§ The Studio Museum in Harlem: Alma Thomas & Three Artists in Residence

Alma Thomas

The Studio Museum in Harlem on West 125th Street, just down from the Apollo Theater, is a new one for me. (Hey, I’ve only been here 8 months!) But this show was a great place to start. Alma Thomas is a big favorite of mine and I ask her to forgive me for sort of copying her style on some of my paintings. Steal from the best I suppose!

The show covers her career and demonstrates that she was a treasure throughout her working life. I’m going to keep this short so here’s a few of her gems, some early work and also from her more famous period. I recommend going by to see more of the early and late work!

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Tenses – Three Artists in Residence

The Studio also has three really terrific artists in residence for 2016 for an exhibit called Tenses (#AIRtenses online). Jordan Casteel (below left) is an evocative portrait painter who uses striking angles, spacing, and colors and has a true flair for capturing a setting. The catalogue describes her as in the tradition of Romare Bearden and Alice Neel (about the highest praise I can think of) and I can’t disagree. Given the horrific news of the last decade (think Trayvon and Ferguson), there is a political angle here too, but the real focus is on the humanity of the people and their communities.

EJ Hill is a performance artist and his piece, A Monumental Offering of Potential Energy, amazes (middle below). It’s linear perhaps 20′ by 5′ and consists of a platform with a roller coaster made of wood and tubular LED lighting. And oh, EJ lying at one end absolutely still in the soft light. You could miss him if you’re not paying attention. He’s there everyday, never moving.

Last is Jibade-Khalil Huffman who fills a room with video, sculpture, photography, painting and sound. I’m not even going to try to explain it! But go and see it anyway.

Alma and the artists in residence get a big recommendation from me.

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