Those of us who have visited an artist’s studio know it can be a transformative experience. Seeing a work of art in the environment where it is produced and having the opportunity for exchange with an artist can open up new possibilities for interpretation and inspiration. On Saturday, February 29, The Studio Museum in Harlem’s 2019–20 artists in residence E. Jane, Naudline Pierre, and Elliot Reed are generously opening the doors of their studios to anyone and everyone. It’s a rare chance to see their work in progress before it goes up at MoMA PS1 as part of an exhibition later this year.
Open Studios will be held at Studio Museum 127, the museum’s temporary satellite location (its permanent building on 125th street has been closed for renovation).
The Studio Museum’s Artist-in-Residence program was founded five decades ago and is fundamental to the institution’s mission of supporting emerging Black and Latinx artists. Alumni of the prestigious program include Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, and Jordan Casteel. The 2019-2020 cohort reflects the Studio Museum’s legacy of encouraging diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and mediums.
Pierre weaves the spiritual, biblical, and mythological imagery in her haunting and intimate paintings, inspired by her own religious upbringing. The works’ subjects oscillate between the devout and the secular, creating ambiguous but compelling narratives that complicate our ideas of faith and existence.
Reed foregoes make-up and costumes and favors an anti-theatrical practice in which, in his own words, “time is my material, and my embodied self is the medium.” The results are performances that are candid and personal: for his improvised work CURB ALERT!, commissioned for Outsider Fest in Austin, Texas in 2019, Reed hired actors from Craigslist; for the kick-off to his international tour in 2016, he invited performers to stage a piece without amplification.
E. Jane’s interdisciplinary works — spanning digital images, video, performance, sound, sculpture, and installations — “address how subjugated bodies exist in media and the media.” Central to their interdisciplinary practice is the artist’s alter-ego and performance persona MHYSA, imagined as an underground pop star for the cyber resistance.
Artist-in-Residence Open Studios at Studio Museum 127 is free and open to the public.
When: Saturday, February 29, 1-4 pm (Studio Museum members can enter at 12:30 pm)
Where: Studio Museum 127, 429 W. 127th Street, Harlem, Manhattan
For more information, visit the Studio Museum’s website.