studio harlem

Glenn Ligon, Give us a Poem (Palindrome #2), 2007

“Glenn Ligon made this neon piece […] in 2007, and I saw it a little while back on the wall of the Studio Museum in Harlem, where it’s part of the permanent collection. The work is built around an incident that occurred at Harvard in 1975, when Muhammad Ali had just finished a speech and a student in the audience asked him to improvise a poem: ‘Me/We’ was the pithy verse Ali offered. Even then, at the height of the Black Power movement, it was an intriguingly opaque statement that could have been read as a gesture of solidarity between the black boxer and his white audience, or as an underlining of their difference. In Ligon’s work, the two words become a visual palindrome, of sorts – symmetrical top and bottom – and alternate being lit (white) and unlit (black), which just increases the tension inherent in them. In 2014, in a museum in Harlem, it strikes me that the tension is between the artist and the audience he addresses – with the issue of race still there, but now wrapped up in larger issues of aesthetic communities and the class, and color, they imply." Blake Gopnik, The Daily Pic

According to scholars, one in four cowboys in Texas during the golden age of westward expansion was black; many others were Mexican, mestizo, or Native American—a far more diverse group than Hollywood stereotypes would suggest.

The photos in an exciting new exhibit, “Black Cowboy,” at the Studio Museum in Harlem, suggest that that many common conceptions of what an iconic American looks like are wrong. Read more about the exhibit, and see more photos here. 

dezeen.com
David Adjaye named world's most influential architect by Time magazine
"Architectural visionary" David Adjaye has been named among Time magazine's 100 most influential people of 2017 – and is the only architect to make the list

“Architectural visionary” David Adjaye has been named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2017 – and is the only architect to make the list.

While last year BIG founder Bjarke Ingels was the sole architect on the prestigious Time 100, this year only British architect Adjaye was recognised.

The accolade follows a momentous year for the Adjaye Associates founder, who recently turned 50. He completed the career-defining Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, won the London Design Medal and received a knighthood.

In a citation written by Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Adjaye-designed Studio Museum in Harlem, the architect is described as “one of the great architectural visionaries of our time”.

“His work – deeply rooted in both the present moment and the complex context of history – has envisioned new ways for culture to be represented and reflected in the built environment,” said Golden.

“Nowhere is this more evident than in his recent triumph on the National Mall,” she continued.

“Every architect has to contend with gravity – but when David designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the challenges of that elemental force went far beyond the ordinary.”

Time 100 is an annual ranking of the people the US magazine judges to be the most influential in America. Other creatives on this year’s list include fashion designer Raf Simons, filmmaker Cindy Sherman and writer Margaret Atwood.

Adjaye said he was “truly humbled” to be among them.

“Having the opportunity to design the National Museum of African American History and Culture has been one of the greatest honours of my career,” he said.

“To be included on this list is a testament to the power of this institution and its wide-reaching resonance.”

Adjaye was born in Tanzania, but is now based in London.

He made his name on projects including the Dirty House and the Stephen Lawrence Centre, both in London, but is increasingly working abroad, with projects in North America and Africa, as well as Continental Europe.

Upcoming projects include a cancer treatment centre in Rwanda and a major new art museum in Latvia.

He ranked at number 41 on the inaugural Dezeen Hot List – our own countdown of important names in architecture and design, generated by audience statistics.

David Hammons (b. 1943) is an African-American artist from New York City. Among his works, which are often inspired by the civil rights and Black Power movements, one of the best known is the “African American Flag”, which he designed in 1990 by recoloring the U.S. national flag in the Garvey colors (red, black, and green of the Pan-African flag). The flag is a part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and a copy is hoisted at the entrance to the Studio Museum in Harlem, a New York museum devoted to the art of African-Americans.

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REST IN PEACE: BARKLEY L. HENDRICKS

What I love about Barkley L. Hendricks’ work is his ability to own the Black body. He captured the soul and spirit of Black people – our essence. Mr. Hendrick’s oil paintings are perfectly imperfect. Many of these works (which are mostly of men – but he also did women and nudes) were created in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but look like stylish Instagram portraits of today. He was so visionary that he created work that is still culturally relevant and withstand the test of time. No wonder his retrospective exhibit in 2008 at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University (which also traveled to the Studio Museum in Harlem) was aptly entitled “Birth of Cool.” EW

Alma Thomas
Apollo 12 “Splash Down,” 1970

Alma Thomas focused on her artistic career after retiring as a school teacher at the age of 69.  She was the first black woman to have a solo show at the Whitney Museum. 

Via The New Yorker – 

At the time of her solo show,1972, [Thomas] told the New York Times, “One of the things we couldn’t do was go into museums, let alone think of hanging our pictures there.” She added, “Look at me now.”

A current exhibition of her work is at the Studio Museum in Harlem and runs through October 30th.