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NYC – FORUM : Contemporary African Art Fair

NYC – FORUM : Contemporary African Art Fair

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

15–16 May 2015, noon–8pm

Pioneer Works
159 Pioneer Street
Brooklyn, New York 11231
RAW Material Company is pleased to announce FORUM, the discoursive and critical platform of 1:54. FORUM is an independent section of the fair that aims at discussing pertinent matters pertaining to the understanding of intellectual and artistic production stemming from global Africaness. It is a programme of debate, discovery, first-hand insight into the work of artists, curators, thinkers, and related professionals. It is a moment where artistic practice, critical analysis and curatorial imagination is offered to a plural audience.

Following the peripatetic mode 1:54 has taken as its modus operandi as it launches its platform in Brooklyn, New York, FORUM will too take its locational parameters as its critical framework. Across the two-day event, condensed into a comprehensive symposium, FORUM will draw together important players from US-based scholarship, art practices, and key institutions that continue to contribute toward and inhabit the discourses of African and African diasporic identities, black subjectivities and postcolonial relations. A series of lectures and panel discussions will give form to the New York focus, which is motivated out of an exigency to examine current and speculative notions of 21st-century African trajectories of dispersion, as produced by African and African descent subjects. What might it mean to be of African descent today in the current climate of heightened polarization of race issues in the United States? What role did art play and can it continue playing in a context defined by the past, affect and belonging? Are cultural-specific artistic trajectories decipherable in a contemporary art arena where geographical borders are no longer decisive in the production of meaning, and cross-pollination and multiplicity of forms increasingly define the ecologies of artistic practice?

Admission to FORUM events are free with any ticket to 1:54 NY, Frieze NY, or a VIP Pass (1:54/Frieze), but guests must reserve their seats at due to a limited capacity.

Friday, May 15

Opening remarks by Koyo Kouoh, Artistic Director RAW
Material Company and Curator of FORUM Education Program 1:54

Keynote address: Black Aesthetics Unbound
Delivered by Margo Natalie Crawford, Associate Professor in the Department of English at Cornell University. Followed by a Q & A.

Panel: Global Black Subjectivities: Here and Now
This panel centres on cultural belonging in the artistic arena with discussants Naima J. Keith, Associate Curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Rujeko Hockley, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum, New York; and artist Julie Mehretu.

Moderated by Chika Okeke-Agulu, artist, curator, and Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Archaeology, and Center for African American Studies at Princeton University.

Artist talk
Adrienne Edwards, Curator, Performa is in conversation with artists Hank Willis Thomas and Lyle Ashton Harris to consider the semantics of the term “diaspora” in relation to contemporary art practice.

Artist talk
Dexter Wimberly, independent curator and Director of Strategic Planning at Independent Curators International (ICI) is in conversation with artists Meleko Mokgosi and Lavar Munroe to consider the semantics of the term “diaspora” in relation to contemporary art practice.

Saturday, May 16

Panel: Cultural Specific Curating in Institutions
Representing MoMA, Newark Museum and LACMA respectively are discussants Thomas J. Lax, Associate Curator in the Department of Media and Performance Art at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Christa Clarke, Senior Curator, Arts of Global Africa at Newark Museum; and Franklin Sirmans, Terri and Michael Smooke Curator and Department Head, Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Moderated by Steven Nelson, Professor of African and African American Art History at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Discussion: Breaking the Ice
Christian Haye, art dealer and Founder of The Project, is in conversation with artist Melvin Edwards to discuss the historical and political legacies played by the pioneering galleries Just Above Midtown (JAM) founded by Linda Goode Bryant (1974–86) and Haye’s The Project (1998–2009), as critical platforms for African and African American artists.

Moderated by Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, Curator of African Art at the Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, Hanover.

Gallery talk
With discussants Mariane Ibrahim-Lenhardt, Director of Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, Seattle, and Lisa Brittan, Director of Axis Gallery, New York.

Moderated by Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, Curator of African Art at the Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, Hanover.

Book launch: exhibition catalogue
Body Talk: Feminism, Sexuality and the Body in the Work of Six African Women Artists (2015) with Koyo Kouoh and participating artist Marcia Kure.

About RAW Material Company
RAW Material Company is a not for profit center for art, knowledge and society. It is an art initiative unfolding within the realms of exhibition making, creative residencies, knowledge sharing, and archiving and production of theory and criticism. It works to foster appreciation and growth of artistic and intellectual creativity in Africa.