Art Fairs

1:54 New York 2017 – Forum

New York, United States
05 May 2017 - 07 May 2017

1:54 FORUM 2016. (pictured left to right) Kevin Dumouchelle (National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution), Yesomi Umolu (Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts) and Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi (Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College). © Katrina Sorrentino

1:54 FORUM 2016. (pictured left to right) Kevin Dumouchelle (National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution), Yesomi Umolu (Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts) and Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi (Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College). © Katrina Sorrentino

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair announced the lineup for it’s 2017 FORUM in New York, the talks programme curated by Koyo Kouoh (Artistic Director of RAW Material Company, Dakar)

Kouoh, who has curated 1:54 FORUM since the fair’s inception will focus this edition on exploring some of the radical imperatives underlining African and African American artistry today. Convening a range of leading artists, performers, curators and scholars, FORUM will unfold a spectrum of aesthetic strategies dealing with themes of temporal and material abstraction, narrativisation and transformation. The programme will directly explore how artists enable us to visualise, but also mobilise new artistic communities and connections.

This year, 1:54 New York welcomes Raél Jero Salley (Professor in Art History, Maryland Institute College of Art) as the keynote speaker. Artists participating are Derrick Adams, Sadie Barnette, Charles Gaines, Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade (2/3 of the collective My Barbarian), Odili Donald Odita, Adam Pendleton, Sondra Perry, Marcia Kure and Tschabalala Self. Curators and scholars participating include Adrienne Edwards (Curator, Performa and Curator at Large, Walker Art Center), Eungie Joo (Artistic Director, 5th Anyang Public Art Project–APAP 5), Thomas J Lax (Associate Curator, Museum of Modern Art), Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi (Curator of African Art, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College) and Nicola Vassell (Founder, Concept NV).

Co-presented by Performa and 1:54, and curated by Adrienne Edwards, 1:54 PERFORMS returns for a second year with a newly commissioned special project for FORUM by Mendi and Keith Obadike. Vectors (Pan Africa) is a sonic work in which latitude and longitude data corresponding to African countries is translated into sound and played against spoken text. 

FORUM 2017 – full programme

Friday, 5 May

1:30 – 1:45 pm            
Welcome & Opening Remarks: Koyo Kouoh
2 – 3 pm            
Keynote: Raél Jero Salley: On ‘Looking After Freedom’
For FORUM’s opening address, Salley discusses how ‘Looking After Freedom’ is a way of making ‘we, the people’. ‘Looking After Freedom’ means caring enough to invent more humanly workable visual, material and conceptual resources. Artworks provoke new forms for and of imagination. Here, Salley’s point of return is that artists (makers) are always already doing this nurturing work and invite their viewers to join in. Creative works can mediate fundamental paradoxes that were built into contemporary politics after, during and through struggles for liberation. The struggles are not ‘post’ – citizens find themselves struggling through present-colonialism, present-apartheid and present attacks on civil rights. ‘Looking After Freedom’ is therefore a shorthand for dynamic creativity that goes beyond reflecting situations of injustice, inequality, oppression, violence and the like – from merely documenting them or responding to them – toward manifesting generative tools and methods for transformation.
3:30 – 4:45 pm            
A Slip of the Ear: Sufflating Blackness Through Sound: A conversation with Mendi and Keith Obadike
Artists Mendi and Keith Obadike discuss with Adrienne Edwards the ways the duo’s art deploys technology, narrative structure and dissonance in sound and space as open, disembodied experiments of blackness. While sharing details about their work Vectors: Pan Africa – newly co-commissioned by 1:54 and Performa – as well as past and upcoming projects, they delve into the significance of aural expansion, textual assemblage and unexpected juxtapositions in their intermedia work.

Saturday, 6 May

1:30 – 2:30 pm            
Thomas J Lax in conversation with Sondra Perry
Sondra Perry, the subject of the solo exhibition Resident Evil at The Kitchen (2016) and Thomas J Lax discuss legacies of media art, the role of appropriation and the stakes of representing violence and social protest.
3 – 4:15 pm            
‘I Belong Here’: Art in times of Resurgent Nationalism: Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi in conversation with Sadie Barnette and Odili Donald Odita
Tavares Strachan’s You belong here (2011), a 120ft x 27ft neon piece, was displayed on a barge on the Mississippi River during Prospect.3, the New Orleans biennale, in 2014. With the work, the Bahamian-born artist boldly affirmed his presence, his right to belong, to be firmly emplaced and to be part of an American consciousness. Yet as he also explained, ‘to belong’ is polemical and complex when considered against the history of race and immigration in the United States. In this current political climate of resurgent nativism and nationalism in the United States and around the world, how might we consider the values of Black art and aesthetics as a strategy of engagement? In this conversation with Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, artists Odili Donald Odita and Sadie Barnette respond to the assault on ‘otherness’, drawing upon their creative practice, backgrounds and individual experiences.
4:45 – 6 pm            
Family Tree: An intergenerational discussion between Charles Gaines and My Barbarian, moderated by Eungie Joo
Charles Gaines along with his son, Malik Gaines, and son-in-law, Alexandro Segade (2/3 of the collective My Barbarian) continue their 25-year discussion of the shifting terms of a shared political imaginary, considered through their artistic and academic practices. This conversation touches on how their very different practices speak to each other across generations of influence, appropriation, rejection and transformation.
Sunday, 7 May 
2 – 3:15 pm            
Dis/assembly: The body in abstraction: Nicola Vassell in conversation with Tschabalala Self, Marcia Kure and Derrick Adams
In a panel chaired by Nicola Vassell, artists Derrick Adams, Marcia Kure and Tschabalala Self discuss strategies of collage and new media abstraction – both online and offline – in visualising and celebrating blackness. Looking to their respective practices, the dialogue will consider how revisiting modernist and conceptual traditions of collage and dis/assembly make possible new aesthetic forms in an era of viral imaging. 
3:45 – 4:45 pm            
Madness of the Present: Abstraction’s Radical Possibilities: A conversation between Adam Pendleton and Adrienne Edwards
Focusing on Adam Pendleton’s art of the past two years, from his installation for the Belgian Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale to his recent suite of paintings entitled Untitled (A Victim of American Democracy), Pendleton and Adrienne Edwards explore abstraction as a platform for revolutionary possibilities in art and politics.


1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair
Friday, 5 – Sunday, 7 May 2017

Pioneer Works
159 Pioneer St, Brooklyn
New York, United States 

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