Tag: Studio Museum in Harlem

Author Toni Morrison and Curator Thelma Golden to Receive 2019 Awards from American Academy of Arts and Letters

Toni Morrison and Thelma Golden (photos via artsandletters.org)

The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced the recipients of its highest honors for excellence in the arts, to be presented at its annual ceremony in May. Toni Morrison will be awarded the Gold Medal for Fiction. The Gold Medal is awarded to those who have achieved eminence in an entire body of work.

Thelma Golden will be recognized with the Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts for her significant contribution as Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem. Sculptor Lee Bontecou will also be honored this year.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. Early members included Henry James, Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Mark Twain, and Edith Wharton. The Academy’s 250 members are elected for life and pay no dues.

In addition to electing new members as vacancies occur, the Academy seeks to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts by administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the country. This year’s total expenditures on awards and grants will be $1.2 million. Continue reading “Author Toni Morrison and Curator Thelma Golden to Receive 2019 Awards from American Academy of Arts and Letters”

The Art of Being Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem

Thelma Golden. (Photo: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders)
Thelma Golden. (Photo: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders)

If Thelma Golden didn’t exist, you would want to invent her. As director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Golden brings her unique passion, commitment, style and laser-focus to every project she touches.

Being so good at what one does almost always stems from true love, and Golden has always been smitten with art. “When I was about 10 years old, a family friend gave my brother and I the board game Masterpiece, which involved figuring out who had stolen a great work of art,” the Queens-born Golden told theGrio. “The game included cards that represented the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, and those deeply engaged me in the idea of a museum.”

However, it was her elementary teacher, Lucille Buck, who really brought her into the study of art history. “Mrs. Buck was an art aficionado and felt strongly that we should not only visit museums, but also learn about the art, artists and artworks we were going to see before our visits. She began my lifelong love of learning about art.”

Golden takes the art world by storm

Armed with a B.A. in Art History and African-American Studies from Smith College, Golden actually started her career at the Studio Museum in 1987, prior to joining the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1988. She spent ten years at the Whitney. Her first big exhibition as curator was the 1993 Whitney Biennial (always a provocative seasonal show), but she really made her mark in 1994 when she organized the controversial exhibition Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art.

The show ruffled the feathers of black and white viewers — and critics — alike, but opened up new dialogues. Golden says that in many ways, it was her dream show. “By having been fortunate enough to do that so early on in my career, it has really freed me to be truly curatorially curious. I had the great advantage to make an exhibition so wholly influential to my thinking and the ideas that I was engaged with that it has let me, in the intervening twenty years, follow my mind and my heart around the art and artists that I love.”

Continue reading “The Art of Being Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem”

Brooklyn-based Artist Jennie C. Jones Wins $50,000 Wein Prize

Artist Jennie C. Jones
Artist Jennie C. Jones

Studio Museum in Harlem is awarding its Wein Prize, one of the most lucrative in contemporary art, to Jennie C. Jones, a 44-year-old Brooklyn-based painter and sculptor whose work – which she describes as “listening as a conceptual practice” – centers on music.

The prize, with a $50,000 award, has been given every year since 2006 to established or emerging African-American artists. It was started by George Wein, a founder of the Newport Jazz Festival, in honor of his wife, Joyce Alexander Wein, a longtime trustee of the museum who died in 2005.

l1060599The prize, whose announcement was delayed by Hurricane Sandy, will be given at a museum gala on Feb. 4. Thelma Golden, the museum’s director and chief curator, said in an interview that Ms. Jones was chosen “not only to celebrate the rigor and strength of her practice, but also because of the thinking about what this amazingly generous prize could do for her at this point in her career.”

Ms. Jones, who will have a solo exhibition in May at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, has been featured in several shows over the last decade at the Studio Museum and in Chelsea. Her work often uses the language of Minimalism to explore, and sometimes  appropriate, avant-garde jazz and other modern music.

“I kept seeing these amazing parallels in ideologies for both disciplines, especially in jazz and abstraction,” Ms. Jones has said. “Conceptualism allows these different media to occupy the same space.”

article by Randy Kennedy via nytimes.com

Collector Russell L. Goings Prepares To Disperse Rarely-Seen Romare Bearden Trove

At first glance the modest living room with parquet floor and track lighting resembles any space with an indifferent housekeeper: papers abound, stacks of paintings lean against walls, an indistinct jumble of items swallows a small table. But then Russell L. Goings starts pulling out what he calls his “stuff,” and his home improbably transforms into a personal art gallery, one brimming with his extensive collection of work by Romare Bearden, the 20th-century artist best known for his soulful collages of African-American life. Bearden also happened to be Mr. Goings’s longtime close friend. Continue reading “Collector Russell L. Goings Prepares To Disperse Rarely-Seen Romare Bearden Trove”