Global Council Goes to Europe

This past July, The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Global Council traveled to both London and Venice for a whirlwind tour of museums, private collections, galleries and artists’ studios.

Global Council members and Museum staff at the Venice Biennale U.S. Pavilion with artist Mark Bradford, in front of Bradford’s Go Tell it on the Mountain (2016)

Beginning with the opening of the landmark exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power at the Tate Modern, travelers had the opportunity to preview the work of more than sixty artists. The following two days were spent traversing London to visit galleries, private collections and studios. Highlights included breakfast at the home of Global Council member and Serpentine Gallery CEO, Yana Peel; a tour of Arthur Jafa: A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions at the Serpentine Gallery; private gallery viewings of works by Kerry James Marshall, Kehinde Wiley, Oscar Murillo, Chris Ofili, Alma Thomas, Yinka Shonibare and Melvin Edwards, among many more; and a private screening of Small Boats by Isaac Julien at his studio. Travelers also had the opportunity to tour Adjaye Associates, where they received an insider’s glimpse of plans for the new Studio Museum. The London leg of the trip concluded with a black-tie dinner at the Berkeley Hotel, where Hilton Als delivered an impassioned speech expressing the important role that the Studio Museum plays on a global scale.

The group then continued to Venice, where a major highlight was a surprise appearance by Mark Bradford, who gave the group a private tour of his incredible exhibition in the American Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale. Other high points of the group’s time in Venice were visits to the inaugural Antigua and Barbuda Pavilion—where the work of Frank Walter was exhibited—as well as the Pinchuk Art Centre’s exhibition of the Future Generation Art Prize artists, with former artists in residence Njideja Akunyili Crosby and EJ Hill among them. The trip concluded with a remarkable twelve-course dinner followed by a ride on private water taxis to watch the annual firework show in celebration of the traditional Venetian Festa del Redentore.

The annual Global Council trip not only gives our most dedicated friends the opportunity to share a remarkable experience, but also allows the Museum to expand its role and reputation as the nexus of artists of African descent—locally, nationally and internationally. Global Council is our premier patron group, and is reserved for those who give at the level of $5,000 of unrestricted support or more annually.

—Joshua Bell