As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance, the proposed Dorrance Brooks Square Historic District would recognize this neighborhood’s significant association with notable African Americans in the fields of politics, literature, healthcare, and education during the Harlem Renaissance from the early 1920s to the 1940s. The proposed district consists of intact streetscapes of a striking variety of 19th and early- 20th century row houses, multi-family dwellings, and institutions, designed by prominent New York City architects within two sections on either side of Frederick Douglass Boulevard between West 136th Street and West 140th Street.
Claire Oliver Gallery is proud to announce the Gallery’s debut solo exhibition of Bahamian artist Gio Swaby. Both Sides of the Sun is comprised of more than 20 new works that range from life-scale line works, created entirely from thread without the aid of pre-drawn sketches, to small-scale intimate mixed-media textile portraits. Swaby’s work seeks to underscore joy and resilience while showcasing the beauty in imperfection and individuality as a counterpoint to the often-politicized Black body.
Where were you in 1969? If you were in Harlem, chances are you were either in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park) or heard about the Harlem Cultural Festival ~ a summer of free outdoor concerts held on Sunday.
Sculpture artist Zaq Landsberg created and presented the illustrations for this piece during the last administration, prior to COVID-19 and our citywide shutdown. It was inspired by Buddhist imagery, and meant to depict our iconic American landmark, weary, reclining, and asking the question ~ “what stage of America are we in.” COVID-19 closed our city, and Reclining Lady lay waiting, like all of us, for better days.
Claire Oliver Gallery is pleased to present Love Letters for Harlem, an exhibition of photographs by John Pinderhughes, Ruben Natal SanMiguel, Jeffrey Henson Scales and Shawn Walker. Love Letters for Harlem showcases the talents of these four Harlem-based photographers and their work that celebrates the lives and culture of Harlem. A portion of the proceeds from this exhibition will benefit Harlem Community Relief Fund, an initiative of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce (GHCC), who in concert with Harlem Week, ReThink Food NY, NY State Assemblywoman Inez Dickens, CCNY, NAACP are working together to combat food insecurity in Harlem.
Living with Art Salon opened its doors to three diverse women in the arts, Elan Cadiz, Giannina Gutierrez and Leah Poller. The exhibition, At Home, explores how we live at home, as a family ~ as neighbors, as friends, as lovers ~ looking back on your dad’s favorite chair growing up, waking up in your own bed, working from home in this moment in time, and the emotions connected to the people and places that home ‘is’. Come along on our preview of this thoughtful and timely exhibition.
The Apollo Theater announced details of its spring 2021 season, which will take place exclusively online! The season features a broad range of free and ticketed virtual events, including the Apollo Film series celebration of House Party and House Party 2, cult classics created more than 30 years ago. The virtual program includes performances by Kid ‘N Play, Full force and more. The season expands the nonprofit theater’s road as a partner, commissioner, and co-producer of programming that centers Black artists and voices from the African Diaspora, while tackling important social issues for Harlem, New York and the nation.
On January 26, 1934, the Apollo Theater opened with the show “Jazz a la Carte” headlined by Benny Carter and his Orchestra, Ralph Cooper and Aida Ward. Soon after, The Apollo became the premiere place for the performing arts and entertainment in Harlem.
Overlooking Marcus Garvey Park, at 15 West 124th Street, stands an 18,000+ square-foot, brick building that had been the home to the Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary ~ the nation’s oldest order of black nuns. In 2016, the Order celebrated its 100th Anniversary and year of service with a Gala featuring His Eminence Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan (Archbishop of New York), with performances by Melba Moore and other celebrity guests, held at the New York Academy of Medicine.
NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, joined Assembly member Al Taylor, Manhattan Deputy Borough President Matthew Washington, Community Board 10 Chair Cicely Harris, President & CEO of Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement Malcolm Punter, and community members this week to cut the ribbon on the reconstruction of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson Playground in Central Harlem. The $1.59 million renovation is the 51st project completed through the Community Parks Initiative (CPI), the City’s first-ever parks equity initiative, funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
For twenty years, Community Works/New Heritage Theatre Group has celebrated 100 years of Harlem’s cultural history through the harlem is…. public art exhibitions, programming, and school and community partnerships. This month, they announced the launching of the harlem is…website, the new digital home for the harlem is… exhibitions, virtual events, and educational activities devoted to honoring the living legacy of local heroes in the iconic Harlem neighborhood.
Claire OliverGallery is pleased to announce a group exhibition Four Now: New Works by Bisa Butler, Adebunmi Gbadebo, Leonardo Benzant and Gio Swaby. The exhibition and a dynamic virtual program of talks and events is designed to telegraph the excitement and energy of Miami Art Week to the gallery’s Harlem headquarters. The program includes a range of conversations between the artists and guest speakers including actor, artist and collector Hill Harper, James Beard Award-winning chef Bryant Terry, Nora Atkinson, the Fleur and Charles Bresler Curator-in-Charge for the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Dr. Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Newark Museum Curator of American Art. The exhibition will be on view by appointment December 1, 2020 – January 9, 2021 and virtual programming can be joined online at the gallery’s website.
Claire Oliver Gallery announced a reopening of the gallery with a solo exhibition by Adebunmi Gbadebo entitled A Dilemma of Inheritance.
The exhibition will showcase the artist’s True Blue series, which is comprised of more than 45 works that grapple with concepts surrounding heredity and the evolution of memory and forgetting focused on two former slave plantations in South Carolina, both named True Blue.
On a brisk day in March, 2016, we noticed a realtor’s Open House in a brownstone belonging to poet and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou, who passed away two years before. Balloons were on the sign and the front door was open on the beautifully maintained home, and so we went on in.
Today The Apollo Theater announced details of its fall 2020 season, which will take place exclusively online on the Apollo’s Digital Stage. The season features a broad range of free virtual events, including Wyclef Jean performing his Double Platinum album The Carnival; a special Live Wire conversation focused on the artistry of the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin; and monthly Apollo music nights with independent musical artists through the Apollo Music Café, featuring artists Stout, J. Hoard, and Madison McFerrin.
NYC DOT Art Community Commission and The Marcus Garvey Park Alliance partnered to install a timely and pertinent new art installation in Harlem. Kenseth Armstead: Boulevard of African Monarchs arrived on 116th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard on August 13, 2020.
Have you been dreaming more frequently over this past few months? Intense, life like, scary dreams? Whimsical or wonderful dreams? According to several studies, COVID-19, and its affect on our life in general, has increased the trend.
This past June, I visited the Living with Art Salon, who had a most unusual piece in a small side-room, entitled ‘Big Dream‘ by artist Capucine Bourcart. This large-format artwork, hung from the ceiling, gracing the floor. It held a dream in a code known only to the artist, and it was printed ~ line by line ~ with sand collected from all over the world. Oh yes, we wanted to see more. Below is a visit to the artists’ studio to see her entire collection of the Dream Series.
Located across 125th Street from the famed Apollo Theater, Harlem Mart 125 was once a vibrant market for over two-hundred local vendors, with the feel of an indoor, open-air market. Owned by the City of New York, it was developed by government agencies in the mid-1980s to give street vendors an opportunity to have an indoor stall. For many reasons, the Mart closed its doors in 2002 and has remained vacant.
Harlem’s historicNational Black Theatre (NBT) is hosting an annual salute to its founder and CEO emerita, the late Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, with NBT’s Founder’s Month, a month-long celebration of Teer, Black theater and community. Running through July 18, the celebration will feature the launch of NBT@Home: A Letter to the Future, a new series of online conversations on theater, current events and Black history with guests including Toshi Reagon, Ebony Noelle Golden, adrienne maree brown, Jonathan McCrory, Sade Lythcott, members of the theater’s original company of “Liberators,” and more, and the launch of NBT’s VISION Forward Fund Campaign, a fundraising drive to support and advance the theater well into the future.
Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, and Cel-Libertation Day, celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation of 1865. It is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end to slavery in the United States. While much of our City is still under COVID-19 restrictions, our community celebrates in thoughtful walks, marches, and online, virtually. Here are a few ways to celebrate Juneteenth 2020 in New York, beginning with the One Million March.
Black Public Media (BPM) is celebrating 40 years of showing the world that #blacklivesmatter by bringing Black content creators and their stories to the forefront for audiences across all screens.
As the organization takes stock of its four decades-long history, it is releasing the BPM 40 for 40 Media Game Changers, a list recognizing 40 individuals and organizations that, like BPM, have helped keep Black voices and Black stories present in the media and shaped the modern-day landscape of independent, Black film and television.
Kerstin Braetsch’s most recent works, titled Fossil Psychics for Christa, are brightly-colored, three dimensional stuccos, hovering between the realms of painting and sculpture. Stucco is a form of plaster, historically used to imitate marble and other rare stones. “It’s about extending painting,” Braetsch has explained of what drives her work, “following the logic of my brushstroke but in a different language.” With this material, Braetsch creates “paintings” that appear ancient, like the result of geologic phenomena. Created with the assistance of master artisan Valter Cipriani, they resemble brushstrokes and monsters, regular motifs in Braetsch’s oeuvre. These impossible objects are physically immediate, almost demanding to be touched, as well as deeply mysterious, like fossils transported here from another, less corporeal realm. Step into the Online Viewing Room at Gavin Brown’s enterprise for the exhibition, Kerstin Brätsch: Fossil Psychics for Christa.
The historic Harlem-based theater is resuming its 51st season with the launch of a new initiative called NBT@Home: Uplifting Communal Resilience on Wednesday, April 22, at 5:30 p.m. ET on its Facebook page and Facebook Live. NBT@Home is a new, free five-part weekly digital series that will present curated, hour-long artist discussions on subjects including the arts and health in the Black community and beyond.
Look for NBT@Home on Wednesday, April 29th, May 6th, May 13th, May 20th.
Ki Smith Gallery will not be physically opening its doors to the exhibition, Base 12: Don’t Call It a Comeback due to coronavirus. However the artists in this group exhibition announced that they will participating in the Fight Coronavirus & Artist Aid online auction, organized by Christie’s Corporate Social Responsibility program.
How do you engage with a painting hung on the wall of a subway station? On the sidewalks or in our Parks? What happens when an exhibition is staged at one of the most celebrated museums in New York City without the museum’s consent?
Update ~ In response to the Coronavirus, the Claire Oliver Gallery will show the exhibit by private appointment only until further notice.
Claire Oliver Gallery opens its doors to the debut solo exhibition by artist Bisa Butler: The Storm, the Whirlwind and the Earthquake on view February 29 – April 25, 2020. Butler’s textile portraits of people of color are created from layers of brightly colored fabrics with a multiplicity of meanings. Butler’s composite characters are inspired by historical photography; the resulting images are rendered life-sized with viewers often engaging the subjects eye to eye.
This February, the world famous Apollo Theater will kick off Black History Month with Apollo Open House: Celebration of Cool on Saturday February 1st from 1 p.m. – 6.p.m., to celebrate and explore the rich history of the Theater as it continues the legacy of Black History.
The much anticipated inaugural exhibition in its new Harlem building, Claire Oliver Gallery will open its doors to Almost Better Angels featuring new works by Judith Schaechter on Saturday, January 18th.
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture will host its Eighth Annual Black Comic Book Festival on January 17 and January 18 from 10 AM to 8 PM. Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, member of the legendary hip hop group Run-DMC and founder of the independent publishing house Darryl Makes Comics, will participate in the panel discussion “Hip Hop and Comics in 3D” with Andre Davis and Dawud Anyabwile on January 18 at 2 PM.
Ki Smith Gallery will open its doors to Bridging Grey, a new video and performance installation by German artist Annina Roescheisen. Her readings of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe are the basis for this new body of work. In the mid-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, these philosophers began to investigate the aesthetics of color. Roescheisen has been most influenced by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, whose intuitive approach linked the colors we see to the emotion and mood we feel in their presence. In his Theory of Colours, Goethe writes about painting, “From these three, light, shade, and colour, we construct the visible world, and thus, at the same time, make painting possible, an art which has the power of producing on a flat surface a much more perfect visible world than the actual one can be.”
Today, the iconic nonprofit Apollo Theaterannounced details of its spring 2020 season featuring genre-spanning performances—from music, dance, and theater to comedy and film screenings—that continue the theater’s strong mission of articulating African American narratives through cultural programming. Season highlights include the Apollo’s Africa Now! and African Film Festival 30th Anniversary Celebration presenting the legendary Oumou Sangaré; Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber performing Isaac Hayes’ Academy Award-winning score Shaft, alongside a screening of the film; the Apollo Salon Series presentation of A Time to Love, a musical theater collaboration with National Black Theatre; and the signature series that brings patrons to the Apollo year-round, Amateur Night at the Apollo, Apollo Music Café, andApollo Comedy Club.Through its programming, educational, and community initiatives, the Apollo continues to advance its commitment to creating a 21st century performing arts canon, providing a home to artists and the community, while tackling important social issues for Harlem, New York, and the nation.
Here it is ~ The exciting Apollo Theater 2020 Spring Season.
Some twenty-five years ago, Commissioner of the New York State Office of General Services, RoAnn Destito, did a walk-through at what is our current State Office Building. The building was in total disarray with no window glass in some of the space. But in the basement she found a treasure-trove of artwork that had been stacked up and left there for several years. It was the work of local artists of that day, names like Barboza, Bey, Catlett, DeCarava, Van Der Zee…….
This work is part of The New York State Harlem Art Collection’s permanent collection, and it will be on view beginning November 15 for the first time since the mid 1990s.
The long-awaited ribbon-cutting for the restoration and unveiling of the historic Harlem Fire Watchtower took place on Saturday, October 26, 2019, to the delight of the entire community. Come along with us as we walk up to the Acropolis and celebrate the watchtower’s return.
X Gallery began as a one-year experiment, with the support and sponsorship of John McGuinness, owner of Harlem Properties on Malcolm X Boulevard (Lenox Avenue). Now in its third year, the gallery will be closing its doors with a final two-day exhibition, works by the renowned artist, Al Johnson.
Churches in Harlem and East Harlem have been very much in the news, due to declining membership and deteriorating buildings, and numerous sales of these properties. And so, when a reader told us that the historic bells were recently removed from St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Harlem, we were more than curious ~ and delighted to learn that the carillon is on its way to South Carolina for evaluation and restoration. A representative of the Diocese went on to say that their first order of business will be to stabilize the tower and interior space, with scaffolding going up inside the building next week.
We checked in with the Diocese again in September, 2021, and they were eager to share that they are continuing the restoration, with their main focus on restoring the tower, fixing the roof and otherwise making it possible for the congregation to move back in. The bells remain out of state at the bell foundry, where restoration is underway.
Continuing the good news, In November, 2021, Amsterdam News reported that St. Martin’s was one of 18 receiving a Sacred Site Grant from The New York Landmarks Conservancy. St. Martin’s was pledged a $25,000 grant towards roof replacement at the attached parish hall, and $15,000 to help support architectural work for the project, per New York Landmarks Conservancy.
And finally, in a recent interview Rev. Patrick Williams said that scaffolding is coming down because the roof work has concluded. However, there is still quite a lot of work to be done, as the restoration continues.
We may be in the middle of a pandemic, but the renovation work at St. Martin’s Church continues. Above and below, workers were spotting high on the top scaffolding on Thursday, October 22, 2020.
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs announced four new public artists-in-residence (PAIR). We spotted the work of one of them on Lenox Avenue at 125th Street in Harlem.
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, a Brooklyn-based street artist and painter whose street art project Stop Telling Women to Smile tackles gender-based street harassment. Her work can be found on walls from New York to Paris, Los Angeles to Mexico City, and right here…….
California Chef Russell Jackson has opened a fine dining restaurant, Reverence Harlem, in the historic Strivers Row District, close to where he has been living, on 138th Street ~ and Reservations are now Live!
Faction Art Projects opens its doors to Andrew Thiele: Moral Compass, a four-day solo exhibition of new urban, mixed media collage works. The exhibition of the Harlem-based artist will feature over twenty new large-scale artworks. Throughout the show, there will be a calendar of events including a workshop, a jazz performance and a book signing of Thiele’s newest publication.
After the End: Timing Socialism in Contemporary African Artpresents a selection of works engaging with the history of African socialisms. It features artists looking at countries including Angola, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. The exhibition is the first in North America to explore aesthetic responses to African socialisms and their aftermath.
The much anticipated renovation of Settepani Harlem is complete, with a soft opening that packed the tables. The new concept has all the bells and whistles from their signature breads and gorgeous deserts to salads, pizza and panini’s ~ along with a full bar.