For its 2020 edition, The Armory Show is pleased to announce four Special Projects. These include a presentation of Dawoud Bey’s Harlem U.S.A., 1975-1979, organized and exhibited by Sean Kelly; an installation by For Freedoms; a live performance from artist Jeffrey Gibson in Times Square; and Mel Kendrick’s Sculpture No. 4 (1991), presented by David Nolan Gallery.
Dawoud Bey | A 33-work photography series, Harlem, U.S.A., 1975-1979, presented by Sean Kelly
Adjacent to its presentation in the Galleries section (Booth 501), Sean Kelly, exhibiting at The Armory Show for its 19th consecutive year, will present the entire suite of photographs from Dawoud Bey’s iconic Harlem, U.S.A., 1975-1979. The presentation marks the first time in forty years that this historically important series has been on view in New York. This body of work debuted at The Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979 as the artist’s first solo exhibition. Growing up in Queens, Bey began photographing Harlem whilst still a teenager. His black and white photographs capture subjects Bey encountered on the street, and depict the variety of Harlem’s street life and its residents: the barber, the patrician, the church ladies, the stylish youth, and the elderly, amongst others. These sensitive compositions convey the dignity and respect Bey brings to the subjects he depicts, an approach that has characterized the artist’s work from the very beginning and continues to inform his ongoing visualization of collective experience and history.
For Freedoms | An installation of banners depicting nationwide initiatives of the not-for-profit organization For Freedoms, created site specifically for The Armory Show
For Freedoms, a national collective for creative citizenship founded in 2016 by artists Eric Gottesman and Hank Willis Thomas, presents over 200 feet of wall vinyl featuring images that illustrate three key past projects. This installation, spanning The Armory Show’s Promenade (linking Piers 90 and 94) highlights the impact of these art initiatives—raising awareness of the crucial role their projects have in the art community, and also the importance of the organization to a broader audience.
The first initiative featured in the installation is the collective’s Four Freedoms photographs, a series that transforms Norman Rockwell’s interpretations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s ‘Four Freedoms’ (freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear), and imagines what such liberties might look like in a contemporary context. In their final form, this selection from over 86 photographic compilations attempts to reflect the immeasurable diversity of American identities today.
For Freedoms is also showcasing imagery from four years of its artist-designed billboard projects. These continue the long history of artists using mass media and artistic experimentation to present civically engaged art that sparks conversations and resonates with all Americans. Artists who have participated in For Freedoms’ billboard projects include Marilyn Minter, Theaster Gates, Rashid Johnson, Gran Fury, Felix Gonzales-Torres, and Alfredo Jaar. Since its founding in 2016, For Freedoms has collaborated with over 200 artists on nearly 300 billboards in all 50 States, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
The final component of the installation is the Freedom Quilt, which is comprised of portraits, names, and self-defined freedoms that have been shared by participants at various For Freedoms events. In partnership with organizations and institutions such as the Sundance Institute, the Hammer Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), For Freedoms asks us to weave our collective freedoms—speaking to our fears, dreams, and desires.
Jeffrey Gibson | A live performance by Jeffrey Gibson, featuring Sarah Ortegon, presented in partnership with Times Square Arts, Kavi Gupta Gallery, Roberts Projects, and the Brooklyn Museum
Building upon The Armory Show’s partnership with Times Square Arts last year, and to fête Jeffrey Gibson’s various projects throughout New York City—including Times Square Arts’ ‘Midnight Moment;’ the Brooklyn Museum’s When Fire Is Applied to a Stone It Cracks; Armory Live’s ‘Jeffrey Gibson in conversation with Eugenie Tsai;’ and Gibson’s work on view at The Armory Show at Kavi Gupta Gallery (Booth 609) and Roberts Projects (Booth 710)—Jeffrey Gibson has conceived of a live dance performance by Sarah Ortegon that brings to life the central figure in his Midnight Moment work, She Never Dances Alone (2019). This one-time performance for Armory VIPs and the public will be followed by a viewing of She Never Dances Alone on Saturday, March 7 from 11:30 to midnight at Duffy Square at 46th and Broadway. A multi-channel video created specifically for the screens of Times Square, She Never Dances Alone is Gibson’s celebration of the Indigenous matriarchy, centering on the jingle dress dance—an intertribal powwow dance traditionally performed by women to call upon ancestors for strength, healing, and protection. As Sarah Ortegon, an acclaimed jingle dress dancer and Miss Native American USA 2013–14, performs in various embellished, handmade dresses, the swaying colors, textures, and patterns pop against a black background and fold into kaleidoscopic abstractions. Ortegon’s image multiplies within each screen and across the plazas, creating the impression that many women have come together to dance over Times Square. The video ends with a close-up of Ortegon’s face after she has stopped dancing, calming her breath as she stares intently ahead — and at the people watching from below.
Mel Kendrick | Sculpture No. 4 (1991), presented by David Nolan Gallery
A preeminent American sculptor, Kendrick’s practice has involved the use of cast bronze, concrete, a variety of woods, rubber, resin, as well as investigations with cast paper. Kendrick addresses philosophical, conceptual, and fundamental questions around sculpture: namely, the relationship between the object as we experience it and the clearly evident means by which it was created. The work on view, Sculpture No. 4 (1991), is one of the largest and most important from a series of black wood sculptures from the 1990s. As is typical of Kendrick’s wood sculptures, this work is made from a single block of wood, painted in black, and then cut in sections that are subsequently reassembled into a 9-foot-tall, free-standing hybrid form. Guided by the essential properties of his chosen material, the naturally occurring character of wood defines the direction of the artwork; its exploration of negative and positive space; and the relationship to the body and the viewer. The process and playful approach to form and movement unfolds in an obsessive yet direct way that allows the viewer to examine the internal logic, geometric order, and organic aspects of the work.
Curatorial Leadership Summit
On Thursday, March 5, the third annual Curatorial Leadership Summit (CLS), chaired by José Carlos Diaz (Chief Curator of the Andy Warhol Museum), will assemble prominent national and international curators from leading institutions for a daylong program of closed-door discussions, taking place on-site at The Armory Show. The talks will explore and debate issues such as cultural appropriation, censorship, and identity politics. Confirmed attendees include curators, arts administrators, and leadership from institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the AlbrightKnox Art Gallery, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, the Bass Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Institute for Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, to name a few.
The invitation-only CLS program will culminate with a public talk at 3:30pm that features a conversation between curator Maura Reilly and artist Rhonda Lieberman; it will kick off the acclaimed Armory Live public talks program.
The 2020 edition of Armory Live will convene a diverse group of prominent individuals—from artists, writers, and curators, to entrepreneurs and creative practitioners—for a four-day program of conversations staged in the Armory Live Theater on Pier 94. The Armory Live program, open to all Armory Show attendees, will host a cast of critical thinkers sharing the stage for a series of panels aimed at investigating the pressing social and political challenges faced by the art world today.
Thursday, March 5, 3:30pm | In Conversation: Curatorial Leadership Summit’s Public Talk
Closing the Curatorial Leadership Summit and kicking off the Armory Live programming, curator Maura Reilly (Independent curator; previously: Founding Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, among other institutional affiliations) will be in conversation with artist Rhonda Lieberman in an open-to-the-public talk.
Friday, March 6, 12:30pm | In Conversation: Cultural History, Collectivism, and Censorship Artist Jeffrey Gibson in conversation with Eugenie Tsai (John and Barbara Vogelstein Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum).
Friday, March 6, 2pm | Panel: Architecture, Institutions, and Climate Change Moderated by Daniel A. Barber (Associate Professor and Chair of the PhD Program in Architecture, University of Pennsylvania Weitzman School of Design). Participants include Legacy Russell (Associate Curator at the Studio Museum in Harlem), Pedro Gadanho (Harvard University Loeb Fellow 2020; previously: founding Director of the Museum of Art, Architecture, and Technology in Lisbon), and José Esparza Chong Cuy (Executive Director and Chief Curator at Storefront for Art and Architecture).
Friday, March 6, 4pm | Panel: Representation, Body Politics, and Mass Incarceration Moderated by Renuka Sawhney (Senior Development Associate at the Vera Institute of Justice). Participants include Dread Scott (artist), Helena Huang (Project Director at the Art for Justice Fund), Nicole R. Fleetwood (Professor of American Studies and Art History at Rutgers University), Insha Rahman (Director of Strategy and New Initiatives at the Vera Institute of Justice), and Jesse Krimes (artist and Art for Justice Fellow).
Saturday, March 7, 12:30pm | In Conversation: The Artist/Collector Relationship Collector Jarl Mohn in conversation with multidisciplinary artist Liz Glynn.
Saturday, March 7, 2pm | In Conversation: Art and Luxury Artnet News editor-in-chief Andrew Goldstein speaks with fashion designer (and Creative Director of fashion label Sies Marjan) Sander Lak regarding the crossover of two industries that share more than just values.
Saturday, March 7, 4pm | Panel: Can Data Help Make the Art World More Equitable? Moderated by Julia Halperin (Executive Editor of Artnet News). Panelists include Camille Morineau (Curator and Founder of AWARE), Taylor Whitten Brown (PhD candidate in Computational Sociology at Duke University), and Gamynne Guillotte (Director of Interpretation and Public Engagement at the Baltimore Museum of Art).
Sunday, March 8, 12:30pm | Panel: Institutional Storytelling and Revisionist Histories Moderated by Anne Ellegood (Executive Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles). Participants include Rita Gonzalez (Curator and Head of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Tomashi Jackson (artist), Asma Naeem (Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Chief Curator at the Baltimore Museum of Art), and Enrico Riley (artist).
Sunday, March 8, 2pm | In Conversation: Truth, Fiction, and Memory Writer and editor Kimberly Drew in conversation with artist Howardena Pindell.
Sunday March8, 4pm | Panel: Funding Creative Change: Artists, Neighbors, and Community Transformation Moderated by Deana Haggag (President and CEO of United States Artists). Participants include Kemi Ilesanmi (Executive Director of the Laundromat Project), Victoria Rogers (Trustee of the Brooklyn Museum and Creative Time), and Hank Willis Thomas (artist and co-founder of For Freedoms).