Lowery Stokes Sims

  • Opening of the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, 1968. From left: Eleanor Holmes Norton, Carter Burden, Charles Inniss, Campbell Wylly, Betty Blayton-Taylor, Frank Donnelly. Photo: Jill Krementz.

    STREET, STOOP, STAGE, SANCTUARY

    AS MUSEUMS AROUND THE WORLD reflect on their role in the reproduction of structures of domination, one instructive example is New York’s STUDIO MUSEUM IN HARLEM, a modest but pivotal institution created in 1968 to champion Black culture and center artists of African descent. To help delineate the museum’s history and significance, Artforum organized an intergenerational conversation of Studio Museum leaders and alums—NAOMI BECKWITH, THELMA GOLDEN, THOMAS (T.) JEAN LAX, and LOWERY STOKES SIMS—moderated by DAVID VELASCO, the magazine’s editor in chief.

    BEGINNINGS

    DAVID VELASCO: The Studio Museum in

  • CLYDE CONNELL: SPEAKING THE SOUTH

    IN THE ’60s, a form of “primitivism”—something we might call a textural, materialist approach to artmaking—began to suffuse the work of feminist and African-, Latin-, Native-, and at times Asian-American artists. Offering an alternative to Euro-American-Judeo-Christian patriarchal structures, it celebrated the female earth deities they supplanted, and the animistic understanding of materials seen in the traditional arts of non-European cultures. But then the post-Modernists decided that ethnicity was chic, however and wherever you could find it. And in the ’80s, the stylistic pretension of

  • THE MIRROR THE OTHER: THE POLITICS OF ESTHETICS

    “MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL, who’s the fairest one of all?” In the fairy tale the queen intoned her usual rhetorical question at the magic mirror. Imagine her surprise when one day the impertinent glass snapped back, “Snow White, of course!” The American cultural establishment started getting some similar back talk about 20 years ago, when the presence of African and then Latin, Native and Asian Americans, and women first became a significant factor on the cultural scene. They demanded to be recognized not only as artists but, like Snow White, as purveyors of esthetic values that were vastly