This spring, The Studio Museum in Harlem will present six exciting exhibitions and projects that highlight the breadth and depth of art by artists of African descent.
The mid-career survey Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing brings the renowned Houston artist’s graphic stories and fantastical characters to a New York audience. The Studio Museum’s growing permanent collection is showcased in three new thematic presentations: Concealed, Salon Style and In Profile, together featuring more than seventy works of art created between 1932 and the present. Samuel Levi Jones: Unbound is the first solo museum exhibition and New York debut of the emerging conceptual artist and 2014 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize winner. Of course, the latest installment of the perennially popular Harlem Postcards project will be available to all in the Museum lobby. Spring 2015 exhibitions and projects are on view from March 26, 2015 to June 8, 2015.
Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawings
Mar 26, 2015 – Jun 28, 2015
Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawings is the first in-depth examination of Hancock’s extensive body of drawings, collages and works on paper. While the artist is known for his paintings and sculptural installations, drawing plays a central role in his work. Influenced by a wide range of sources, including comics, graphic novels, cartoons, music and film, Hancock has created an imaginary realm inhabited by creatures called Mounds, protagonists in an epic narrative of good and evil. Chronicling the foundation and evolution of Hancock’s prolific career, the exhibition brings together more than two hundred works of art, including graphite on paper, paper affixed to canvas, the artist’s first digital animation, site-specific wall drawings and wallpaper.
Trenton Doyle Hancock was born in 1974 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was raised in Paris, Texas, and currently lives and works in Houston. He earned his BFA from Texas A&M University, Commerce, and his MFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia. In 2007, the Studio Museum awarded Hancock its prestigious Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize.
Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing is curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver for the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH). The Studio Museum’s presentation is organized by Lauren Haynes, Associate Curator, Permanent Collection. Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing is supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and other supporters of CAMH.
Concealed: Selections from the Permanent Collection
Concealed: Selections from the Permanent Collection examines artistic interpretations of disguise, masking and embodiment. Works by Elizabeth Catlett, Cyrus Kabiru and Willie Cole present masks themselves as subject matter, while Romare Bearden’s Conjur Woman (1964), Robert Pruitt’s Pretty for a Black Girl (2005) and others reference existing African masquerade practices and its influence on African-American identity. The exhibition also explores transitions between self and spirit, or the aspect of masking that entails becoming other, in works such as Dave McKenzie’s Self-Portrait Piñata (2002) and Firelei Baez’s Fire wood pretending to be fire, February 12, 2013 (2013).
Concealed: Selections from the Permanent Collection is organized by Hallie Ringle, Senior Curatorial Assistant.
Salon Style brings together work by artists in which hair and nails figure as media and/or inspirations. Comprised mostly of objects from the Studio Museum’s permanent collection, Salon Style suggests hair and nails as fluid sites of self-expression where identities and personhood are asserted. Demonstrating the cultural, economic and gender politics of these facets of personal style, several works in the exhibition feature synthetic hair and nails as artistic materials, while others use found objects as proxies for them. Salon Style is organized by Hallie Ringle, Senior Curatorial Assistant.
In Profile: Portraits from the Permanent Collection
In Profile: Portraits from the Permanent Collection presents a diverse selection of portraiture from the Museum’s holdings: self-portraits, busts, cameos, commissioned portraits and photographs documenting black life in America. Historically, enslavement and subsequent discrimination denied peoples of African descent complex identities in the public eye, and many histories remain largely undocumented. In contrast, these portraits in the Studio Museum’s collection exist as primary examples of African Americans’ expressions of agency. In Profile brings together images that seek to affirm the lives of those who have gone unnamed in ledgers and history books. In Profile: Portraits from the Permanent Collection is organized by Amanda Hunt, Assistant Curator.
Samuel Levi Jones: Unbound
2014 Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize winner Samuel Levi Jones will unveil a new site-specific work in the Studio Museum’s Project Space. Jones is an emerging conceptual artist based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose work critically engages with knowledge production via historical source material. Working with vintage encyclopedias and reference books, Jones deconstructs the volumes and reassembles their parts into visually compelling abstract works of art. The gridded compositions, made of stripped, bleached and stitched-together book covers, cast a questioning eye on the authority of their source materials as widely excepted arbiters of information. For the Studio Museum, Jones’s site-specific work will incorporate law books and pulped paper, two recent developments in his practice.
Samuel Levi Jones: Unbound is organized by Naima J. Keith, Associate Curator.
Harlem Postcards Spring 2015
Harlem Postcards is an ongoing project that invites a diverse group of contemporary artists 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 the idiosyncratic visions of contemporary artists from a wide range of backgrounds and locations. Each photograph has been reproduced as a limited-edition postcard and is available free to visitors. This season the Studio Museum is pleased to feature images by Awol Erizku, Sierra Odessa, Kameelah Janan Rasheed and Elaine Reichek.
Harlem Postcards Spring 2015 is organized by Hallie Ringle, Senior Curatorial Assistant.
In conjunction with Spring 2015 exhibitions, the Studio Museum will offer a full slate of public programming including artist talks, book clubs and Studio Squared, art-making workshops designed for adult participants.