1:54 NY 2016 FORUM Program Announced

1:54 Art Fair
Apr 13, 2016 7:22PM

Dave McKenzie, This ship would set sail, even anchored as it was, 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Performa

1:54 FORUM  

6–7 May 2016
Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, New York

Announcing the full 2016 programme for 1:54 FORUM, the fair’s discursive programme curated by Koyo Kouoh, Founder and Artistic Director of RAW Material Company, Dakar and Curator of the 2016 EVA International - Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art. 

This year, Kouoh welcomes as her collaborators Adrienne Edwards (Performa, New York and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis), Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi (Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College), and Dexter Wimberly(independent New York-based curator). In addition to FORUM, 1:54 will host 1:54 PERFORMS, a new performance section for this year’s edition co-presented with Performa and curated by Adrienne Edwards, Curator at Performa and Curator-at-Large at the Walker Art Center. This innovative platform of the fair will centre around two original performances.

Featuring contributions from a rising generation of cultural entrepreneurs and producers, FORUM’s programme will pivot around key areas of interest that include independent and institutional curating in an increasingly digital and decentered age. This will build on current waves of productivity steadily metabolising the digital as a valuable tool in disseminating and connecting with forms of knowledge and exchange. FORUM will act as a go-between travelling from historical, formative moments to future hypotheses in the areas of artmaking, exhibition, dissemination and critical reflection. With a vast amount of activity now taking place online, the subject of how institutions have sought to deal with this shift, with its own conditions of engagement and display, will also be visited.

Further considered will be the increasingly digitality of the art world, and how this might be mapped out in respect of routes of physical repatriation. This comes at a time when many creative practitioners, having undertaken their training and education in the United States and Europe, are returning to the African continent to work in the cultural sector. Challenges abound, we might ask whether this means more possibilities are being afforded; and whether professionals are able to move more freely to live and work beyond the limits of geography. The full schedule continues below.

1:54 FORUM Full Programme

Friday, May 6

1:00 – 1:25 PM: Welcome & Opening Remarks by Koyo Kouoh 

1:30 – 2:30 PM: Beyond Cultural Polarities: Africa’s Creative ‘Repats’
As Africa’s international creative class becomes more visible on the continent – particularly in major metropolises like Dakar, Lagos, Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Luanda and Johannesburg – many diaspora Africans are choosing to return to the continent. Many of these returnees, known as ‘repats’, are highly educated and skilled, and while they have shown that they can seize new opportunities and transfer skills to Africa’s nascent creative industries, they face plenty of challenges. Discussants include Andrew Dosunmu (filmmaker based in Nigeria); Nina Keïta(entrepreneur based in Côte d'Ivoire); and Elinyisia Mosha (journalist based in Tanzania). Moderated by Claude Grunitzky (Founder and Editor-in-Chief of TRUE Africa). 

3:00 – 4:00 PM: Media Platforms for the Promotion of the Arts, Visual Cultures, and Social Experiences of and about Africa and the Diaspora
This panel explores the new wave of omnibus digital content providers focused on African and African Diaspora contemporary cultures and social activities with discussants Claude Grunitzky (Chairman and Editor-in-Chief ofTRUE Africa) and Abiola Oke (CEO of Okayafrica). Moderated by Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi (Curator of African Art at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College).

4:30 – 5:30 PM: The Politics and Privilege of Play: Dexter Wimberly (independent curator) in conversation with ruby onyinyechi amanze (artist)
Navigating the liminal space between fantasy and reality, ruby onyinyechi amanze's drawings envision speculative narratives of self-discovery, supernatural existence and spatio-temporal escapism to evoke ideas around cultural hybridity, belonging, and displacement.

6:00 – 7:00 PM: Reframing Beauty: Deborah Willis (University Professor Chair, Department of Photography & Imaging, New York University - Tisch School of the Arts) in conversation with Omar Victor Diop (artist)
Omar Victor Diop is an artist and photographer interested in exploring the philosophical reference of beauty as well as the interplay between fact and fiction, identity and history. For this conversation, Prof. Deborah Willis combines a historical, contemporary, and theoretical approach to how Diop’s images are constructed through an African Diasporic history and global references to beauty, media, advertising, fashion, and popular culture. 

Saturday, May 7

2:00 – 3:00 PM: Emerging Social Entrepreneurs and Cultural Brokers
This panel explores the changing dynamics and growing interest in contemporary art and cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora. It spotlights an upcoming generation of African social entrepreneurs who are seizing the opportunity to mobilise new platforms of discussion. Discussants are Ifeanyi Awachie (Curator of Africa Salon: Yale University’s contemporary African arts and culture festival); Shimite Obialo (lawyer and Founder of the digital platform Anoko); Sharon Obuobi (Founder of Art Accra); and Amy Sall (Founder and Editor-In-Chief of SUNU Journal of African Affairs, Critical Thought + Aesthetics). Moderated by Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi.

3:30 – 4:30 PM: Museums and Contemporary African Art 
The panel explores practices in collecting, curating, and the display of contemporary art by African artists in American museums with discussants Karen Milbourne (Curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art); Kevin Dumouchelle (Associate Curator of Arts of Africa and the Pacific Islands at the Brooklyn Museum); andYesomi Umolu (Curator of Exhibitions at University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts). Moderated by Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi.

5:00 – 6:00 PM: Materiality, Storytelling, and Grand Narratives in Contemporary African Art: Dexter Wimberly (independent curator) in conversation with Billie Zangewa (artist)
Billie Zangewa is an internationally celebrated Johannesburg-based Malawian artist who works with fabrics, mostly silk, to create intricate tapestries. By way of her rich, elaborate silk ‘paintings', Zangewa celebrates black femininity, self-empowerment, and the importance of storytelling.

6:30 – 7:30 PM: Adrienne Edwards (Curator at Performa and Curator-at-Large at the Walker Art Center) in conversation with Dave McKenzie (artist) 
Dave McKenzie is a conceptual artist working in performance, photography, and video. McKenzie has been invited by Adrienne Edwards to compose a special text-based performance for 1:54, which will be performed at intervals throughout the fair. This conversation between Edwards and McKenzie explores the depth of the project as an expression of the influence of printmaking on the artist’s approach to multi-disciplinary performance.


Friday 6 & Saturday 7 May, ongoing

Dave McKenzie
This ship would set sail, even anchored as it was, 2016
As a special project for FORUM, Dave McKenzie composes a slow text-based performance using sneakers he is currently prototyping. The performance takes as its point of departure the curatorial proposition centered on the centennial anniversary of Pan-African leader Marcus Garvey’s arrival in New York City in 1916. 

1:54 Art Fair