studio museum


“We The People of the Diaspora-Black Culture Exploration” Fashion Illustration Series by Jamilla Okubo (me)





The Day I Harvested a Star 星をかった日 (Hoshi o Katta Hi) Ghibli Museum Art Booklet

Hoshi o Katta Hi lit. “The Day I Raised (Harvested) a Planet” is an animated short film directed by Hayao Miyazaki and released January 3, 2006. It was produced by Toshio Suzuki for Studio Ghibli for their exclusive use in the Saturn Theatre at the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo. The film is based on a story by Naohisa Inoue. You can see posts on the other museum shorts artbooklets here (●⌒∇⌒●)

See my ジブリコレクター Ghibli-Collection

Nobody told us that girls, much less Mexican girls, weren’t supposed to like science fiction. Undeniably, few if any of the characters in the mainstream science fiction films and television programs of the 1970s and early 1980s looked like us. As the African American science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler pointed out, Star Wars featured “every kind of alien … but only one kind of human—white ones” (Beal 1986, 17). Sadly, only Ricardo Montalbán’s Khan and Blade Runner’s Gaff, played by our homie Edward James Olmos, resembled us. Moreover, there was no mistaking me for any of the good guys—in the strictest sense of “guy.” Yet, despite the genre’s androcentrism and overwhelming whiteness, I found pleasure and meaning in science fiction. It
beckoned me to imagine a world—indeed a universe—beyond the freeways, strip malls, and smog-alert days of my Southern California childhood.
—  Catherine S. Ramírez, Afrofuturism/ChicanafuturismAztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 33:1, Spring 2008

Reinventing the African American Portrait: Robert Pruitt’s Identity-Expanding Drawings of Women

The iconography of African American hair has been a fertile theme for artists and scholars. But Robert Pruitt might be the first to tackle it through the utopian geometry of the Russian avant-garde. Be of Our Space World, a conté drawing in Pruitt’s bizarre, hilarious exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem, depicts an elegant woman with a piercing gaze and a hairdo modeled on one of the most famous models in modernism, Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument to the Third International (1919).

In this context, though, it bears an obvious and close connection to Nigerian hairstyles.

The woman has a galactic vibe, too. The image on her tunic has two sources: Eternity, one of the abstract characters in Marvel Comics’s Universe Series, andunused album-cover art for Sun Ra, the celestially minded jazz musician whose lyric provides the drawing with its title.

The remix is typical of Pruitt’s more-is-more approach to African American portraiture, where references to African cultures, Western modernism, African American painters, Black Panthers, music, comic-book characters, and sportswear brands coexist—often in a single canvas.

“I put in b-boy style, hip hop, American history, slavery, black revolutionary, all of that stuff in there that’s bouncing around in my mind,” says the artist. 

He sees his process as a way to restore identity to a population often drained of it in representations in culture, high and low. “Blackness gets reduced in movies or wherever,” says Pruitt. “I try and make them more expansive, piling on reference after reference.”


(Top left): Be of Our Space World, 2010; (Top right): Bombs Over Baghdad, 2012; (Bottom left): Rich girl, 2011; (Bottom right): Sun God, 2011. ALL IMAGES COURTESY THE ARTIST AND HOOKS-EPSTEIN GALLERIES INC., HOUSTON, TX. 


18 Museums in New York City Pair Off for a #MuseumInstaSwap

Check out the #MuseumInstaSwap hashtag on Instagram to learn more about the project.

JiaJia Fei, digital director at the Jewish Museum (@thejewishmuseum) in New York City, has visited the Studio Museum in Harlem (@studiomuseum) many times, but a recent trip was for the #MuseumInstaSwap: 18 museums in New York paired off and spent time with each other’s collections, taking photos with their own communities in mind and posting them throughout the day on February 2. Organized by the Intrepid Museum (@intrepidmuseum) and inspired by the first swap led by the Wellcome Collection (@wellcomecollection), the initiative offers a fresh perspective on each museum as well as a broader audience for all. At the Studio Museum, JiaJia (@vajiajia) took photos of pieces capturing its spirit, such as Glenn Ligon’s iconic work “Give us a Poem,” a light installation blinking the words “me, we.” “Though the mission of both institutions is dedicated to art seen through a specific lens, these are ultimately museums for people of all backgrounds,” says JiaJia. “We were able to connect all of our voices and audiences online, worldwide, for a single day.”


Bleeding for Art, Gangsta-Style:

The untitled performance that Tameka Norris staged at the Studio Museum in Harlem last night was painful for the artist, and for the audience.  

For the piece, the artist cuts her tongue with one stroke of a knife blade. In a movement painterly and dancerly, she drags her tongue across the wall, using it as a brush and using saliva and blood as her paint. 

The work, part of the Performa Biennial, is in Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, a groundbreaking exhibition that’s being shared by the Studio Museum and NYU's Grey Art Gallery

Norris created the work, in part, as a reaction to a professor’s criticism that she “did not paint” as an MFA student at Yale.

Although the artist read no manifesto, curator Valerie Cassel Oliver writes in the catalogue, “it was clear that she was challenging the practice of painting, the art academy, and the canon of art history, and she was doing so gangsta-style.”