary, among others.
Chloë Bass: Wayfinding is an inHarlem project organized by Legacy Russell, Associate Curator, Exhibitions, and presented in partnership with St. Nicholas Park and NYC Parks.
Autumn Knight: WALL
October 5, 2019, 3 pm and 8 pm
St. Mark’s Church
131 East 10th Street
Autumn Knight: WALL celebrates the Studio Museum’s acquisition of WALL (2014–16) by 2016–17 artist in residence Autumn Knight. Featuring the first performance to enter the Museum’s permanent collection, Autumn Knight: WALL is presented by the Studio Museum and Danspace Project. Performed by Knight in collaboration with Natasha L. Turner, the work features a femme/black-identifying ensemble and portrays a series of sounds, rituals, and actions influenced by the Western Wall, or Wailing Wall, in Jerusalem and the Galveston Seawall in Texas, and reimagines walls through black feminist experience as psychological, spiritual, and embodied places. Knight creates a sanctuary through this performance: a loosely defined internal space where burdens can be placed, imagination is fostered, and mental and physical survival strategies can emerge. First staged in Galveston in 2014 and subsequently in Houston in 2016, WALL is being performed in New York City for the first time.
Autumn Knight: WALL marks an important phase in the Studio Museum’s acquisition process, ensuring that the embodied knowledge of Knight’s performance and participatory practice is contextualized within the Museum’s collection. Support for the production and acquisition of WALL is directed by living archives specialist Cori Olinghouse on behalf of The Portal. The collaboration builds on an existing partnership between the Studio Museum and Danspace Project through its ongoing support of performance artists of color.
Autumn Knight is an interdisciplinary artist working with performance, installation, video, and text. Her performance and video works have been on view at various institutions including Krannert Art Museum in Champaign, Illinois; the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond; Human Resources Los Angeles; The High Line; and Akademie der Künste in Berlin. Knight is the recipient of an Art Matters grant (2018). Her performance work is held in the permanent collection of The Studio Museum in Harlem. Knight participated in the 2019 Whitney Biennial as a performance and video artist.
Natasha L. Turner currently serves as the Community Relations Manager for a nonprofit organization that provides services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). In this role, she ensures that individuals with I/DD are provided necessary resources for living their lives as independently as possible. Having earned a BA in Speech Communication and Business from Texas Southern University, Turner has built a career crafting communication and brand awareness platforms for small businesses, educational, arts, and nonprofit organizations. Though not a full-time artist, through a series of opportunities provided by artists including Autumn Knight, Robert Pruitt, and Nathaniel Donnett, Turner has been able to pursue some of her creative and artistic aspirations through sound and movement.
Cori Olinghouse is an interdisciplinary artist working across the intersection of performance, archives, and visual storytelling. In 2017 she founded The Portal, a living archives initiative and research studio dedicated to the archiving and contextualizing of performance practices and embodied histories in motion. Her approach to performance archiving has been celebrated at the Museum of Modern Art, Duke University, Bard College, and Wesleyan University. Formerly, as archive director for the Trisha Brown Dance Company, she developed a cataloging and preservation initiative to assist in the legacy planning for Brown’s company and archive (2009–2018), a company she danced for from 2002–06. She holds an MA in Performance Curation from the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University, and serves as visiting faculty at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.
Danspace Project presents new work in dance, supports a diverse range of choreographers in developing their work, encourages experimentation, and connects artists to audiences. For forty-five years, Danspace Project has supported a vital community of contemporary dance artists in an environment unlike any other in the United States. Located in the historic St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, Danspace shares its facility with the Church, The Poetry Project, and New York Theatre Ballet. Danspace Project’s Commissioning Initiative has commissioned over 570 new works since its inception in 1994. Danspaceproject.org
Autumn Knight: WALL is organized by Eric Booker, Assistant Curator and Exhibition Coordinator, and presented in partnership with Danspace Project.
Projects 110: Michael Armitage
October 21, 2019–January 20, 2020
The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street
Projects 110: Michael Armitage, the first U.S. solo museum exhibition by Michael Armitage, is a presentation of eight paintings that explore the shared cultural histories of Kenya and the United Kingdom.
The grouping of work interrogates contemporary visual culture in timely dialogue with art history and the legacy of Modernism as it veers toward—and breaks from—the West. Alongside a Modernist influence, Armitage draws inspiration from East African artists such as Meek Gichugu, Chelenge, and Jak Katarikawe. The artist celebrates a living lineage of narrative, abstraction, and color, looking toward the future and past in homage to the rich and complicated history of painting.
An intervention within the painterly canon, Armitage’s work employs lubugo bark cloth in lieu of canvas as a foundation for paintings. First encountered by the artist in 2010 in a Nairobi tourist market, the fabric is Ugandan in origin. Across these compositions, Armitage oscillates between the real and the surreal, the celebratory and the sinister. He merges memories of Kenya with media depictions of East Africa, a consciousness traversing lines of sociopolitical unrest. Evoking how political reportage, African bodies, and the body politic are traded as capital, the works highlight the fraught relationship between Africa and the West on the global stage.
Michael Armitage was born in 1984 in Nairobi, Kenya, and lives and works in London. He received his BA in Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art in London (2007), and has a postgraduate diploma from the Royal Academy Schools in London (2010). Solo exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney (2019); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2019); South London Gallery (2017); Turner Contemporary, Margate, United Kingdom (2017); White Cube, Hong Kong (2017); Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, California (2016); and White Cube, London (2015). Selected group exhibitions include the 58th Venice Biennale (2019); Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, North Carolina (2018); Prospect.4, New Orleans (2017); Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2017); HOME, Manchester, United Kingdom (2016); Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, United Kingdom (2016); Yuan Art Museum, Beijing (2015); 13th Biennale de Lyon, France (2015); Palazzo Capris, Turin (2015); South London Gallery (2014); and Drawing Room, London (2013).
Projects 110: Michael Armitage is organized by Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator, with Legacy Russell, Associate Curator, Exhibitions, as part of a multiyear partnership between The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Museum of Modern Art, and MoMA PS1. Building on the institutions’ existing affiliations and shared values, this wide-ranging collaboration encompasses exhibitions and programming at both The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1, and takes place during the Studio Museum’s construction of its new facility.
The inHarlem initiative encompasses a wide range of artistic and programmatic ventures, from site-specific artists’ projects to collaborative presentations with civic and cultural partners in Harlem. The initiatives began in August 2016 with commissioned works by Kevin Beasley, Simone Leigh, Kori Newkirk, and Rudy Shepherd realized in Morningside Park, Marcus Garvey Park, St. Nicholas Park, and Jackie Robinson Park, respectively. More recently, works by Derrick Adams, Firelei Báez, Maren Hassinger, Kambui Olujimi, and Andre D. Wagner have been presented with collaborators including the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Marcus Garvey Park, and the NYPL Countee Cullen, Harlem, and George Bruce Libraries.
About The Studio Museum in Harlem
Founded in 1968 by a diverse group of artists, community activists, and philanthropists, The Studio Museum in Harlem is internationally known for its catalytic role in promoting the work of artists of African descent. As it celebrates its 50th anniversary, the Studio Museum is preparing to construct a new home at its longtime location on Manhattan’s West 125th Street, designed by Adjaye Associates in collaboration with Cooper Robertson. The first building created expressly for the institution’s program, it will enable the Studio Museum to better serve a growing and diverse audience, provide additional educational opportunities for people of all ages, expand its program of world-renowned exhibitions, effectively display its singular collection, and strengthen its trailblazing Artist-in-Residence program.
While the Studio Museum is currently closed for construction, the Museum has opened Studio Museum 127, a temporary programming space at 429 West 127th Street, and is working to deepen its roots in its neighborhood through inHarlem, a dynamic set of collaborative initiatives. The Museum’s groundbreaking exhibitions, thought-provoking conversations, and engaging art-making workshops continue at a variety of partner and satellite locations in Harlem and beyond.
For more information, visit studiomuseum.org.
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The Studio Museum in Harlem’s inHarlem program is made possible thanks to Citi; the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust; and The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.
The acquisition of Autumn Knight’s WALL was made possible by the Studio Museum’s Acquisition Committee.
Additional support is generously provided by The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Council; and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.