Vogue editor Candy Price famously said that September was the “January” of the fashion world but it’s true for every aspect of art previews right now. Want to see a sampling of just a few of the artists who will be included in GAP? In a few major cities you will find a handful of artists and artisans who will also be a part of The Global Africa Project opening this fall.
If you happen to be in the capitol this summer, stop by the National Museum of African Art and see Grass Roots: the African Origins of American Art. The exhibit shows the relationship between rice cultivation and the tradition of making and utilizing baskets in African agrarian societies. Consequently, basket weaving was transplanted and interpreted by slaves in the American south for the same purpose. Today, their function has shifted to marketable collectors’ items. There are numerous of examples of styles of weavings interspersed with videos that demonstrate technique, tools and the almost ritualistic ways in which contemporary artisans collect the grasses they need for weaving. There is some discussion of how the changing ecology in the south has affected their resources. With innovation, some weavers are circumventing scarce supplies with baskets made with surprising materials like colorful telephone wire. The beautiful and innovative basketry of weavers including those of Mary Jackson, Reuben Ndwandwe and Beauty Nxgongo are showcased. One of the most striking things about Grass Roots is how the gestures and techniques of African weavers are mirrored by their American counterparts. Bonus: if you missed it at MAD, you can walk next door to the Smithsonian castle and see Read My Pins, the Madeleine Albright collection of brooches that premiered here last fall and is now on tour.
NEW YORK CITY:
Here in the Big Apple, Hank Willis Thomas is one of the New York area artists featured at Greater New York 2010, MoMA PS1’s quinquennial exhibition where his Unbranded series is on view in its entirety for the first time ever. Willis explores the subtext of magazine advertisements designed to target black consumers over a forty year period—one image is selected from each year between 1968 and 2008. The forty images are enlarged to approximately 3 feet and mounted in chronological order. He presents them without the original text but otherwise the images are unaltered. Somehow the implications seem more evident when the subjects of the ads are not explicitly made known to the viewer. On view through October at PS1.
Another show in the city, Zwelethu Mthethwa: Inner Views, recently opened at the Studio Museum in Harlem with his photographs of informal architecture and domestic portraits in Cape Town and New Orleans. Mthethwa was on hand at the opening to discuss his process with associate curator Naomi Beckwith. The frontality of his photographs draws the viewer into the portraits in a very intimate way, an intimacy so accessible it compelled Beckwith to jokingly exclaim that she was “hopelessly in love” with a particularly dashing man in one of his portraits. We do, in fact, see his subjects as guests in their homes might. Inner Views will be at SMH through October. To hear an excerpt of their conversation, check out the website.
Other exhibit openings by GAP artists:
Odili Donald Odita Body & Space, new wall, canvas and Plexiglas paintings. Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street, November 18- December 23, 2010
Nick Cave The Soundsuit Pop-Up Shop, a temporary soundsuit shop with a video installation, Drive-By, on the corner of S. Michigan Avenue & 23rd Street, September 10- 17, 2010.
Mark Bradford Installation at Media City Seoul 2010 – The Seoul International Biennale of Media Art. Kingdom Day, a new monumentally scaled work by Bradford, will be exhibited at the Seoul Museum of Art, September 7 –November 17, 2010.
Alexandre Arrechea Evasive at Suzanne Tarasieve Paris/Loft 19. Passage de l’Atlas 5 Villa Marcel Lods, September 9- October 16, 2010.