The exhibition, Marching On: The Politics of Performance at Storefront for Art and Architecture explores the legacy of marching and organized forms of performance within the African-American community, as “agents of cultural and political expression, celebrating collective identities and asserting rights to public space and visibility.”
The exhibition was commissioned by Storefront for Art and Architecture in a new project that “interweaves echoes of the 1917 Silent March against racial violence with references to the revered Harlem Hellfighters in order to celebrate the crucial role of the community’s collective performances as acts of both cultural expression and political resistance.”
Salon Series: On the Politics of Performance with Bryony Roberts, Mabel O. Wilson and Eva Franco took place in November, 2017.
As part of Marching On, Storefront partnered with the Marcus Garvey Park Alliance and Performa to present a series of performances during Performa 17. The project was directed and designed by Bryony Roberts and Mabel Wilson in collaboration with The Marching Cobras of New York, a Harlem-based after-school drum line and dance team.
These performances explore the legacy of marching as a form of cultural expression and political resistance, “particularly in the community of Harlem where they take place.” The Marching On Performances took place in Marcus Garvey Park (Harlem) in November, 2017 as a free event for the public. The Marching Cobras also performed for the Marcus Garvey Park Tree Lighting Ceremony in December, 2017.
Marching On was the inaugural project for the exhibition, Marching On: The Politics of Performance, which will open on April 14th. Described by Storefront, “Rooted in military training exercises and even combat itself, marching bands and drumlines were historically used to acknowledge military service in African-American communities and the absence of civil rights despite sacrifices to defend the nation. These performance forms have radically expanded since the nineteenth century to include dance lines with hip-hop and stepping choreography, but they remain connected to a strong political lineage. The symbols, iconography, costumes, colors, and movement used throughout this history reflect various understandings of social and cultural perceptions and actions. Addressing both historical and contemporary meanings, this exhibition celebrates the medium of marching performance, focusing in particular on the power of such performance to articulate heritage at a moment of rapid change.”
Marching On: The Politics of Performance, is curated by Eva Franco, Associate Curator, Carlos Minguez Carrasco, Strategic Development, Jinny Khanduja and Programs Producer, Max Lauler. The exhibition will be on view from Tuesday, April 14 to Saturday, June 9, 2018 at Storefront for Art and Architecture, 97 Kenmare Street, NYC. Exhibition Opening on April 14 from 5-7pm. (Members Preview 4-5pm), Performance with the Marching Cobras of NY will take place from 5:00 to 5:30pm, Public Opening of the Exhibit from 5:30 to 7:00pm.