Chartered in New York State as a Fine Arts Museum in 1968, located at 2033 Fifth Avenue in Harlem, the Studio Museum is committed to the present, honoring the past. The Museum houses two Galleries, East and West, which can be converted into lecture space. In addition, the James Van Der Zee Archives, consisting of 125,000 photographs, are presently housed at SMH.
A Museum’s strength is noted by its collection. A highly acclaimed Curatorial Council composed of artists Benny Andrews, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Hale Woodruff, Charles White, Hughie Lee-Smith, Merton Simpson, Elizabeth Catlett Mora, photo-journalist Roy de Carava — noted Art Historians and Curators — advise the museum on acquisitions and exhibitions.
During the past ten years, this community-based institution has demonstrated an awareness of the aesthetic needs of its constituency by exhibiting works of art by up-and-coming Black artists as well as those with an international reputation. The Studio Museum enriches the lives of the total community and serves as a showplace for artistic and cultural expression. Top priority programs are education — Co-operative School program in which artists go to public schools to teach fine arts. The Artist-in-Residence program donates studio space to four artists — a painter, sculptor, photographer and printmaker. The director is Mary Schmidt Campbell; the deputy director is William Day and T. Peter Davis is the new director of development.
Under the dynamic leadership of Richard V. Clark, the Board of Trustees is bringing a renewed vitality to SMH. Note the recent Opening Reception in April for the exhibition Beauford Delaney: A Retrospective, the inaugural exhibition in the Museum’s Black Masters Series. It is the first major retrospective of Delaney’s works, including more than 70 oils, pastels and drawings spanning his entire career from 1930-1971.
These works represent a small portion of hundreds of paintings Delaney created during his period in Paris from 1953 to 1971. While Beauford Delaney is relatively unknown to the general public, he came to prominence in the late 1930s when his work was first noticed by the major artists and writers of that period — James Jones, Henry Miller and James Baldwin, who were among those in his circle of friends and admirers. Delaney is now confined to a psychiatric institution in Paris.
Beauford Delaney: A Retrospective will be on exhibit at the Studio Museum in Harlem until July 2. (212) 427-5959)
JAM (Just Above Midtown)
Linda Goode-Bryant, the energetic young director of JAM (Just Above Midtown), announced two exhibitions scheduled for summer showing at the gallery. During the month of June, there will be Group Photography Show. In July, an exhibition, New and Emerging Artists, will be shown. The need to spotlight some of these artists and the other well-known artists, compelled Linda to publish — at her own expense — Contextures. Artist and writer Randy Williams was the inspiration behind this effort.
Contextures, by Linda Goode-Bryant and Marcy S. Philips, a book presenting the theory of a stylistic development during the 1970s will be published and distributed by Just Above Midtown Gallery, Inc.
The first section of Contextures chronicles the abstract continuum in the visual arts from 1945 to the present. Unlike other texts on the subject, this book incorporates the Afro-American abstractionist amidst and among these ongoing and radical developments. While active and recognized within the general milieu, many of these artists have been excluded from general survey texts, as well as from those which have focused exclusively on Afro-American art from a representational, social, racial and/or political perspective.
The Theory of Contextures, an innovative stylistic designation, formulated for the first time in this book, constitutes the second part of the text. Based on similarities found among artists working independently on both the East and West Coasts, Contextures discusses the philosophies and ramifications of this new movement of the 1970s.
Because of the dearth of information on many of the artists, much of the research for this book has been done first-hand by the authors, including extensive interviews with the artists. The book has over seventy previously unpublished illustrations [16 in color].
Besides being an important addition to one’s personal library, Contextures is a text that lends itself to a college-level contemporary art course, as well as a course on Afro-American art. It brings to the forefront not only a group of artists long overdue for recognition among their peers, but also discusses for the first time an important movement in current art history.