The Studio Museum’s Expanding the Walls program, founded in 2001, is a photography-based residency for young emerging artists enrolled in high schools or equivalent programs in New York City, providing them with workshops with a diverse group of arts professionals, intensive instruction in the techniques of digital photography, opportunities to build community and a culminating exhibition. Each eight-month residency is based on the young artists’ investigation of the work of James VanDerZee (1886–1983), the iconic chronicler of Harlem life, whose archives are housed at the Studio Museum.
The fifteen young artists in the 2015–16 program took an interest in particular methods of VanDerZee’s practice, such as his use of hyperreal studio backdrops and etching notes on his negatives. They were also drawn to the performative and conceptual strategies of other photographers, including Xaviera Simmons, Christina de Middel, Miguel Luciano and Roy DeCarava. The resulting exhibition, Color in Shadow, reflects the young artists’ fascination with these formal aspects of photography, while also testifying to their close attention to the nuances of visual life in Harlem and other New York City neighborhoods.
Color in Shadow: Expanding the Walls 2016 is organized by the 2016 Expanding the Walls participants with Gerald L. Leavell II, Expanding the Walls/Youth Programs Coordinator, Adeze Wilford, Curatorial Fellow and Doris Zhao, Curatorial Assistant.
Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
September 10 – November 5, 2016
Opening reception: Saturday, September 10, 6 – 8pm
Blum & Poe is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Los Angeles-based artist Henry Taylor. Including new paintings and a video installation, the works are installed in three unique environments. This is the artist’s fourth solo show with the gallery.
Taylor’s work continues to delve and expand upon the language of portraiture and painting, while also pointing to the social and political issues affecting African Americans today. From racial inequality, homelessness, and poverty, to the importance of family and community, Taylor says, “My paintings are what I see around me…they are my landscape paintings.” His portraits reveal a fascination with the sitters, who are oftentimes portrayed against solid-colored backgrounds, as well as domestic and outdoor spaces. The psychological and physical implications of “space” – public vs. private, interior vs. exterior – is a theme that Taylor explores throughout this presentation.
The exhibition begins inside of an abandoned dirt lot, similar to those from Taylor’s own adolescence, which became playgrounds and gathering spaces for the community. These lots also provided temporary housing, becoming tent cities for the disenfranchised. As a result, they did not go unnoticed and were always policed. Such memories continue to influence Taylor, who turns to both his personal archives as well as found imagery and objects for source material.
Taylor marks the disparity between social classes from one gallery to the next by installing in each space a distinct terrain. An empty, dirt lot beside a lush, grassy lawn inevitably points to the different groups of people who inhabit these spaces. While one space portrays a certain sense of abandon and despair, the other is more about experiencing pleasure and comfort within private property. The subjects in the paintings vary – from scenes of Taylor’s life to imagery inspired by current affairs, candidly depicting the world around him.
On the evening of the opening, a performance collaboratively conceived by Taylor and close friend, Los Angeles-based artist and filmmaker Kahlil Joseph, will take place in the third gallery. This staging will precede the installation of a related video project created by the artists and inspired by Taylor’s encounter with reggae legend Bob Marley. This multi-media and immersive presentation weaves together personal history with collective memory, contributing to our understanding of how public memory has been and might continue to be framed.
Henry Taylor was born in Ventura, CA (1958) and received a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Recent solo exhibitions include This Side, That Side, The Mistake Room, Guadalajara, Mexico (2016); They shot my dad, they shot my dad!, Artpace, San Antonio, TX (2015); and a retrospective at MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY (2012). His work has been featured in group exhibitions in museums worldwide including the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium (forthcoming, 2016); Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway (forthcoming, 2016); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York NY (2016); Hammer Museum at Art + Practice, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (2016); Studio Museum, Harlem, NY (2013); Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA (2013); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2012); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2011); and the Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL (2011).
We are delighted to announce an exhibition by Alex Katz, after his exhibitions this year at Guggenheim in Bilbao and Serpentine Gallery in London.
We will present the more intimate side of the great painterʼs work: his small paintings, or “oil scketches”, and drawings.
As opposed to their large-scale counterparts, the small paintings are made directly in front of the live model or en plein air, their brush strokes are more gestural and impulsive. These are not only preparatory studies showing a monumental plan at its birth, but also autonomous works revealing the initial and spontaneous passion of the artist for his subject. Katz’s ability in rendering the fragile unity of a moment, with a few brush strokes, reveals much of the person portrayed and of the artist’s personal reflections, voluntarily abandoned in the large portraits on canvas which show a more stylized and essential vision.This characteristic is enhanced by the small size which draws the viewer to approach closely and enter the space of the painting, thereby establishing a more intimate physical and mental relationship with the work.
Also the drawings offer insight into the artist's process as often the original idea for a painting is illustrated here in its nascent state. Katz draws quickly in charcoal and pencil searching for the right angle.
Alex Katz was born in New York in 1927 as the son of Russian – Jewish immigrants and studied painting at the Cooper Union School of Art from 1946 to 1949. Since the 1960s he has developed a highly innovative realist style unlike any of his contemporaries. Having appeared on the American artistic scene at the end of the ʻ50s, the years of Abstract Expressionism, and being a contemporary of Pop Art and the subsequent artistic movements, Katz surprisingly managed to reconcile the abstract movement with realism in US post war art, in a style that he himself defines as “totally American”. His final images are essential, luminous, direct and sharp, showing very intense colour planes, rendered in a particular bidimensional perspective, free of any sentimental connotation and yet able to communicate a profound emotional involvement.
The work of Alex Katz is widely represented at museum in the USA, including MoMA, the Metropolitan and the Whitney in New York, as well as in European Museums, like Tate Modern in London, the MMK in Frankfurt, the Albertina in Vienna and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.