Published: August 6, 2002
NEW YORK CITY – After nearly 25 years, the work of master colorist Beauford Delaney returns to The Studio Museum in Harlem in the exhibition, “Beauford Delaney: The Color Yellow.” One of the first solo exhibitions of this internationally acclaimed artist’s work since a retrospective at the Studio Museum in 1978 and his death in 1979, this exhibition of nearly 30 works will focus on Delaney’s use of yellow in both figurative and abstract works from the 1940s into the early 1970s.
Curated by Richard J. Powell, chairman of the art and art history department at Duke University, and organized by Carrie Przybilla, curator of Modern & Contemporary Art High, the exhibition and its accompanying catalog are the first to explore this African American artist’s use of the color yellow as a symbolic device in both his figurative and abstract works. Delaney (1901-1979) believed that various hues held spiritual significance and was particularly drawn to the color yellow, which to him represented light, healing and redemption.
The Studio Museum in Harlem also presents “Ironic/ Iconic,” an exhibition of the museum’s 2001-2002 artists-in-resident: Kira Lynn Harris, Adia Millett and Kehinde Wiley. Conceived at the formation of the museum in 1968, this annual exhibition remains central to The Studio Museum’s identity and represents the culmination of a year’s worth of artistic development for these three Los Angeles-born artists.
Organized by Assistant Curator Christine Y. Kim, “Ironic/Iconic” will include Harris’s investigation of light through photography, installation and video, as well as an audio work that highlights the sounds that reflect everyday life on Harlem’s famed 125th Street. Providing an urban interpretation of influences ranging from Light and Space artists James Turrell and Robert Irwin to painters from the British Romantic and Hudson River movements, each of Harris’s works in the exhibition is about New York.
Dealing with the intersections of subject and object through the use of craft and culture, Adia Millett’s miniatures and installations will allow viewers to navigate domestic spaces. Millett also uses cross-stitch to represent everyday rdf_Descriptions, capable of referencing each viewer’s personal memory — a pack of Newports, a rifle, a bottle of Popov vodka, a bowler hat, a twenty dollar bill.
Combining figuration with elements of classical ornamentation such as late French rococo and baroque, Wiley’s colorful paintings of young black men examine notions of “marketable blackness” and fraudulent masculinity.
Founded in 1968, the mission of The Studio Museum in Harlem is to exhibit, collect, research, and interpret the work of African American artists and artists of African descent locally, nationally and internationally. The museum also presents works that reflect the experiences of people of African descent. Since opening in a rented loft at Fifth Avenue and 125th Street, The Studio Museum has earned recognition for its catalytic role in promoting the works of artists of African descent. The museum’s artists-in-residence program has supported more than 90 graduates who have gone on to establish highly regarded careers.
The museum’s permanent collection includes more than 1,600 paintings, sculptures, watercolors, drawings, pastels, prints, photographs, mixed-media works and installations. It is comprised of works created by artists during their residency, as well as pieces given to the museum to create an art historical framework for artists of African descent.
The museum is at 144 West 125th Street, between Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard and Lenox Avenue. Phone, 212-864-4500; website, www.studiomuseum.org. The museum is open weekdays and Sunday, noon to 6 pm, Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm. The museum is closed on Monday, Tuesday and major holidays.
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