Archive for June, 2015

Associate Curator Rachel Cook Awarded Warhol Foundation Grant

JUNE 24, 2015 by admin

DiverseWorks’ Associate Curator Rachel Cook has been awarded one of four Warhol Foundation Curatorial Fellowships! Launched in 2008, these fellowships are designed to “encourage curatorial research leading to new scholarship in the field of contemporary art.” Rachel’s award, in the amount of $40,000, will support travel, archival research, meetings with colleagues, interviews, and time to write. Congratulations, Rachel!!

In 1935 the American photographer Walker Evans was commissioned by Alfred Barr at the Museum of Modern Art to produce a portfolio of images from MoMA’s exhibition African Negro Art (1935). Evans’s photographs were produced in order to document the African objects and present them as works of art connected to the Western art historical tradition rather than as ethnographic objects or artifacts. To what extent can the photographs be read as evidence or as documents, and to what extent is a western modernist narrative imposed upon them? What is the relationship between the photographs and their objects? The Evans images act as a catalyst for revealing these concerns and providing a new context for scholarship regarding the object and the photograph.

The research will culminate in a large scale exhibition at DiverseWorks in 2017, and an accompanying publication. There will also be a series of panel discussions and discursive collaborations with the Menil Collection, which owns over 1000 African objects, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, which owns a portfolio of the Evans prints.

The Andy Warhol Foundation has been a longtime supporter of DiverseWorks, typically granting between $80,000 and $180,000 to be used over the course of two year periods. DiverseWorks is also, along with Aurora Picture Show and Project Row Houses, a partner organization with the Warhol Foundation that facilitates the Foundation’s regional re-granting initiative.


Above: Installation view of Perfect Objects (2000), an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that brought together Evans’s images and the objects he photographed.


Further information about Rachel’s project from the Warhol Foundation’s website:

In 1935, Walker Evans was commissioned to make a portfolio of prints documenting MoMA’s exhibition African Negro Art which displayed African objects as works of art connected to the Modernist tradition, rather than as ethnographic artifacts. Rachel Cook, associate curator at DiverseWorks, will research the history and shifting narratives around Evans’ photographs over time. First, she will visit MoMA’s archives in New York to study documents pertaining to the original exhibition and to the 1984 show Primitivism in the 20th Century. She will visit the Metropolitan Museum’s archives to research Perfect Documents: Walker Evans and African Art, 1935 (2000), in which the suite of prints was shown alongside a selection of the originally photographed objects. Cook will then travel to Africa for two weeks, visiting Nigeria, Cote D’Ivorie, and Gabon in order to learn more about the objects’ origins. Additionally, through a series of studio visits with artists in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, and New Orleans, Cook will explore how the Evans photographs have been scrutinized, critiqued and appropriated by contemporary artists. She will invite 10 artists to Houston for facilitated discussions and collaborative research into Evans’ photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and African objects at the Menil Collection. This will lay the groundwork for a future exhibition at Diverseworks. Artists under consideration include Regina Agu, Kevin Beasley, Julia Brown, Jamal Cyrus and Otabenga Jones & Associates, Danielle Dean, Malik Gaines and My Barbarian, Sharon Hayes, Simon Leigh, Wura Natasha Ogunji, Okwui Okpokwasili, Tameka Norris, Shani Peters, Emily Roysdon, and Adam Schreiber.

The Andy Warhol Foundation

Chelsea Knight Awarded New Museum Residency

JUNE 1, 2015 by admin

Chelsea Knight has been awarded a residency as part of the New Museum’s Spring 2015 Research and Development season, SPECULATION. The theme of speculation is being considered for, among other things, “its volatile relationship to faith and evocation of diverse possibilities for speculative futures, including alternative economies that focus on caregiving, collective labor, and new modes of distribution.”

For her residency, Knight will produce the final chapters of Fall to Earth, a cycle of short videos inspired by Salman Rushdie’s magical realist novel, The Satanic Verses. Of Fall to Earth, she writes, “this project investigates the threshold between belief and doubt. It is a look at censorship through the lens of blasphemous or socially condemned speech in comparison to a believer’s religious or ecstatic speech.”

Chelsea Knight and Houston based artist Knight and KnightAutumn Knight will also present Knight + Knight: Latencies, a performance that is part lecture, part dinner party, and part therapy session in which two female artists who share the same last name examine their symmetries and, in the process, some fundamentals around feminism and race. Knight + Knight: Latencies debuted at DiverseWorks in January, 2015.

Knight will be in residence at the New Museum through September, 2015.

About R&D, from the New Museum’s website:

“The New Museum’s Department of Education and Public Engagement introduced R&D Seasons in the fall of 2013. The seasonal approach allows artists and audiences to engage through research-based speculations around objects, ideas, and artistic practices across multiple platforms. Framing artist residencies, exhibitions, live performances, conferences, screenings, online publications, after-school programs for teens, family day activities, and archival research by way of topical questions, Seasons occur twice each year and are divided into Fall and Spring periods. Each Season, in turn, is organized around a central theme, connecting various projects in the Museum’s galleries, Theater, and Resource Center within a larger context that emphasizes process and emerging ideas through the strategy of “Research and Development.” Anchoring the New Museum’s dedication to expanded forms of knowledge and cultural production, Seasonal themes are wide-ranging and limber, rather than illustrative, and the artists, scholars, and curators whose work is examined test the limits of the themes themselves.”

Dan Byers Appointed Senior Curator at ICA/Boston

JUNE 1, 2015 by admin

Dan-Byers-6-final smDan Byers was recently appointed Senior Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston. Byers had previously led the department of modern and contemporary art at the Carnegie Museum of Art since 2012, where he was The Richard Armstrong Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. He spoke at DiverseWorks in September on the topic of the 2013 Carnegie International, which he co-curated along with Daniel Baumann and Tina Kukielski. A 2013 profile of Byers published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette can be found here.

Mark Tribe

JUNE 1, 2015 by admin

Mark Tribe recently closed New Landscapes, an exhibition at Dallas’s Zhulong Gallery. The exhibition brought together photographs from the Plein Air series, the Rare Earth series, video from the Birdsall series, and an LG Landscape.

mark_at_coleman_center_713fIn March, 2015, Tribe returned to York, Alabama, for this third visit to the Coleman Center for the Arts. Since 2013 Tribe has been working with the York community through the CCA on the ongoing project Painting York. According to CCA’s website, “In his initial work Tribe investigated the politics of belonging through living room visits with local citizens, political meetings and explorations of local and regional history of political organizing and war reenactments. Tribe’s visit culminated in a public discussion at the CCA about community development, political and economic progress, shared resources and future possibilities for the development of the City of York”

Tribe will return to York in July 2015 for further planning.

Liz Magic Laser Presents Exhibition at Various Small Fires in Los Angeles

JUNE 1, 2015 by admin

Artist Liz Magic Laser recently presented her second solo exhibition at Various Small Fires in Los Angeles, in which she debuted two new video works: The Thought Leader, and My Mind is My Own. For The Thought Leader, Laser adapted a monologue from Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground and hired a ten-year-old actor to deliver it in the form of a TED talk. In My Mind is My Own, the 11-year-old daughter of a vocal coach plays the role of a trainer in an instructional video whose talk takes on sinister tones.


Laser has also been included in the inaugural show at the Whitney’s new building, America Is Hard to See. The Whitney’s press release states, “Setting forth a distinctly new narrative, America Is Hard to See presents fresh perspectives on the Whitney’s collection and reflects upon art in the United States with over 600 works by some 400 artists, spanning the period from about 1900 to the present.” Wu Tsang, who presented a performance at DiverseWorks in 2014 is also included in America Is Hard to See.