Exhibitions

Luminos/C/ity.Ordinary Joy

Fall 2014:
Luminos/C/ity.Ordinary Joy

In Luminós/C/ity.Ordinary Joy, we explored a visual nexus of African urban subjectivities through an innovative consideration of the Jean Pigozzi Contemporary Art Collection (CAAC). We gathered a stunning array of ninety-eight works from twenty-one African artists: photographs, models, sculptures, paintings, and videographies that express vital, contemplative, and imaginative visions of city life. The individual works chosen by curators David Adjaye and Mariane Ibrahim-Lenhardt were each extraordinary and yet they resonated together as...

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Black Chronicles II

Fall 2015:
Black Chronicles II
Black Chronicles II explored the presence of black subjects in Victorian Britain through the prism of late 19th century studio portraiture.The Cooper Gallery installation presented the U.S. premiere of this critically acclaimed exhibition, first shown at Rivington Place, London in 2014. The second in a series of exhibitions dedicated to excavating archives, Black Chronicles II showcased Autograph ABP’s commitment to continuous critical enquiry into archive images which had been overlooked, under-researched or simply not recognised as significant previously... Read more about Black Chronicles II

Art of Jazz: Form/ Performance/ Notes

Spring 2016:
Art of Jazz: Form/ Performance/ Notes
The three-part exhibition “Art of Jazz: Form/Performance/Notes" held in conjunction with the Harvard Art Museums, private collectors, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and two Manhattan galleries—DC Moore Gallery and Luhring Augustine Gallery—explored the intersection of jazz music and the visual arts. Through more than 70 pieces ranging from early Jazz Age objects and mid-century jazz ephemera to contemporary works by established African American artists, “Art of Jazz” traced the beginnings of jazz in visual culture and how it was embraced... Read more about Art of Jazz: Form/ Performance/ Notes

The Woven Arc

Summer 2016:
The Woven Arc
THE WOVEN ARC explored the visual dialogues between an unusual selection of artworks not usually posed in conversation with each other: figurative and abstract sculptures, paintings, prints, and textiles, along with mixed media and performance-based video. Three artworks from our permanent collection—a Yinka Shonibare Food Faerie, a Nick Cave Soundsuit, and a conceptual piece by Peter Sacks—inspired us to consider other artworks that vibrate and move with sumptuous surfaces, embedded texts, an overt and oblique presence of the black body, and our historical... Read more about The Woven Arc

Carrie Mae Weems: "I once knew a girl"

Fall 2016:
Carrie Mae Weems: "I once knew a girl"
The Cooper Gallery presented the evocative work of internationally acclaimed photography and video installation artist Carrie Mae Weems, recipient of the 2013 MacArthur “Genius” grant and the 2015 W. E. B. Du Bois Medal. The exhibition highlighted her storytelling tableaux that question our social constructs of power, race, and space and pose a more multi-dimensional concept of humanity. Organized in three parts, Beauty, Legacies, and Landscapes, the installation illuminated our social and aesthetic vistas—both real and imagined—and...

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Harlem: Found Ways

Summer 2017:

Harlem: Found Ways

The exhibition Harlem: Found Ways presented artistic visions and engagements specific to Harlem, New York City, in the last decades. Each artwork employed a distinct set of inquiries and innovative strategies to explore the Harlem community’s visual heritage as it grapples with the challenges of gentrification.

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WOLE SOYINKA: Antiquities Across Times and Place

Internationally acclaimed dramatist, social critic, and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka is an avid collector of African artworks including those from his home country, Nigeria. We placed the collection in conversation with contemporary artists such as Peju Alatise, Moyo Okediji, Olu Amoda, Chris Abani, Peter Badejo, Osaretin Ighile, Bruce Onobrakpeya, and Tunde Kelani.

ReSignifications

The Cooper Gallery spring 2018 exhibition features an interpretive version of the remarkable installation, ReSignifications, by our guest curator, Awam Ampka. ReSignifications was originally presented in 2015 at New York University’s Villa La Pietra in Florence, Italy as part of “Black Portraiture[s] II: Imaging the Black Body and Re-Staging Histories.” 

ReSignifications links classical and popular representations of African bodies in European art, culture and history as it interprets and interrogates the “Blackamoor” trope in Western culture that emerged at the...

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