Where We Are

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  • Jacob Lawrence

    War Series: Prayer (from the "War Series"), 1947 

    Tempera on composition board, 16 1/8 × 20 1/4 in.

    Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Roy R. Neuberger 51.6

    © 2017 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY

  • Installation view of the Where We Are: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1900-1960 

    Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, April 28, 2017–

    Photo: Ron Amstutz

On April 28, 2017, Where We Are: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1900–1960 opened. Organized by David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection, with assistant curator Jennie Goldstein and curatorial assistant Margaret Kross, the exhibition takes its title from a line in English-American poet W. H. Auden’s “September 1, 1939.” Auden’s poem, reproduced across one of the gallery walls, was written when German soldiers invaded Poland, marking the beginning of World War II. It conveys the belief that even in seemingly bleak times, there remains hope for humanity.

Kerry James Marshall


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  • Kerry James Marshall
    Silence is Golden, 1986
    Acrylic on panel, 49 × 48 × 2 in.
    The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of the artist  1987.8
    Photo: Marc Bernier

  • Kerry James Marshall
    Scout (Girl), 1995
    Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; gift of the Susan and Lewis Manilow Collection of Chicago Artists
    © 1995 Kerry James Marshall
    Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

There is no doubt that Kerry James Marshall, a 1985–86 Studio Museum artist in residence, has made a name for himself in the contemporary art world as an inspired and imaginative chronicler of the African-American experience via his paintings, drawings, sculptural installations and photography. This season, the largest museum retrospective of his works to date will be the cornerstone of the season at the Met Breuer.

Mastry is a survey of almost eighty of Marshall’s works made over the last thirty-five years, in which he explores conceptions of blackness, and critiques western art history and its exclusion of people of color in canonical painting forms such as historical tableau, landscape and portraiture.

Devin Kenny

Love, The Sinner

  • Photo: Sable Elyse Smith

“The violence associated with [public] art is inseparable from its publicness, especially its exploitation of and by the apparatus of publicity, reproduction, and commercial distribution. The […] obtrusive theatricality of these images hold up a mirror to the nature of the commodified image.” —W. J. T. Mitchell, "The Violence of Public Art: Do The Right Thing"

Making and Unmaking

A Freewheeling Exploration of Artistic Practice

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  • Lorna Simspson
    Cliff, 2016
    Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York

  • Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou
    Untitled (Musclemen Series), 2012
    Courtesy of Jack Bell Gallery

  • Eric Mack
    In Definitely Felt, 2016
    Courtesy the artist and Moran Bondaroff, Los Angeles

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.

The Freedom Principle

Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now

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  • Wadsworth Jarrell

    Revolutionary, 1972

    Courtesy the artist

  • Wadsworth Jarrell

    New Orleans–style group photo in painter Wadsworth Jarrell’s backyard, c. 1968

    Courtesy of George Lewis

  • Jeff Donaldson

    Jampact and Jelly Tite (For Jamila), 1988

    Photo: Mark Gulezian, Quicksilver Photographers

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.

Inspiring Beauty

50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair

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  • Givenchy by Alexander McQueen

    Evening Ensemble, Fall/Winter 1997–1998

    Courtesy Milwaukee Art Museum

    © International Art & Artists

  • Tilmann Grawe

    Cocktail Dress, Fall/Winter 2003–2004

    Courtesy Milwaukee Art Museum

    © International Art & Artists

It is always interesting to see the unplanned through lines that appear between exhibitions at different institutions. Just as we at the Studio Museum prepare to close Speaking of People: Ebony, Jet and Contemporary Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum has opened another exhibition centered around the role of the Johnson Publishing Company in defining concepts of beauty, style and empowerment for African Americans.


Thelma's Current Exhibition Picks

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  • Lamar Peterson
    The Window, 2010
    Courtesy the artist and Fredricks & Freiser, New York

  • Archibald Motley
    Nightlife, 1943
    The Art Institute of Chicago; Restricted gift of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Field, Jack and Sandra Guthman, Ben W. Heineman, Ruth Horwich, Lewis and Susan Manilow, Beatrice C. Mayer, Charles A. Meyer, John D. Nichols, and Mr. and Mrs. E.B. Smith, Jr.; James W. Alsdorf Memorial Fund; Goodman Endowment, 1992.89

  • Yinka Shonibare, MBE
    Magic Ladder Kid I, 2013
    Commissioned by The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia
    Image courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York

  • Herbert Gentry
    Dance Turquoise, 1978
    Courtesy Mary Ann Rose/The Estate of Herbert Gentry

Blue Plastic Bubbles: Paintings by Lamar Peterson
On view through April 5, 2014
University Art Museum, SUNY Albany
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222

Around Town

Gulu Real Art Studio: Martina Bacigalupo

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  • Obal Dennis: “I choose backgrounds according to the person’s request, depending on the purpose of the photograph. For instance the “UWMFO,” (United Women for Co-operative Saving Society) wants their members to have their photos taken [with] a red background, I don’t know why—that’s their policy.”

    Image courtesy the artist and the Walther Collection

  • Patterns of dress and even aberrations in patterns are signs we normally read unconsciously but become more legible when the face is missing from the composition.

    Image courtesy the artist and the Walther Collection

  • Denis: “Red background is really fitting for our dark skin; it brings out the tone on the skin and makes it look nicer.”

    Image courtesy the artist and the Walther Collection


  • Gomesi (the garment worn here) is traditional African dress, most often worn by women who are well-to-do and married as a sign of being respectable.

    Image courtesy the artist and the Walther Collection

  • Denis: “My father taught me to be a professional photographer but as a young man we also discovered taking photos in a landscape format and full pose, seated on a stool. Then we punch out the heads to make passport photos. My father is very much against it this way because it’s not professional but it helps serve our customers’ needs when they need only one or two copies.”

    Image courtesy the artist and the Walther Collection

“There is no art to find the mind’s construction in the face...” Macbeth, William Shakespeare

What constitutes a portrait when the face of the subject is removed from the composition? A critical mass of 73 photographs, the Gulu Real Art Studio installation, recently on view at The Walther Collection Project Space in Chelsea, presented such portraits for contemplation. The images included in the exhibition were found materials salvaged from the trash behind a studio in Gulu, a town in northern Uganda, each portrait had the face cut out for use on official documents. After gaining permission, Italian photojournalist Martina Bacigalupo, who happened to be at the studio for her own portrait, was compelled to begin collecting the discarded photographs.

On Location

Curatorial Intern Margo Cohen Ristorucci checks out Jacolby Satterwhite's latest project, Grey Lines

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  • Jacolby Satterwhite programming his technology, preparing to film visitors to Recess
    Image courtesy the artist and Recess Activities, Inc., New York

  • Jacolby getting his bodysuit on a mannequin for the window display at Recess
    Image courtesy the artist and Recess Activities, Inc., New York

  • Jacolby Satterwhite in costume, filming visitors  at Recess
    Photo: Margo Cohen Ristorucci

  • Curatorial Intern Margo Ristorucci performing an interpretation of the drawing given to her by Satterwhite
    Photo: Margo Cohen Ristorucci

Over the past two months, Jacolby Satterwhite has transformed Recess Activities’s Soho space into an interactive performance, inviting passersby to act out his mother Patricia Satterwhite’s schematic drawings for Grey Lines—the newest work in his series, The Matriarch’s Rhapsody (2012). Recess’s primary program, Session, grants artists funding and access to its Soho and Red Hook locations to use as studios, exhibition venues or hybridized spaces of artistic experimentation. Over the course of his Session (August 17–October 12, 2013), Satterwhite created a 3D animated video incorporating drawing, CG animation and improvised or mediated performance.

Face to Face with the Duke of NOLA

Communications Assistant Kimberly Drew on her visit to Rashaad Newsome’s solo exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art

  • Rashaad Newsome
    Duke of NOLA, 2011
    Courtesy the artist and Marlborough Gallery, New York

I really wish I had heeded everyone's warnings when I embarked on my vacation to New Orleans. Friends said, "You'll love it there" and "Prepare for the best time of your life!" No one said, "Kim, prepare yourself for depression of massive proportions as your board your plane back to JFK..."

A week before my flight, I drafted my itinerary - I knew I'd have to see Rashaad Newsome's King of Arms at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and eat a po' boy. I didn't want to get too ambitious heading to a new city without a plan for transportation.  My primary goal was taking it easy in the “Big Easy”.