Programming at 1:54 NY 2016

1:54 Art Fair
Apr 28, 2016 3:31PM

1:54 FORUM 2015 in New York: “Global Black Subjectivities: Here and Now”, with panelists Naima J. Keith, Associate Curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Rujeko Hockley, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum, New York; and artist Julie Mehretu; Moderated by Chika Okeke-Agulu © Katrina Sorrentino

1:54 FORUM, the fair’s unique discursive program, is 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 devised as a collaborative format, Kouoh welcomes to the program 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 is hosting 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.

Koyo Kouoh delivering her opening comments at 1:54 FORUM 2015 in New York © Katrina Sorrentino

1:54 FORUM Full Program

The FORUM sessions will take place on the 2nd floor of Pioneer Works.
Entry to FORUM is included in tickets to 1:54, no pre-booking is required.


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. This panel frames the concept of African repatriation through the insight of three entrepreneurs: 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. The discussants are Claude Grunitzky (Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of TRUE 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.


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 African Diaspora. It spotlights an upcoming generation of African social entrepreneurs who are seizing the opportunity to mobilize 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); and Yesomi 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)
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.

1:54 FORUM 2015 in New York © Katrina Sorrentino



Dave McKenzie
This ship would set sail, even anchored as it was, 2016
Throughout the building and grounds of Pioneer Works

As a special project for FORUM, Dave McKenzie composes a slow text-based performance using sneakers he is currently prototyping. The soles of the shoes function like keys on a typewriter that allow him to print text on a paper surface through touch and bodily pressure. 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. The text is generated as a series of short performances/gestures, constructing an automatic/serial script that reveals itself over time. Trained in printmaking, McKenzie’s new work references and reimagines newsprint, a communication tool and vital organizing vehicle for Garvey once he arrived in the United States. Much like letterpress, lithography, and woodblock printing, McKenzie’s actions produce misprints as well as a record of the act of mark-making impressions. In McKenzie’s hands, the newspaper is rendered an ephemeral form as the artist creates images and text using his body and objects, creating a visual and sonic matrix through which we come to think about the possibilities for a story and a body to merge as image and speech. Visitors will receive prints as he converses or interacts with them.

1:54 Art Fair