Exhibition Review: Studio Museum in Harlem Spring Exhibitions

If you are in New York City, you must stop by the Studio Museum in Harlem to take in their latest exhibition.

“Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing” is an extensive survey of Hancock’s works on paper, which include drawings and collages influenced by graphic novels, cartoons, comics, literature, film, music and religion. The dynamic exhibition includes multi-media installations with drawings/text on the walls, experimental drawings and studies for the artist’s books, and various materials from the artist’s studio. Also on view are early drawings and cartoons Hancock made for his college newspaper, and, on the other end of the artist’s timeline, the debut of the series “Step and Screw.”

Houston, TX-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock (b. 1974, Oklahoma City) was the recipient of the Studio Museum’s Joyce Alexander Wein’s Artist Prize in 2007. He received his BFA from Texas A&M-Commerce and his MFA from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art.

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In addition to the Hancock exhibition, the Studio Museum presented three thematic exhibitions of art from its permanent collection.

“Concealed: Selections From the Permanent Collection” involves the theme of masking in performance and art. Masks associated with ancestry, spirits, characters, disguise, transformation and ritual have appeared in many cultural forms throughout the world and history, and they are prominent in African cultures. In “Concealed,” a wide range of artists incorporate themes of masking to reference African or African-American identity. These include: Jabu Arnell, Firelei Baez, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Zoe Charlton,Willie Cole, Romuald Hazoume, Lyle Ashton Harris, Cyrus Kabiru, Robert Pruitt, Paul Anthony Smith and Stacy Lynn Waddell.

Romare Bearden, Conjure Woman (detail), 1964

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Elizabeth Catlett, Mask (front, installation view), c. 1970

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Elizabeth Catlett, Mask (back, installation view), c. 1970

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Paul Anthony Smith, Woman #5, 2013

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“Salon Style” explores feminine and ethnic identity with art in which hair or nails play a prominent role. It includes artists of different generations, viewpoints and media, including: Chakaia Booker, Mark Bradford, Meshac Gaba, Lyle Ashton Harris, So Yoon Lym, Kori Newkirk, Chris Ofili, Nadine Robinson, Lorna Simpson, Hank Willis Thomas and Deborah Willis, among others.

Nadine Robinson, Self Portrait #4 (ME), 2002

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Kori Newkirk, Solon 6:12, 2000

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Kori Newkirk, Solon 6:12 (detail), 2000

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“In Profile: Portraits From the Permanent Collection” presents the breadth in portraiture by Modern and contemporary artists in the Studio Museum’s permanent collection. Some portraits feature distinguished individuals, others portray iconic types or anonymous members and contributors in the black community. The exhibition also includes striking self-portraits by Samuel Fosso, Barkley L. Hendricks and Paul Mpagi Sepuya. Artists in this exhibition include: Jules Allen, Beauford Delaney, Roland L. Freeman, Alison Saar, Augusta Savage, Kehinde Wiley, Whitfield Lovell, Jacob Lawrence, Bruce Talamon, Charles White, Romare Bearden, Dawoud Bey, Paul Jean, Gwendolyn Knight, Henry Taylor, Chris Ofili, Malick Sidibe, Mickalene Thomas, William Auerback-Levy and Aaron Siskind.

Installation view (l-r): Portraits by Paul Jean, Augusta Savage, Chris Ofili

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Romare Bearden, Two Women, 1969

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Jessica Stafford Davis

Author: Jessica Stafford Davis

The Agora Culture launched in July, 2013 with a private reception in Mclean, Virginia for Mequitta Ahuja, a world-renowned mixed media artist. Subsequently, she co-curated her first exhibition, “Women as Color Light and Form”, with the Galerie Myrtis in Baltimore, Maryland. The exhibition was a part of Network Exhibition Sondheim awards for the 2013 Artscape festival, America’s largest free arts festival. Jessica currently serves on the board at The Washington Project of the Arts and the George Mason University School of Art Council.

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