The Studio Museum in Harlem's annual Artist-in-Residence exhibition on view at MoMA PS1

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The Studio Museum in Harlem's annual Artist-in-Residence exhibition on view at MoMA PS1
This Longing Vessel: Studio Museum Artists in Residence 2019–20, MoMA PS1 December 10, 2020–March 14, 2021. Photo: Kris Graves.

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY.- The Studio Museum in Harlem’s annual Artist-in-Residence exhibition is on view at MoMA PS1, moving this presentation outside the Studio Museum’s walls for the second time as part of a multiyear partnership with the Museum of Modern Art and PS1. This Longing Vessel features new work by the 2019–20 cohort of the Studio Museum’s signature residency program—artists E. Jane (b. 1990, Bethesda, MD), Naudline Pierre (b. 1989, Leominster, MA), and Elliot Reed (b. 1992, Milwaukee, WI)—whose artistic practices span new media, performance, and painting. With a title that suggests radical intimacy, a vessel to hold and to be held by, this exhibition presents the intersection between queerness and Blackness as a waypoint to yearn from, reach toward, and leap beyond. This Longing Vessel complicates and excites conventional ways of seeing, seeking new language for the building of extraordinary futures.

Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum, said, “E. Jane, Naudline Pierre, and Elliot Reed participated in The Studio Museum in Harlem’s defining Artists-in-Residence program during an unprecedented year, when the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated physical separation in what has always been a deeply communal experience between each cohort. With stunning creativity, these three artists responded to the pandemic’s challenge—one that is by now familiar to all of us—with an exhibition that addresses this moment in time through a moving exploration of intimacy within the spectrum of Black experience.”

Kate Fowle, Director of MoMA PS1, added, “It has been a privilege to have the opportunity to engage with these artists as they worked through unprecedented challenges to arrive at what can only be described as a masterful exhibition. This year, our collaboration with The Studio Museum in Harlem was also further enriched through the artists using PS1’s project rooms in preparation for the show. To have artists at work in the building is truly part of PS1’s DNA.”

Legacy Russell, Associate Curator, Exhibitions at the Studio Museum, writes in the exhibition’s curatorial essay, “[L]onging is a rococo gesture. In longing, we reach with a flourish. There is drama, remix, style, suspense. It is every “O” that traverses the lines of James Joyce’s Ulysses or Dante’s The Divine Comedy. It is Toni Braxton’s lyrics, “Oo, I get so high / When I’m around you baby.” Longing is an O and Oo: it is known for the holes it makes in us, and famous for the things (within, without) it makes us see. Artists E. Jane, Naudline Pierre, and Elliot Reed in sharing this space, puncture it...holes they make, and holes they fill with desire.”

Each artist presents an immersive installation as a gesture of radical intimacy, in exploration of Black desire, idolatry, spirituality, and the body politic. Naudline Pierre’s vibrant paintings expand on a fictional world driven by an avatar of herself, through which she imagines a more expansive possibility for Black life. E. Jane utilizes video, photography, and ephemera to pay homage to the Black diva, creating a space to celebrate and complicate our relationship to Black femmehood. Elliot Reed’s video and sculptural work challenges the sensationalism and fetishization of Black queer bodies, actively troubling the field of performance and the questions of power proposed therein.

This Longing Vessel is organized by Legacy Russell, Associate Curator, Exhibitions, The Studio Museum in Harlem; with Yelena Keller, Curatorial Assistant, Exhibitions, The Studio Museum in Harlem; and Josephine Graf, Assistant Curator, MoMA PS1. Exhibition research is provided by Makayla Bailey and Angelique Rosales Salgado, The Studio Museum in Harlem and MoMA Curatorial Fellows, and Elana Bridges, Mellon Curatorial Fellow.

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