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Studio Museum in Harlem opens suite of five summer 2013 exhibitions and projects
Robert Pruitt, Sun Fired, 2009. Conté crayon on kraft paper, 59 × 49 inches. Courtesy the artist.

HARLEM, NY.- This summer, The Studio Museum in Harlem presents a suite of five exhibitions that offer an engaging cross section of artistic production from Harlem to Houston and beyond. Summer 2013 exhibitions and projects are on view July 18 to October 27, 2013.

Robert Pruitt: Women features a selection of the artist’s large-format, mixed-media portraits of culturally complex and highly evocative women. This is first solo museum exhibition in New York for the Houston-based artist. Things in Themselves: Artists in Residence 2012–13 debuts new work from Steffani Jemison, Jennifer Packer and Cullen Washington Jr., the most recent participants in the Museum’s yearlong residency program. No Filter: Expanding the Walls 2013 features another group of resident artists, the participants in the Museum’s acclaimed program for high school students, Expanding the Walls: Making Connections Between Photography, History and Community. Highlights from the Studio Museum’s permanent collection take center stage in Body Language, an exhibition exploring artistic intersections of the human form and the written word. Also on view will be VideoStudio: Long Takes, the latest iteration of the Museum’s signature series of time-based work.

Joining these exhibitions is the latest installment in the ongoing project Harlem Postcards, which this season features mailable perspectives from Corin Hewitt, Lisa Oppenheim, Justine Reyes and Paulette Henk—all available free to Museum visitors. The Museum will also host a wide variety of exhibition-related programs and activities for people of all ages, from dancing under the stars at the popular Uptown Fridays to engaging exhibition tours led by teenage Expanding the Walls participants.

“Harlem truly comes alive in the summertime,” says Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden. “Our summer exhibitions celebrate and reflect the vibrancy of the neighborhood and offer something for everyone.”

Robert Pruitt: Women
Robert Pruitt (b. 1975) is Houston-based artist well known for drawings, videos and installations dedicated to examination of the historical and contemporary experiences of African Americans. Robert Pruitt: Women includes nearly twenty large-scale conté drawings of black women. Combining elements of science fiction, hip-hop culture and comic-book graphics, each figure is at once politically charged, physically grounded and fantastic—a blend of willful self-determination and culturally conditioned myth. Robert Pruitt received his BFA from Texas Southern University and MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition to his solo work, Pruitt is a founding member of the artist collective Otabenga Jones & Associates. He has exhibited his work at venues including the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Dallas Museum of Art and The Studio Museum in Harlem, and he was a participating artist in the 2006 Whitney Biennial and SITE Santa Fe 2010. Pruitt received the Artadia Artist Award in 2004 and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation award in 2008.

Robert Pruitt: Women is organized by Naima J. Keith, Assistant Curator.

Things in Themselves: Artists in Residence 2012–13
Things in Themselves presents the work of Steffani Jemison (b. 1981), Jennifer Packer (b. 1984) and Cullen Washington Jr. (b. 1976), the 2012–13 artists in residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Whether exploring fragile and delicate materials, developing a deeper understanding of painting or intuitively networking found materials and objects, the artists share a deep investment in the processes and techniques of making art.

Steffani Jemison creates video, performance and photo-based works. Things in Themselves includes several works on acetate, a translucent and fragile material Jemison has experimented with for several years in her print and photo work. Among these new works are prints of photographs, taken through Jemison’s studio windows, of 125th Street and its environs overlaid by an “X” of protective tape applied to the windows in preparation for Superstorm Sandy.

Jennifer Packer is a representational painter deeply engaged with the history of her medium. For Packer, painting is a very personal process; she creates portraits of friends, her immediate surroundings and, at times, herself. In addition to portraits, Packer’s works in this exhibition include paintings and drawings of utilitarian objects found in the artists-in-residence studios and around the Studio Museum building.

Cullen Washington Jr. incorporates assemblage and collage techniques to create large-scale abstract paintings on canvas. Washington’s works are often made of grids and particular patterns and rhythms that might not be apparent to viewers at first glance. But these systems and processes are linked to the core of Washington’s practice, and create an internal system in each piece and subtle connections between groups of works.

The Artist-in-Residence program is at the core of the Studio Museum’s mission, and gives the institution its name. Since the Museum’s founding in 1968, more than 100 artists in residence have created and shown work in the Museum’s studios and galleries. Among the program’s alumni are some of the most renowned artists working today, including Sanford Biggers, Leonardo Drew, David Hammons, Leslie Hewitt, Kerry James Marshall, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, Alison Saar, Mickalene Thomas, Nari Ward and Kehinde Wiley.

Things in Themselves is organized by Lauren Haynes, Assistant Curator.

Body Language
Body Language explores the body and written or verbal expression. Comprised mostly of works from the Studio Museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition shows how artists use language to evoke relationships to bodies, including those of viewers, using the human form to communicate ideas much as words might. Some of the artists investigate the language of nonverbal communication, while others inscribe, paint or gesture onto the page. Other works depict figures to purposefully elicit a “read”—how might audiences interpret a portrait differently than the artist’s (or author’s) intention? Body Language also illustrates the international scope of the Museum’s collection, with work by Deborah Grant, Malick Sidibé, Tavares Strachan, Barthélémy Toguo and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, among others.

Body Language is organized by Abbe Schriber, Curatorial Assistant.

No Filter: Expanding the Walls 2013
Expanding the Walls: Making Connections Between Photography, History and Community is an annual, eight-month program in which New York high school students explore the history and techniques of art and photography. Since the program’s founding in 2001, the James VanDerZee archive—housed at the Studio Museum—has been the primary catalyst for the students’ critical reflections on the representation of culture and community. Informed by VanDerZee’s iconic body of work, the students learn the intricacies of digital photography and develop their own artistic practices, creating a solid foundation for future artistic endeavors.

The title of this year’s exhibition, No Filter, is borrowed from social media, where it is used to denote a striking photograph that is even more extraordinary—and exceptional—for not having been digitally altered. No Filter presents the students’ distinct and undiluted perspectives on family, race, gender and perceptions of beauty. The artists mediate entry into their homes, neighborhoods, peer groups and families, simultaneously documenting and commenting on their lives.

No Filter was organized by Expanding the Walls participants Arnell Calderon, Hope Calderon, Wesley Coram, Bryant Corona, Dautchley “Max” Desmarais, Kelvin Hady, Paulette Henk, Aviolah Joseph, Nicholas Reyes, Clifford Temple, Jeremy Valencia and Totieyanna Whatley; with Gerald Leavell, Expanding the Walls / Youth Programs Coordinator; Abbe Schriber, Curatorial Assistant; and Monique Long, Curatorial Fellow.

VideoStudio: Long Takes
VideoStudio is an ongoing series of exhibitions of works in video and performance, inaugurated in fall 2008. This season’s VideoStudio, Long Takes brings together work by two emerging artists, Simone Bailey (b. 1982; San Francisco, CA) and Janaye Brown (b. 1987; Austin, TX).

VideoStudio: Long Takes is organized by Thomas J. Lax, Assistant Curator.

Harlem Postcards Summer 2013: Paulette Henk, Corin Hewitt, Lisa Oppenheim, Justine Reyes
Harlem Postcards is an ongoing project that invites a diverse group of contemporary artists to reflect on Harlem as a site of cultural activity, political vitality, visual stimuli, artistic contemplation and creative production. Representing intimate and dynamic perspectives of Harlem, the images reflect the idiosyncratic visions of contemporary artists from a wide range of backgrounds and locations. Each photograph has been reproduced as a limited-edition postcard available free to visitors. This season, we are pleased to feature postcard images by Paulette Henk, Corin Hewitt, Lisa Oppenheim and Justine Reyes.

Harlem Postcards is organized by Abbe Schriber, Curatorial Assistant.

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July 18, 2013

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