'The Bearden Project' brings together work by contemporary artists who have all been influenced by this 20th-century master. Kira Lynn Harris reimagines The Block (1971), Romare Bearden's iconic, six-panel, 18-foot-long collage depicting life in Harlem. For 'VideoStudio' is an ongoing series of video and film installations, it now presents works by Rodney McMillian and Robin Rhode. 'Collected. Ritual' explores the performative and process-oriented aspects of making art. 'Who, What, Wear': Selections from the Permanent Collection looks at evolutions in style, self-expression, fashion, artistic technique and societal ideals of beauty. Harlem Postcards, an ongoing project, invites contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds to reflect on Harlem, for Fall/Winter 11-12: Noel Anderson, Cheryl Donegan, Mariamma Kambon, Devin Troy Strother.
The Bearden Project
Nov 10, 2011 - Mar 11, 2012
September 2, 2011, marked the centennial of the birth of Romare Bearden (1911–1988) and the beginning of a year-long celebration of this significant and singular artist. In tribute to Bearden, who was deeply involved with the founding of The Studio Museum in Harlem, and whose artwork is a cornerstone of our collection, the Studio Museum has initiated The Bearden Project.
The Bearden Project brings together work by contemporary artists who have all been influenced by this twentieth-century master. Bearden was born in North Carolina and then spent much of his life in New York—Harlem in particular. Some of the artists in the exhibition, a sampling of the generations he affected, knew him personally. Others attended lectures and talks given by him when they were young artists just beginning their careers, and still others never met him in person, but flocked to exhibitions featuring his artworks when they were students. For many of the younger artists in this exhibition, Bearden was one of the first black artists they ever encountered.
The artists in The Bearden Project work in a wide range of media and are at different stages in their careers, but each was given the task of creating a work of art inspired by Bearden’s life and legacy. The artists mined a wide range of ideas and themes associated with Bearden’s career, including Modernism, urbanism, jazz and, of course, the medium of collage. The majority chose to make new works for the exhibition, while others submitted earlier works that honor or were inspired by Bearden. For those who created collages, the medium is interpreted in a variety of ways: traditional pasted paper collages, three-dimensional works, or works that play with the limits of the medium.
The variety is a fitting tribute to Bearden, whose own collage style was multifaceted and varied, like his career. While their contributions are distinct and diverse, the artists in this exhibition are united in building a lasting tribute to Romare Bearden.
In the spirit of Bearden’s ongoing impact on the art world, The Bearden Project will continue to grow. More artworks will be added through the fall/winter 2011–12 exhibition season, and select collages from the project will stay on view at the Museum through September 2, 2012.
http://thebeardenproject.studiomuseum.org mirrors this dynamism. Each week we’ll spotlight ten featured artists, sharing their story of inspiration and a high-resolution image of their artwork. info: email@example.com
The Bearden Project was organized by Assistant Curator Lauren Haynes. For more information about the Romare Bearden centennial celebration, please visit www.beardencentennial.org
The Studio Museum in Harlem’s exhibitions are supported with public funds from the following government agencies and elected representatives: The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; The City of New York; and Council Member Inez E. Dickens, 9th Council District, Speaker Christine Quinn and the New York City Council. Additional funding is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Kira Lynn Harris
The Block - Bellona
Nov 10, 2011 - May 27, 2012
Kira Lynn Harris reimagines The Block (1971), Romare Bearden’s iconic, six-panel, eighteen-foot-long collage depicting life in Harlem. Bearden’s “block” is occupied by a church, a grocery store, a barbershop, apartment buildings and the people of Harlem who inhabit those spaces. 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 Project Space is a dynamic location dedicated to site-specific works and projects at the Studio Museum. This facet of the Museum’s exhibition program continues our commitment to activating multiple architectural sites throughout the building—such as the lobby, atrium and façade—that provide artists with laboratories for innovative contemporary art projects.
Rodney McMillian / Robin Rhode
Nov 10, 2011 - Mar 11, 2012
Rodney McMillian: Untitled (futon)
November 10, 2011–January 15, 2012
Rodney McMillian’s (b. 1969) Untitled (futon)—shot in one static take, using lo-fi equipment—depicts the artist repeatedly stabbing a futon with a knife, reducing the mattress to a pile of cotton, which he subsequently discards. In the video, McMillian uses performance as a strategy, both acting before a camera to make a recording for an audience, and performing the discrete task of destroying a mattress. Through a simple, repetitive gesture, the artist makes reference to the history of painting, substituting futon and knife-jab for canvas and brushstroke.
McMillian is a Los Angeles–based artist who works in multiple media, including painting, sculpture, installation, performance and video. Untitled (futon), brings together several of the artist’s ongoing concerns, including an emphasis on artistic process, the use of discarded objects and the politics of the domestic sphere. McMillian’s works consistently make use of post-consumer materials and repurposed artistic tools, including home furniture, unstretched canvases and public monuments. His particular reuse of these objects emphasizes their physical, tactile relationships to the body and to constructions of social class.
Untitled (futon) was first exhibited as part of an installation at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, and is exhibited as a single-channel projection here for the first time. McMillian is represented in the Studio Museum’s permanent collection and was included in the exhibitions Veni Vidi Video (2003), Frequency (2005) and Philosophy of Time Travel (2007). His contribution to The Bearden Project is currently on view in the Main Gallery.
Robin Rhode: Parabolic Bike
January 19–March 11, 2012
Robin Rhode’s (b. 1976) Parabolic Bike follows a child as she tries to ride her bike across an ever-changing curved line. To make the video, Rhode staged aerial photographs from the roof of his mother’s house in Johannesburg, South Africa then sequenced the images to create a stop-motion digital animation. The whimsical narrative depicts the young girl as she tries to ride across a parabola formed by bricks that are continually rearranged and consistently turn her around. In this concise video, set to music that oscillates between consonance and dissonance, the artist uses bricks as a drawing tool and emphasizes the passing of time as shadows of a tree and telephone wires shift across the cracked, tan ground.
Robin Rhode was born in Cape Town, raised in Johannesburg, and currently lives in Berlin. Working between drawing, performance, photography, posters, artist books and video, Rhode’s work explores direct human interactions with the world of art objects and images. The artist often constructs depictions of vehicles, such as bicycles, motorbikes and cars, as well as abstract, geometric shapes and patterns like the parabola. Exploring the visual geography of the urban environment, he imbues the street—often associated with the real and authentic—with a sense of imagination and fantasy. In this way, he underscores the strivings and struggles over public space in post-apartheid South African society.
Parabolic Bike was originally made for a 2009 performance tour in collaboration with Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes (b. 1970), for which Austrian composer and musician Thomas Larcher (b. 1963) composed the video’s accompanying audio track. It is exhibited here for the first time as a single-channel projection. Rhode’s work is included in the Studio Museum’s permanent collection, and has been featured in Museum exhibitions including VideoStudio (2008) and 30 Seconds off an Inch (2009).
VideoStudio is an ongoing series of video and film installations inaugurated in fall 2008. Organized by Exhibition Coordinator and Program Associate Thomas J. Lax, this fifth iteration of the program takes an in-depth look at individual works by two artists who have significantly contributed to the relationship between moving-image technology and other artistic media, including performance, drawing, painting and installation. Through innovative and experimental forms, both artists create new ways of engaging with contemporary ideas about society.
VideoStudio: Rodney McMillian / Robin Rhode is generously supported by a grant from the Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation.
Nov 10, 2011 - Mar 11, 2012
Collected. Ritual explores the performative and process-oriented aspects of making art and examines ritual as an act of special and sometimes mythical significance. The works in this exhibition were chosen for the innovative ways in which the artists engaged with ritual—including through studio art-making and artistic practices that use symbolic actions. This exhibition, organized by Assistant Curator Naima J. Keith, explores the relationship and nexus between art and ritual through twenty-five works of art from the permanent collection spanning the last thirty years.
Who, What, Wear
Selections from the Permanent Collection
Nov 10, 2011 - May 27, 2012
Who, What, Wear: Selections from the Permanent Collection looks at evolutions in style—self-expression, fashion, artistic technique and societal ideals of beauty—as seen through the Studio Museum’s permanent collection. While artists including James VanDerZee (1886–1983) and Dawoud Bey (b. 1953) evoke the Harlem community as an influential and iconic arbiter of style, this exhibition is national and international in scope, surveying artists and subjects from places as varied as West Africa, the Caribbean and the American South. Including both posed portraits and candid scenes, the works on view emphasize how individuals choose to present themselves, rather than how others have represented them historically. Often these depictions oppose photographic conventions that have reiterated assumptions about what people are supposed to represent, rather than who they are as individuals. The figures on view here defy these practices, demonstrating a complex array of influences and references— hip-hop and pop music, new media and technology, African textiles, traditional dress, street style—that, taken together, refuse any singular “look” or aesthetic and mark culture and tradition as alive and constantly changing.
Harlem Postcards Fall/Winter 11-12
Noel Anderson, Cheryl Donegan, Mariamma Kambon, Devin Troy Strother
Nov 10, 2011 - Mar 11, 2012
Throughout the twentieth century, Harlem has been regarded as a beacon of African-American history and culture. Sites such as the Apollo Theater, Abyssinian Baptist Church, and Malcolm X Corner at 125th Street and Seventh Avenue serve as popular postcard images that represent significant places and moments in this community. Today, Harlem continues to evolve as a center of history and culture. Everyday, changes are witnessed by its residents and experienced by tourists and visitors from all over the world.
Harlem Postcards, an ongoing project, invites contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds to reflect on Harlem as a site of cultural activity, political vitality, visual stimuli, artistic contemplation and creative production. Representing intimate and dynamic perspectives of Harlem, the images reflect each artist’s oeuvre with an idiosyncratic snapshot taken of, or representing, this historic locale. Each photograph has been reproduced as a limited-edition postcard available free to visitors. This season we are pleased to feature postcard images created by Noel Anderson, Cheryl Donegan, Mariamma Kambon and Devin Troy Strother.
Image: Robin Rhode, Parabolic Bike (still), 2009–10. Digital animation, color, sound; Total running time 02:43. Courtesy the artist
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