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5 Artsy Viewing Rooms to Explore This Fall

While galleries around the world are reopening with fresh, dynamic fall shows, online, they’re showcasing highlights from their programs in Artsy Viewing Rooms. Below is a selection of the most compelling presentations for you to browse.

“Styling: Black Expression, Rebellion, and Joy Through Fashion”
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“Styling: Black Expression, Rebellion, and Joy Through Fashion”
The brainchild of curator Souleo, “Styling: Black Expression, Rebellion, and Joy Through Fashion” celebrates the centennial of the Harlem Renaissance. The show examines the role of style in Black culture through the lens of self-expression, rebellion against oppression, and joy.
Highlights of the viewing room include ’s powerful photographs of young models in Morocco, the Congo, and his native Nigeria; ’s new untitled work composed of durags on canvas; and ’s portraits of Black icons, from Eartha Kitt to Billy Porter, wearing African masks. The artists’ work honors and celebrates the complex history of fashion in Black culture.
The project is a partnership between Long Gallery Harlem and Nordstrom, which is hosting the physical exhibition in its flagship New York City store from September 17th to October 29th.

“Thomas Houseago — Recovery Works”
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“Thomas Houseago — Recovery Works”
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Xavier Hufkens’s Artsy Viewing Room presents a collection of fresh-from-the-studio paintings on paper by British artist . As the title of this new series, “Recovery Works,” suggests, these paintings were a critical part of the artist’s recovery from childhood trauma and unresolved personal issues, exacerbated by a year of turmoil.
While Houseago is best known for his large-scale sculptures, he has spoken openly about the fundamental role that drawing and painting have played in processing his emotions, something he discovered as a child when he used drawing as a technique for escapism and disassociation. The paintings present a vibrant serenity indicative of Houseago’s “gradual return to an improved state of mind.” Meditative paintings of the sun and moon rising and setting over the ocean or the artist’s daily matcha ritual are tempered by darker moments, such as The Trap - Escaped or Father & Son (both 2020), which imply some of the challenges that this series has helped Houseago to overcome.

Fontana Ceramics

Robilant + Voena

“Fontana Ceramics”
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“Fontana Ceramics”
Robilant + Voena’s stunning presentation of ’s ceramics features 16 sculptures from the 1940s to ’60s. The works are contextualized by enlightening quotes and archival images, including contact sheets showing the artist working in the studio.
Fontana began working with ceramics in the 1930s, and his ceramics were integral to his experiments with space and his fascination with transcending the boundaries of the physical object and the traditional picture plane. These sculptural experiments are a precursor to his founding of the art movement, largely represented by his slashed canvases and punctuated works on paper, which are themselves decidedly sculptural in nature.
This viewing room includes a selection of the artist’s “Concetti Spaziali” (spatial concepts) alongside a number of expressive sculptures with figurative elements that reference religious and cultural elements of life in Italy, such as Madonna and Child (1954–57) and Corrida (Bullfight) (ca. 1950).

“Judy Chicago: Mother Earth + Cohanim”
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“Judy Chicago: Mother Earth + Cohanim”
The long-overdue renaissance of ’s practice has continued to build momentum in recent years as she has been recognized as the queen of feminist art. She was recognized in Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2018 and Artsy’s “Most Influential Artists of 2018,” and was named a “Visionary” in 2019 by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Chicago’s first retrospective was due to open this past May at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, though it is now scheduled for November 2021.
Jessica Silverman, one of Chicago’s primary galleries, combines two exhibitions by the artist in this powerful viewing room presentation. The first, “Mother Earth,” includes new and historic works dedicated to the artist’s passion for environmental causes, from her 1980s “Shadow Drawings” and “Birth Project” works to recent portraits of endangered species. The second exhibition, “Cohanim,” is a series of porcelain paintings, commemorating Leonard Cohen and his lyrics.

James Barnor: Selected Works

October Gallery

“James Barnor: Selected Works”
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“James Barnor: Selected Works”
October Gallery has played a fundamental role in bringing a diverse range of global artists to London since the 1970s. As a charitable trust funded largely by art sales, the gallery delivers a cultural program including music, performance, and educational initiatives for all ages alongside exhibitions by a roster of leading international artists.
The gallery’s Artsy Viewing Room hosts an online-only presentation of photography by . The Ghanaian-born, London-based photographer is featured in The Artsy Vanguard 2020 as part of the “Getting Their Due” section dedicated to artists finally receiving the acclaim they deserve. Barnor began his career as a photojournalist in his native Accra, where he worked for the influential anti-apartheid magazine Drum. In 1959, he moved to London, where he studied photography and continued to shoot covers for Drum magazine featuring multinational models around the city. His thoughtfully composed photographs, shot in both black-and-white and color, depict bold fashion trends against a backdrop of daily life in Accra and London. Images such as Elrin Ilbreck at Trafalgar Square (ca. 1966) and AGIP Calendar Model (1974) effortlessly balance staged and candid aesthetics to create a striking and unique perspective.
Gemma Rolls-Bentley