Inside Shinique Smith's Studio
Artist Shinique Smith is in the process of relocating studios. The space reminded me of something along the lines of large thrift store filled with vibrantly colored textiles, clothes, and miscellaneous curiosities. Perhaps the moving process added to the delightful cacophony of the place, contributing to a sense of movement that is equally felt in her paintings filled with dizzying swirls, psychedelic colors and often accessorized with a range of found objects from Hostess cupcake boxes to Chik-fil-A bags to plastic corn stalks.
“When I’m making a painting I don’t want to feel like I’m writing a thesis,” said William Villalongo on a warm July afternoon in his Brooklyn studio. As curatorial interns, we were thrilled to begin our week not-so-silently shadowing Assistant Curator Naima Keith on a studio visit. Villalongo, a Cooper Union trained artist and Yale lecturer in the painting and print department, surprised us with the variety of work in his studio. Though diverse, his pieces were united by an imaginative rather than a strict, formulaic process.
Like all normal people, I hate public speaking. No one can avoid the performance anxiety that comes with rows of faces watching you squirm as you try to sell them something clever. But why be an artist then, since artists are in many ways always speaking to a public about what is dearest to their hearts? Of course the “voice” of the artist and ordinary speech act are different things. The former is developed and exercised mostly in the private quarters of a studio, while the latter is a universal attempt at getting at signification. Both of these voices, or rather any voice, according to Lacanian theory (I hope you are happy Liz!), is “everything in the signifier that does not partake in the effect of signification.” This is so because it is only through the structure of both lexicon and syntax that intention of signification registers. This obviously means that the voice does not partake in this structure, thus it is a remainder.
in conversation with Lauren Haynes
In case you missed The Artist's Voice featuting Kira Lynn Harris in conversation with Assistant Curator Lauren Haynes last month, check it out here!
On March 29, 2012 Assistant Curator Lauren Haynes sat down with Kira Lynn Harris to discuss her current exhibition Kira Lynn Harris: The Block | Bellona. In this exhibition, Harris reimagines The Block (1971), Romare Bearden’s iconic, six-panel, eighteen-foot-long collage depicting life in Harlem. With The Block as a touchstone, Harris, whose interdisciplinary practice mixes video, photography, drawing, painting and site-specific installation, creates a scene of a contemporary, alternate Harlem.
The Board of Trustees and staff of The Studio Museum in Harlem salute the life and legacy of Elizabeth Catlett, one of the most exceptional artists of our time. Her incomparable commitment to art, education and activism will influence and inspire generations to come, and she will be deeply missed. Our sincere condolences to her family.
Read more from The New York Times.
The public response to the Kehinde Wiley show at the Jewish Museum, The World Stage: Israel has sparked interest in his earlier body of works, which is fantastic! We are always excited to see interviews and footage resurface so we can reflect on an artist's work.
On a chilly winter afternoon, Assistant Curator, Naima J. Keith and I dropped in on world-renowned and revered abstract artist Jack Whitten. Intent on leaving the bustle and chaos behind in Manhattan, Jack converted an old firehouse on a quiet street in Woodside, Queens into his studio 9 years ago.
As we stepped into his spacious main room that has been arranged as part gallery/workspace on one side and living/domestic space on the other, our eyes were immediately drawn to a wall covered with photographs, posters, bones, and wood pieces. He began telling us about his love for deep sea fishing and Crete, which is where many of the skeletons arranged throughout the workspace came from. There was an image of Nkisi Power Figures from Kongo, which were the root of inspiration for all of the impeccable wooden sculptures that Whitten has been creating since the 1960s.
in Conversation with Lauren Haynes
Enjoy a clip from last week's The Artist Voice: Robert Pruitt in Conversation with Lauren Haynes. Pruitt discusses Romare Bearden's impact and influence on his artwork and the impetus behind his drawing Conjuring Woman, 2011 featured in The Bearden Project (on view through March 11, 2012).
Jack Haynes draws pictures. After graduating from high school in 1999, he spent two years at Illinois State University studying illustration before moving to Chicago to pursue his passion, hoping that a career would soon follow. As a freelance designer, he has designed stationery, logos, invitations, books, and other printed matter for several companies. He loves comics and hopes to author and illustrate his own one day. On Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jack Haynes, pick his brain and flip through his sketchbook.
Your work spans a plethora of different media, what kind of artist would you classify yourself as?
It's difficult to truly feel like an artist of any medium at 30 with so much to still learn and do. I have put the most study into human figure illustration and painting.
How do you describe your style?