Curatorial Fellow Monique Long on Fashion in Harlem and Art
In the glossary that accompanied Zora Neale Hurston’s short story “Story in Harlem Slang,” (1942) there are five different terms listed for someone fashionable. Invariably, iconic photographs of Harlemites include those dressed in blindingly fashionable clothes. There’s a rich history and tradition in Harlem that defines the neighborhood not only as the cornerstone of African-American culture but style as well. Visitors and residents alike assimilate to the expectation that you must express yourself fashionably here, demonstrated beautifully by the attendees at our summer opening in July and the monumental drawings by Rob Pruitt of fashionable women that hang in the main gallery.
A Day with Lorna Simpson
On March 30th, artist Lorna Simpson (b. 1960) welcomed the Expanding the Walls (ETW) artists to her Fort Greene, Brooklyn studio for a day of experimentation. As we’re halfway through the 2013 program, the young artists have encountered many points of inspiration generated from countless sources. This particular interaction provided fascinating results that reflected the diverse perspectives of this ETW group.
“…it’s more about [my] experience and the process of making things.”—Lorna Simpson
On February 12, 2009-2010 artist-in-residence Valerie Piraino, whose work is currently on view in Fore, discussed her artistic practice and led a hands-on demonstration as part of our Teaching and Learning Workshop series. They are are exhibition-specific workshops and seminars designed for teachers in core curriculum areas that focus on creative methods for using and integrating art in the classroom. Educators left with an experimental technique that connected to Common Core standards in English and Language Arts (ELA) and Social Studies as well as a lesson plan and model for their classrooms.
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.
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