For Kura Shomali, an artist living and working in Kinshasa, Congo, L’art est une camisole et je ne sais comment la porte; une peur intérieure de ne pas pouvoir répondre aux peurs collectives. Seul l’art pourra l’apaiser.
"Art is a straight jacket and I do not know how to wear it; an inner fear of not being able to meet the collective fears. Only art can soothe."
Will Rawls in Conversation with Thomas J. Lax
Dancer and choreographer Will Rawls (b. 1978) recently finished performing in British-German artist Tino Sehgal’s (b. 1976) This Variation, in dOCUMENTA (13). Founded in 1955 in the wake of World War II, documenta is an exhibition of international contemporary art occurring every five years in Kassel, Germany. In This Variation, audience-members enter a darkened room in Hugenottenhaus, a disused building in Kassel constructed by migrant workers in the early nineteenth century. A group of contemporary dancers, singers, musicians, physical theater actors and a mime respond with sounds, speech fragments and movement phrases, what Rawls calls a “dramaturgy of events”. The work is made live, as the order, volume, and direction of the dramaturgy are decided by and communicated amongst the dancers in direct response to the audience.
The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
Harlem is the center of African-American culture. Being a Harlem native, I know this is a neighborhood built on a rich and remarkable history that spans decades. One recent afternoon, I took some time to reflect on this neighborhood's tradition and beauty (all through the lens of my smart phone)! As I stepped outside I was immediately enveloped by the hustle and bustle of 125th Street.
I made my way up to 145th Street and Frederick Douglass Blvd. and commenced my mini photo tour through Harlem. As I was taking photos, the memories of the Harlem I used to know came flooding back to mind. It finally dawned on me how much Harlem has physically changed!
I realize now more than ever that I should appreciate the things that are familiar all the while accepting changes that are for the better. Feel free to check out some photos from my day in Harlem!
Gordon Parks: 100 Years at the International Center of Photography
In June, I visited the International Center of Photography to view Gordon Parks: 100 Years, an ambitious hundred-year retrospective of Gordon Parks’s photography. The exhibition celebrates the centennial birth of the multitalented photographer and filmmaker. I arrived from the museum’s south side. After a few minutes of searching, I was guided to the gallery’s north side to a massive window display. Behind the display was a 20-by 13-foot mural of Parks’s Emerging Man. Three monitors were placed in front of the image, each shifting through various Parks photographs.
Interview with Benjamin Barson
On Friday, June 22nd, Katrina De Wees, Education Assistant at The Studio Museum in Harlem, sat down with Benjamin Barson, Production Manager at Ginny’s Supper Club Red Rooster Harlem, to discuss his most recent project, in collaboration with Arturo O’Farrill’s Grammy Award Winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and El Museo Del Barrio.
Katrina De Wees: Can you start with an introduction of yourself?
Assistant Curator Naima Keith Attends "Made in L.A." Opening
Last week, I swapped coasts to attend the opening of “Made in L.A. 2012,” Los Angeles’s first biennial. “Made in L.A. 2012”—collaboratively organized by the Hammer Museum and LAXART—is an exciting survey of contemporary artistic production in L.A., exhibiting new work from sixty emerging and under-recognized artists produced for the biennial. Although many of the participating artists share the same zip code, their work is incredibly diverse spanning all imaginable themes and mediums—imbuing this LA-based exhibition with international relevance. Matching the immensity of the L.A. landmass, the large-scale exhibition is installed in three different locations throughout the city: The Hammer Museum in Westwood, LAXART in Culver City, and the Department of Cultural Affairs Gallery in Barnsdall Park.
at Lumen Gallery, NYC
April 23, 2012 marked Arts & Minds’ first-ever exhibition opening at Lumen Gallery in New York City, celebrating the artwork created by the program’s participants at The Studio Museum in Harlem over the course of the year.
In the Fall of 2011, program participants dove deep into collage, inspired by the Studio Museum's Fall exhibition, The Bearden Project. Watercolors, newspaper, and even natural materials such as eucalyptus and twigs were used to interpret the participant’s own creative responses to various works from The Bearden Project. The evolution of the participants' technique and ability was clearly visible that night, and the framed artworks were proof of how powerful art can be as a therapeutic tool. Meanwhile, the artists behind the artwork glowed with pride.
at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Last seen in the spring of 2010, Romare Bearden’s The Block (1971) is on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in celebration of the centennial of his birthday. On the eve of his first museum retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1971, Bearden was seated in writer and close friend Albert Murray’s apartment, as he recorded the view of Lenox Avenue between 132nd and 133rd streets in a series of sketches, which informed the process for the six paneled, 18 foot wide triumph, The Block.
Kehinde Wiley Preview | The Wind Up at The Jewish Museum
One amazing truth about Hip-Hop music is that it has the power to embed itself anywhere in the world and become part of a global urban culture. Drop a beat, enter your language here, and it becomes a vessel, a mirror of whatever you want it to be. Last night at The Jewish Museum, Hip-Hop reflected a beautiful mix of language, religion, art and culture in The Wind Up. Israel and Hip-Hop were all wrapped up in one beautiful package inspired by Kehinde Wiley’s newest exhibition, The World Stage: Israel, at The Jewish Museum.
Beginning Thursday, March 8, Piers 92 and 94 will house the Armory Show, a leading international modern and contemporary art fair. Now in its fourteenth year, the Armory Show 2012 offers a more diverse and comprehensive representation of the global art world than ever before. Unique to this year, the fair will feature 2012 Commission Artist Theaster Gates, while the Amory Focus will highlight contemporary art from the Nordic countries. Gates is an artist and cultural planner whose practice ranges from sculpture to installation and performance to urban intervention. Through the re-purposing of historical objects and contemporary sites, Gates activates the memories and ephemera of our past to generate a provoking yet poetic understanding of cultural moments and spaces today.