[In Context] Africans in America / Goodman Gallery and Johannesburg Art Gallery / 2016

Rashid Johnson / Dawit L. Petros / ruby onyinyechi amanze / Wangechi Mutu / Valerie Piraino / Brendan Fernandes / Alfredo Jaar / Theaster Gates / Kajahl / Odili Donald Odita / Mikhael Subotzky / Ghada Amer / Stan Douglas / Kehinde Wiley / Sanford Biggers / Tabita Rezaire / Julie Mehretu / Lyle Ashton Harris / Eric Gottesman / Daàpò Reo 17 November - 17 December 2016 Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

Goodman Gallery Johannesburg
Johannesburg Art Gallery

17 November 2016 – 17 December 2017

ruby onyinyechi amanze / Ghada Amer / Kajahl / Stan Douglas / Brendan Fernandes / Theaster Gates / Eric
Gottesman / Lyle Ashton Harris / Alfredo Jaar / Ayana V Jackson / Rashid Johnson / Julie Mehretu / Wangechi Mutu / Paulo Nazareth / Odili Donald Odita / Dawit L. Petros / Valerie Piraino / Daapo Reo / Tabita Rezaire / Mikhael Subotzky / Carrie Mae Weems / Kehinde Wiley

As part of its ongoing In Context series, Goodman Gallery is pleased to announce the forthcoming exhibition Africans in America and the concurrent academic conference Black Portraiture[s] III: Reinventions: Strains of Histories and Cultures, along with a series of events happening throughout Johannesburg. The citywide initiative will take place from November 2016 through January 2017.

In 2010, Goodman Gallery director Liza Essers launched In Context, an innovative curatorial platform to bring together a diverse group of international artists who share a rigorous commitment to the dynamics and tensions of place in reference to the African continent. A signature programme within the gallery, In Context activates the city of Johannesburg as a locus of contemporary art practice, ideas and discourses. In Context takes place in Johannesburg in the absence of an officially funded citywide biennial. Goodman Gallery takes great pleasure in facilitating the exhibition Africans in America and spearheading the Black Portraiture[s] III conference. These events play a vital part in addressing gaps in art history, rewriting it from diverse perspectives, a central pursuit within the In Context series.

Conceptualised and curated by artist Hank Willis Thomas and Liza Essers, Africans in America aims to speak to the flows, exchanges and continuities between the continent of Africa and the United States. The exhibition will take place across two spaces in the city, Goodman Gallery in Parkwood and the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Artists featured include Ghada Amer, Theaster Gates, Alfredo Jaar, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, Odili Donald Odita and Kehinde Wiley, amongst others.

The exhibition is aligned to the important Black Portraiture[s] III initiative convened by Deborah Willis (New York University), Henry Louis Gates III (Harvard University) and Brett Pyper (University of Witwatersrand). The seventh in a series of conversations about imaging the black body, the 2016 edition is the first to be held on the African continent. The conference, which has attracted an impressive list of international panelists, opens up a forum for artists, activists and scholars from around the world to share ideas on a range of subjects, from historical topics to current research on South African art and activism and related themes affecting the global African diaspora.

Hank Willis Thomas has been represented by Goodman Gallery South Africa since 2008. Africans in America is the second exhibition he has curated for the gallery. He has become recognised for challenging constructions of race and gender in the United States and South Africa. His art has consistently extended dialogues on African and diaspora identities into significant international arenas, and his important work in South Africa has keyed into local history while driving new visions in the post-apartheid context.

In Context 2016 is a partnership between Goodman Gallery; The Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University; Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University; Wits School of Arts at University of the Witwatersrand; United States Mission to South Africa; La Pietra Dialogues/ New York University; New York University Vice Provost for Faculty, Arts, Humanities and Diversity; and Hank Willis Thomas Studio, in association with Phillips; Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts; Studio Museum in Harlem; Wiser Institute; Center for African American Studies/ Princeton University; Johannesburg Art Gallery; Contemporary And, and Art Africa.



ruby onyinyechi amanze

ruby onyinyechi amanze (b. 1982, Port-Harcourt, Nigeria) is a Brooklyn-based artist of Nigerian descent and British upbringing whose creative practices and processes focus on producing mixed media, paper-based drawings and works. Her art draws inspiration from photography, textiles, architecture and print-making.

amanze’s practice builds around questions of how to create drawings that maintain paper’s essence of weightlessness. The large-scaled and multi-dimensional drawings are part of an ongoing, yet non-linear narrative that employ the malleability of space as the primary antagonist.

A nameless, self-imagined, chimeric universe has simultaneously been positioned between nowhere and everywhere. Using a limited palette of visual elements, including ada the Alien, windows and birds, amanze’s drawings create a non-narrative and expansive world. The construction of this world is largely centered around an interest in the spatial negotiations found in the three dimensional practices of dance, architecture and design.

Most recently, amanze completed two-year long residencies at the Queens Museum and as part of the Drawing Center’s Open Sessions Program, both in New York. She has exhibited her work internationally in Lagos, London, Johannesburg and Paris, and nationally at the California African American Museum, the Drawing Center and the Studio Museum of Harlem.

amanze earned her B.F.A., Summa Cum Laude, from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, and her M.F.A. from Cranbrook Academy of Art.  In 2012-2013, amanze was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Today she resides between Philadelphia and Brooklyn, but calls multiple places home.

Alfredo Jaar

Alfredo Jaar (b. 1956, Santiago, Chile) is an artist, architect, and filmmaker who considers social injustices and human suffering through thought-provoking installations. Throughout his career Jaar has used different mediums to create compelling work that examines the way we engage with, and represent humanitarian crises. He is known as one of the most uncompromising, compelling, and innovative artists working today.

Through photography, film and installation he provokes the viewer to question our thought process around how we view the world around us. Jaar has explored significant political and social issues throughout his career, including genocide, the displacement of refugees across borders, and the balance of power between the first and third world.

Jaar’s work has been shown extensively around the world. He has participated in the Biennales of Venice (1986, 2007, 2009, 2013), Sao Paulo (1987, 1989, 2010) as well as Documenta in Kassel (1987, 2002).

Important individual exhibitions include The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1992); Whitechapel, London (1992); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1995); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1994);The Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome (2005) and The Nederlands Fotomuseum (2019). Major recent surveys of his work have taken place at Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne (2007); Hangar Bicocca, Milan (2008); Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlinische Galerie and Neue Gesellschaft fur bildende Kunst e.V., Berlin (2012); Rencontres d’Arles (2013); KIASMA, Helsinki (2014); and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK (2017).

The artist has realised more than seventy public interventions around the world. Over sixty monographic publications have been published about his work. He became a Guggenheim Fellow in 1985 and a MacArthur Fellow in 2000. He was awarded the Hiroshima Art Prize in 2018, and has recently received the prestigious Hasselblad award for 2020.

His work can be found in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum, New York; Art Institute of Chicago and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; MOCA and LACMA, Los Angeles; MASP, Museu de Arte de São Paulo; TATE, London; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Centro Reina Sofia, Madrid; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; MAXXI and MACRO, Rome; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlaebeck; Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art and Tokushima Modern Art Museum, Japan; M+, Hong Kong; and dozens of institutions and private collections worldwide.

The artist lives and works in New York, USA.

Mikhael Subotzky

Mikhael Subotzky (b. 1981, Cape Town) is a Johannesburg based artist whose works in multiple mediums (including film installation, video, photography, collage and painting) attempt to engage critically with the instability of images and the politics of representation.

Subotzky has exhibited in a number of important international exhibitions, including most recently Masculinities: Liberation through Photography at the Barbican in London (2020), Inheritance: Recent Video Art from Africa at the Fowler Museum (UCLA) in Los Angeles (2019) and Ex Africa in various venues in Brazil (2017-18). His award-winning Ponte City project (co-authored with Patrick Waterhouse) was presented at Art Basel Unlimited in 2018. The full exhibition and archive of this
project has since been acquired by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and will be the subject of a monographic exhibition there in 2021.

Subotzky’s work is collected widely by international institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Solomon R Guggenheim Museum (New York), the National Gallery of Art (Washington), Tate (London), Centre Pompidou (Paris), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the South African National Gallery, among others.

Subotzky’s work was included in Lubumbashi (2013) and Liverpool (2012) biennials. Pixel Interface, a multi-component video installation, was included in All The World’s Futures, curated by Okwui Enwezor at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015).

Ghada Amer

Ghada Amer was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1963 and moved to Nice, France when she was eleven years old. She remained in France to further her education and completed both of her undergraduate requirements and MFA at Villa Arson École Nationale Supérieure in Nice (1989), during which she also studied abroad at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts in 1987. In 1991 she moved to Paris to complete a post-diploma at the Institut des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques. Following early recognition in France, she was invited to the United States in 1996 for a residency at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has since then been based in New York.

Amer’s wide-ranging practice spans painting, cast sculpture, ceramics, works on paper, and garden and mixed-media installations. Further, she often collaborates with her long-time friend Reza Farkhondeh. Recognising both that women are taught to model behaviors and traits shaped by others, and that art history and the history of painting in particular are shaped largely by expressions of masculinity, Amer’s work actively subverts these frameworks through both aesthetics and content. Her practice explores the complicated nature of identity as it is developed through cultural and religious norms as well as personal longings and understandings of the self.

Amer’s work is in public collections around the world including The Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah; the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, NY; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; the Guggenheim Museum, Abu Dhabi; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the Samsung Museum, Seoul; among others. Among invitations to prestigious group shows and biennials—such as the Whitney Biennial in 2000 and the Venice Biennales of 1999 (where she won the UNESCO Prize), 2005 and 2007—she was given a midcareer retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York in 2008. Multiple institutions across Marseille, France are currently co-organising a retrospective for 2022 that will travel to the United States and Asia.

Tabita Rezaire

Tabita Rezaire (b.1989, Paris, France) is infinity incarnated into an agent of healing, who uses art as a means to unfold the soul. Her cross-dimensional practices envision network sciences – organic, electronic and spiritual – as healing technologies to serve the shift towards heart consciousness. Navigating digital, corporeal and ancestral memory as sites of resilience, she digs into scientific imaginaries to tackle the pervasive matrix of coloniality and the protocols of energetic misalignments that affect the songs of our body-mind-spirits. Inspired by quantum and cosmic mechanics, Tabita’s work is rooted in time-spaces where technology and spirituality intersect as fertile ground to nourish visions of connection and emancipation. Through screen interfaces and collective offerings, she reminds us to open our inner data centers to bypass western authority and download directly from source.

Tabita is based in Cayenne, French Guyana. She has a Bachelor in Economics (Fr) and a Master of Research in Artist Moving Image from Central Saint Martins (Uk). Tabita is a founding member of the artist group NTU, half of the duo Malaxa, and the mother of the energy house SENEB.

Tabita has shown her work internationally – Centre Pompidou, Paris; Serpentine London; MoMa NY; New Museum NY; MASP, Sao Paulo; Gropius Bau Berlin; MMOMA Moscow, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; ICA London; V&A London; National Gallery Denmark; The Broad LA; MoCADA NY; Tate Modern London; Museum of Modern Art Paris – and contributed to several Biennales such as the Guangzhou Triennial, Athens Biennale, Kochi Biennale (2018); Performa (2017); and Berlin Biennale (2016).