Monday, August 17, 2009

UPTOWN FRIDAYS: "Afro-Latin Style" with Geko Jones/Ethegy at The Studio Museum in Harlem

WHEN: Friday, August 21, 2009 (Rain Date: August 28th)

WHERE: The Studio Museum in Harlem
144 West 125th Street
(between Malcom X and Adam Clayton Powell Blvds.)

WHAT: Uptown Fridays: Afro-Latin Style with Geko and Ethergy

Uptown Fridays is $15 for members, seniors and students and $20 for the general public.

Uptown Fridays: Afro-Latin Style is produced in collaboration with Abstract Nomadic Media.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Museum of African American History Presents "From Iowa to The White House"

The Museum of African American History
is pleased to announce a
Photography Exhibit and Fundraiser,
From Iowa to The White House
Photographs by Derrick Z. Jackson
Obamas on Election Night
August 27 - September 1, 2009
Cousen Rose Gallery
71 Circuit Avenue
Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard
10 am - 9 pm
Derrick Z. Jackson, an award winning Boston Globe columnist and photographer, will appear at the Cousen Rose Gallery to meet and greet visitors on Thursday, August 27th and Friday August 28th from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Jackson photographed the historic campaign of President Barack Obama from the weekend he announced his candidacy in Feburary 2007 to his first news conference in the White House as president in Feburary 2009.
This exhibit is free and open to the public.
The photos, signed by Jackson, are for sale
to benefit the Museum's youth programs.
For more information on the Museum,


Monday, August 3, 2009

Indianapolis Museum of Art displays Judith G. Levy's Memory Cloud

INDIANAPOLIS , IN - The Indianapolis Museum of Art debuts a work by artist Judith G. Levy, commissioned for the Museum’s ongoing series of site-specific installations in its principal entry pavilion. Levy’s piece, titled Memory Cloud, will be the artist’s first major solo museum exhibition. Memory Cloud will appear as a monumental "cloud" at the center of the IMA’s Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion. The work will comprise approximately 800 translucent plastic photo viewers that hang on strands of microfilament. Visitors will be able to hold individual viewers up to the light to see an image inside. Each of the viewers will contain a unique photograph, drawn from a collection of thousands of found 35mm slide transparencies that the artist has collected throughout the Midwest. These photographs capture people posing for family snapshots, attending holiday events, working, enjoying vacations or simply observing the world around them. On view through 24 January, 2010.

“My goal is that this installation will give visitors an opportunity to create individual and collective experiences, as they are prompted by specific images they see to retrieve some of their own memories and share them with others,” Levy said. “Many of the plastic viewers will be within reach, but others will be inaccessible in order to acknowledge the elusive nature of memory. As I looked through many thousands of slides in my collection from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, I was deeply moved by our very human need to signify an experience with a photograph and by the poignancy in our efforts to try to preserve the moment.”

Judith G. Levy is an artist based in Lawrence, Kansas, who until recently lived and worked in Indianapolis and whose work has been shown at numerous venues throughout the city.

“Levy is an ambitious artist whose work is in dialogue with international trends and may already be familiar to many IMA visitors,” said Lisa Freiman, senior curator of contemporary art at the IMA. “We are pleased to showcase Levy’s project Memory Cloud, which emphasizes visitor interaction and experience, in this installation in the IMA’s entrance pavilion.”

Judith G. Levy - Memory Cloud Installation - Image courtesy of the Indianapolis Museum of ArtLevy’s piece is part of the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion installation series launched in February 2007 and made possible by a $2.5 million grant from the Indianapolis-based Efroymson Fund. The works are installed on a rotating basis with a new commission from a different artist approximately every six months. Levy’s work follows an installation by New York–based artist Orly Genger, titled Whole, which was on display in the IMA’s Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion from November 21, 2008 through June 14, 2009.

Source: AKN

Saturday, August 1, 2009

History speaks out at the newly renovated African American Museum in Philadelphia

THE FLOORS have been covered with carpet depicting 1776 street maps of Philadelphia. The walls mounted with plasma TV screens and multimedia displays. The auditorium expanded and main art galleries spruced up. But the mission of the African American Museum in Philadelphia after its $4.5 million renovation is the same as it was when it opened in 1976: preserve, collect and interpret the history and stories of African-Americans in Philadelphia.

The museum's 30-plus-year history has had its ups and downs. Founded in 1976 during the bicentennial commemoration, it went through a series of financial stumbles and nearly closed in 2004. But after getting a $3 million grant from the city, $500,000 from PECO and the remainder from other donors, the museum got its first face-lift in 33 years. It shut down for three months this spring, but reopened in June with its state-of-the-art displays, interactive exhibits and plans for more improvements.

Ramona Riscoe Benson, president and CEO, estimated that the museum has presented more than 100 exhibits over the past 20 years - collections that make her proud. But she admitted the museum needed some improvements.

"People wanted to see the museum look more modern and less tired," Benson said.

The museum's new permanent exhibit, "Audacious Freedom: African Americans in Philadelphia," traces the impact of African-Americans from 1776-1876. Swelling music, narration and theatrical lighting give life to the two-dimensional timeline which explores the environment, education, religion, entrepreneurship and family traditions of the century.

"This exhibition intends to typify how the black community survived and tell the stories of self-sustaining people like James Forten, Robert Purvis, Richard Allen and Absalom Jones. It really talks about the foundings and the founders of our community,"said curator Richard Watson.

"You had to be an audacious individual to stand up courageously in the kind of oppressive atmosphere that existed back then," he added.

Upstairs in Gallery Two, 10 black trailblazers caught on giant plasma TV screens seem incredibly lifelike as they idle in the darkened room, waiting to interact with visitors. Approach a screen and the figure (played by local actors and filmed at WHYY-TV's studios) delivers a monologue about his or her life, achievements and struggles. A touch-screen allows visitors to pick which topic they want the figure to tell them about.

"Some of these people are little known, if known at all," said Roscoe. "Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, the classical vocalist, or Alice of Dunk's Ferry - these are people who had very rich extraordinary stories but people probably know very little about them. We are very happy to have an opportunity to introduce them to our community and to make them come to life for visitors."

Watson has worked at the museum for 23 years, first as exhibit coordinator and now as curator. He's seen his staff shrink from six to one (himself) and the museum transform from behind the times, to cutting-edge.

Watson's favorite part of his job is localizing history. "If we borrow a history exhibition that deals with a specific tone, or civil rights issue, there's enough civil rights history in Philadelphia to augment that with local history and give relevance to a national story," he said.

He also said the museum's successes today are due to the staff's commitment and resilience. He remembers the temporary layoffs in 2004 and how everyone kept coming to work anyway, without pay.

"It was trying at that time because we didn't know if we would reach a period of recovery, but it's a testament to our small staff's big, dedicated heart. We had no alternative. We wanted to protect the museum and had faith that it would level off, and thank God it did."

Besides the new gallery exhibits, Benson said, the museum hosts receptions, film previews and educational events. It is even becoming a popular stop for family reunions.

In mid-October, the museum will undergo more renovations when it enlarges the entryway, redesigns the building's facade, and expands the gift shop. Benson said the museum hours will change to accommodate construction but that it will remain open during the work.

For the museum's curator, the sky isn't even the limit in terms of possible renovations. In the Conversations Gallery where walls, panels and even the pathway up to the exhibit are covered in history, Watson can't help but look up and say, "Why not?"

"I wish we could have done something with the ceiling," Watson said. "If we could put some monitors and things to prompt people to look up, that'd be great."


On View: Hurvin Anderson-Peter's Series-Studio Museum in Harlem

The Studio Museum in Harlem is proud to present the first solo U.S. museum exhibition of the work of London-based artist Hurvin Anderson. Born in 1965 in Birmingham, United Kingdom to parents of Jamaican descent, Anderson engages the formal traditions of landscape painting and abstraction. Through his paintings, he explores his own relationship to the Caribbean through depictions of complex, personal spaces and memory.

Continuing Anderson’s fascination with and exploration of places imbued with social history, meaning and memory, Hurvin Anderson: Peter’s Series 2007-2009 presents seven paintings and nine works on paper. These works re-imagine spaces created by Caribbean immigrants during the 1950s and 1960s. At that time, barbershops and other places for personal services often were opened in people’s homes and functioned as sites for both social gatherings and economic enterprise. These shop owners and their customers were among a significant wave of immigrants to the United Kingdom from the Caribbean Commonwealth countries after World War II. The barbershop was not only a place to get a haircut, but also a social space in which to meet and talk with one’s friends and neighbors.
For Anderson, the barbershop functions as a personal space loaded with imagery, and also houses intertwined political, economic and social histories. “Peter’s Series” takes as its subject one of the last-known of these spaces—a small attic that was converted into a barbershop where the artist’s father went for haircuts. Finding the space both complex and ambiguous, Anderson explored the technical exercise of recreating it many times. At first intrigued by the physical features of the attic, Anderson focused on the architecture of the room in early paintings, providing multiple perspectives of the space, like a series of portraits. Working from photographs, memory and imagination, Anderson painted and repainted the space, and even repainted a painting of it, continually reducing the interior architecture to its basic colors and simple geometric forms. In later paintings, he centralizes an anonymous figure in the barber’s chair, further negotiating between functional space and shared experience, while also providing a voyeuristic glimpse of a private moment.

Anderson studied at the Wimbledon College of Art and the Royal College of Art in the United Kingdom. His first solo gallery show was in 2003 and in 2006 he was the artist in residence at Dulwich Picture Gallery in London. Earlier this year, Anderson had his first solo museum show at the Tate Britain.

Organized by Thelma Golden, Hurvin Anderson: Peter’s Series 2007-2009 continues the Studio Museum’s commitment to the presentation of new work by international artists of African descent, in solo presentations of work by artists such as David Adjaye, Meschac Gaba, Issac Julien, Chris Ofili and Yinka Shonibare, MBE, and in group exhibitions such as Africanne (2002), Africa Comics (2006) and Flow (2008).

Hurvin Anderson: Peter’s Series 2007-2009 is supported, in part, by a grant from The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

The Studio Museum in Harlem
144 West 125th Street, New York, New York 10027
tel 212.864.4500 fax 212.864.4800