The Ford Foundation announced the opening of its art gallery, an innovative exhibition space dedicated to presenting multidisciplinary art, performance, and public programming by artists committed to exploring issues of justice and injustice. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition, Perilous Bodies, opens March 5th.
The new 1,900-square-foot gallery is located at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice that serves as the foundation’s headquarters, and reopened in November 2018 after a two-year renovation. In creating a space for artists whose work addresses pressing social issues, the foundation continues its decades-long history of investing in the arts to advance human welfare.
“The Ford Foundation Gallery is the latest reflection of our deep commitment to the arts, from supporting trailblazing dance and theater around the country to investing in transformative artists around the world who push boundaries and challenge the status quo,” said Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation.” Arts and creative expression have played an indelible role in building social justice movements. We’re thrilled to open the doors of this special space, a forum for artists to experiment and create a vibrant and necessary dialogue with the public.”
With a mission focused on addressing inequality in all its forms, and providing more than $600 million annually in grant support to organizations on four continents, the Ford Foundation is a natural home for art that challenges viewers to grapple with fundamental questions of fairness and dignity.
Three exhibitions in this inaugural year offer varied interpretations on the theme of Utopian Imagination. The trilogy of exhibitions, curated by Jaishri Abichandani and Natasha Becker, brings together a diverse group of international artists who use tactics from craft, activism, data visualization, and agitprop to point the way to a more just future.
According to Lisa Kim, director of the Ford Foundation Gallery, “Perilous Bodies explores the inhumanity and injustice created by divisions of gender, race, class, and ethnicity. The artists in the exhibition offer a raw and honest look at the issues we must address head-on to ensure dignity for all.”
The exhibition consists of photographs, sculpture, video, installation, and performance art in which artists incorporate their own cultural traditions to address oppression. Examples include David Antonio Cruz’s painting of violence against the trans community, Tiffany Chung’s lightbox installation depicting the shattering impact of the refugee crisis, and Hannah Brontë’s video of indigenous women reclaiming the power of the earth. Their artworks are powerful statements about ideas people are often quick to turn away from: black and brown bodies, refugee camps, the detritus of borderlands, broken earth. With these works, the artists seek to transform a world in peril into one we want to live in.
The evening of the opening reception will include a “spoken word opera” performance by artist Vanessa German.
Artists in the exhibition are: Dineo Seshee Bopape (South Africa), Hannah Brontë (Australia), Margarita Cabrera (Mexico/US), Mahwish Chishty (Pakistan/US), Tiffany Chung (Vietnam/US), David Antonio Cruz (US), Nona Faustine (US), Guillermo Galindo (Mexico/US), Vanessa German (US), Mohamed Hafez (Syria/US), Otobong Nkanga (Nigeria/Belgium), Jasmeen Patheja (India), Sara Rahbar (Iran/US), Wendy Red Star (US/Apsáalooke/Crow), Tenzing Rigdol (Nepal/India), Dread Scott (US), Teresa Serrano (Mexico), Thenmozhi Soundararajan (US), and Barthélémy Toguo (Cameroon/France).
The gallery will be open to the public Monday through Saturday 11 am – 6 pm during exhibition runs. Throughout the year, the venue will host exhibitions, discussions, and performances where the art world and the public can come together for contemplation and conversation in an inspiring, adaptive space.
On your way into the gallery, a Kehinde Wiley adorns a seating area. It is Wanda Crichow (Portrait of Catharina Both van der Eem), 2015. (below).
The inaugural exhibition, Perilous Bodies, will be on view from March 5th through May 11, 2019, at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice in New York City, located at 320 East 43rd Street, and is accessible to the public through an entrance on 42nd Street, just east of Second Avenue. Opening Reception will take place on March 5th from 6-8pm. The event is free and open to the public with RSVP.
On April 12, join the Ford Foundation Gallery for a conversation with artists Nona Faustine, Thenmozhi Soundararajan, and Sara Rahbar about their work featured in Perilous Bodies. Moderated by Isolde Brielmaier, they will discuss how they, and other artists, are exploring issues of exile, violence, inequality, and oppression ~ and the role of vulnerable bodies in exposing and confronting them. RSVP HERE.
We cannot close without a mention of the passing of architect, Kevin Roche, who ~ with his partner, John Dinkeloo, designed The Ford Foundation Building in 1963 and completed the project in 1968. Here are a few images of the atrium and Center for Social Justice.