Artists Support the Studio Museum in Harlem’s New Building Project

Artists Support the Studio Museum in Harlem's New Building Project

Since its founding in 1968, the Studio Museum in Harlem has steadfastly supported artists. Now it is the artists’ turn to support the museum as it breaks ground for its new building and marks its 50th year. To benefit the campaign for the construction of the Studio Museum’s new home, which is designed by David Adjaye and Associates in collaboration with Cooper Robertson, prominent artists will donate works to be offered in Sotheby’s New York 16–17 May Contemporary Artsales. Among the many artists participating in “Creating Space: Artists for The Studio Museum in Harlem” are Mark Bradford, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Sam Gilliam, Rashid Johnson, Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu, Lorna Simpson and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

“I’m profoundly touched by the tremendous generosity that artists and their representatives have demonstrated for this project,” says the Studio Museum’s director, Thelma Golden. “It means so much to have artists support us in creating this dynamic new building, where their work can engage the public even more deeply.”

The six-story, purpose-built space will stand in the same spot where the museum has been since 1982, when it moved from a nearby rented loft to the former bank building refurbished by the architect J. Max Bond, Jr. Being in the iconic center of Harlem, Golden has said, “was intentional: we thought of ourselves as part of the community.” Construction on the 82,000-square-foot structure will begin this autumn and is projected to continue through 2021. Adjaye’s design calls for a roof deck, café and auditorium, and it dramatically increases the space for exhibitions and the artist-in-residence program.

The latter initiative is what put the “studio” in Studio Museum. The eleven-month residencies are given annually to three emerging artists of African and Latino descent. The program’s 100-plus graduates reads like a who’s who of contemporary art:  David Hammons, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas, and Kehinde Wiley. Several of the artists donating works to the “Creating Space” sale were in the residency program and are represented in its permanent collection; all can trace significant career moments back to the Studio Museum. Mark Bradford and Rashid Johnson both made their New York debuts in Freestyle (2001), the first in the museum’s “F-show” series focusing on emerging artists. Lorna Simpson’s work was first shown at the Studio Museum in Constructed Images: New Photography (1989). Glenn Ligon began his long relationship with the museum as an intern in the 1980s, and his site-specific work Give Us a Poem has greeted Museum visitors since 2007 and will be installed in the new building.

During the construction, the Studio Museum will continue its programming in satellite spaces around Harlem, and has just named the 2018 artists-in-residence.

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