Two of my collages are on display at Steven Kasher Gallery, booth #600.
2 – 4pm Public Art Critique: Process, conversation
What is the process that artists have to undertake to get their work exhibited to the public? Join artists Haile Binns and Shawn Theodore as they present their work and participate in a public art critique by regional curators, artists, and scholars. In partnership with Art Sanctuary and Rush Arts Philly.
(in the Comcast Auditorium on the lower level)
"An introduction to a new mythology: Black Reality."
Astral, supernatural, mythic polymaths glistening in beautiful black magic.
This is an homage to an ever-changing, ever-moving diaspora of cosmic afropolitans who remain unfettered and unburdened. This is black, unique, separated from the invisible. Church of Broken Pieces opens at BedStuy's very own Richard Beavers Gallery for its NYC debut Saturday, 9/16 (6pm) after its successful inaugural run at Philadelphia's African American Museum.
9/17 from 3-5pm I will be joined by one of my favorite people in the world, @jillisblack for the artist conversation.
The exhibition runs until 10/29.
Art historian Hal Foster’s once theorized that by “confronting the archive, new systems of knowledge can be created.” Future Antebellum, explores a world where the constructs and intervening variables of our collective black consciousness are dismantled and declared a fallacy in a not-so-distant future. You, the viewer, are in the present, living in the era leading up to a collective ‘black apostasy’, a complete and total divestment in the notions, beliefs and ideals founded after Emancipation.
This future African diasporan society tries reshapes the past, our present day, to define a new, yet anachronistic vision of self. Hashtags become legend and folklore. Lifestyle becomes culture and distorted self-image is the only constant. ‘Selfie culture’ evolves into psychosis, a form of hyper self-awareness, every moment is now theatrical and camera ready, even when one is not present. And although many achieve the deepest, blackest melanated selves through body makeup, pigmentocracy reverberates within the newly minted black aristocracy. What thrives and flourishes is black womanhood and feminism, it is the root that has nourished a nation from its inception, and continues to do so, ad infinitum. What we have in the gallery are portraits from this future - those who invested in our wildest dreams, survive in a country on the edge of a second Civil War, enslavement,
disillusionment, literal peace remains elusive, peace of mind is non-existent.
These images are an examination of the deeply rooted connections to black imagery from the Renaissance (and before), colonial-rooted tropes, to contemporary advertising. They are meant to challenge our ease in accepting forms of ‘ornamental blackness’ within the canon of western art history manifests within contemporary African diasporan art. This exhibition initiates a view of the spatial, paradoxical relationship of black people within different points of time, providing both a landscape for reality and fantasy, yet neither leads one to solve any empirical questions about the current state of blackness. This work is not a mirror into our souls, nor is it an homage to current ideas of perfection and beauty. It is a clarion call to observe our trajectory.
Revolutionary: A Pop-Up Street Art Exhibition will celebrate 13 contemporary Philly-based artists whose work challenges the social and political status quo at 13 prominent locations around Old City, Society Hill, and along the Delaware River Waterfront from May 24th through July 4th, 2017.
The 13 artists participating in Revolutionary are looking at the world around us with a critical eye; they include artists Kid Hazo, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Shawn Theodore, and a special collaboration between Yasmine Mustafa and Monica O.
From Spruce Street Harbor Park to the National Museum of the American Jewish History and from FringeArts to Franklin Square, each piece of artwork will be installed either outdoors or viewable from a freely accessible indoor space making the entire exhibition free for all!
An artist panel discussion will take place on June 7th at the National Constitution Center to explore our exhibit’s revolutionary theme and to talk in more depth with four of our Revolutionary artists about their work.
More details on that artist panel, as well as the full list of Revolutionary artists, locations, and artworks will be revealed at a press conference on Tuesday, May 23rd
Artists: Torkwase Dyson,Cameron Rowland, Shawn Theodore, with a writing by Sable Elyse Smith
Other Articulations of the Real features art that explores and interrogates racialized melancholy amongst Black Americans. Melancholy is not purely a psychoanalytical phenomenon, but a merged physical and mental state of being embedded within the environment. Racialized melancholy amongst Blacks differs because of the specific violent history of enslavement and the proliferation of White supremacy in all areas of life.
Neutral appearing places such as grocery stores, offices, and parks contribute to a perpetual weariness as much as courthouses and plantations in communal cultural memory. Torkwase Dyson and Sable Elyse Smith’s practices have focused on spaces like the auction block and correctional facilities. These places are historically sources of direct physical and mental violence. Experienced and inherited trauma from these spaces is pervasive.
Cameron Rowland and Shawn Theodore’s practices implore viewers to reflect on the seemingly hidden realities of the American legislative and judicial system and to take notice vanishing Black neighborhoods. Found objects represent the alternative economies in which scavenged items are used as profitable resources. As these items are obtained through extra-legal means, race and class are the two primary factors that are used to control an authorized flow of goods resulting in the continuous cycle of imprisoning bodies of color. The neighborhoods that Black Americans have occupied for generations are disappearing. Gentrification has caused wide spread displacement for families who are rooted in Black communities across the country.
Curated by Stephanie Goodalle
Ctrl+P - Photography taken offline
Ctrl+P: Photography taken offline is an exciting venture at Catherine Edelman Gallery inspired by the hundreds of photographs we see on blogs and online galleries. Started in January 2011, Ctrl+P provides further exposure for new artists we find while searching the web, exhibiting a small selection of one person's work every two months, taking the pictures offline and putting them on the wall. It is our goal that Ctrl+P will provide further exposure for these photographers away from the glow of a computer monitor and without the temptation to click to the next link. We hope you will join us by unplugging from the internet and visiting CEG to see these photographs the way they were intended -- in print.
Shawn Theodore: Church of Broken Pieces
Essayist Teju Cole once marveled at the tonal range in the shadows of an image by Roy DeCarava, musing that these darker areas might have been solid, inscrutable black in the hands of another artist. Given the long history of photographic technologies’ inability to register black skin, the artist’s embrace of subtle, modulated darkness was profoundly radical, especially in an age when mainstream representations of African American life were demanded with bombast or stereotype, if they were demanded at all. With DeCarava, Cole writes, “What is dark is neither blank nor empty. It is in fact full of wise light which, with patient seeing, can open out into glories.”
It is no surprise that Philadelphia-based photographer Shawn Theodore cites the iconic Harlem artist among his greatest inspirations. Shooting entirely in the streets, Theodore relishes the many ways that natural light can caress the skin of his Afro-Diasporic subjects, from a flattening glare, to dapples and highlights that dance across the face, to dramatic shadows that all but obfuscate the body. As in the restrained masterworks of DeCarava, however, even the darkest blacks of Theodore’s images give way to nuanced tonalities upon sustained contemplation—for instance, the men and women who turn away from the camera and into the shadows, granting the viewer only the silhouette of their three-quarter profile.
In Church of Broken Pieces, his first ever solo museum exhibition, Theodore presents a new body of photographs made on the streets of Philadelphia’s African American neighborhoods, many of them shrinking thanks to encroaching gentrification. A self-identified street shooter, Theodore has always found his subjects in chance urban encounters; some of these interactions between strangers have evolved into sustained collaborations, the fruits of which are presented here. This constellation of relationships and the community it sustains, however fleeting, are at the core of Theodore’s work.
Complementary to the intimacy and quiet darkness of many of these photographs, a strand of performative exuberance shines through. Our eyes can’t help but linger on the elegantly understated, trans-diasporic fashions in Theodore’s images, often commanding as much attention as the people themselves. Evoking the saturated palette and dynamic surrealism of the great Viviane Sassen, these photographs capture clothing and bodies in motion without sacrificing an ounce of their exquisite composed-ness. The self-possessed subjects enact the language of fashion spreads, history paintings, street performances, and mystical rites, often simultaneously.
Drawn from the name of a church close to the artist’s childhood home, the title’s self-conscious invocation of biblical grandeur calls to mind the great titles of the Harlem Renaissance and the New Negro Movement. Theodore once asked a pastor friend about the origins of the phrase, who told him that “it had to do with the tradition of smaller churches breaking away from the larger ones to continue their service to the community,” he recalls. Like the church and its powerfully simple words, Theodore’s photographs conjure a transhistorical, transnational community mobilizing against erasure. They show us beauty as history, memory, resistance, and a way forward, shining the same wise light of the artist’s forebears and, little by little, opening out into new glories.