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As part of a multi-year partnership between The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Museum of Modern Art, and MoMA PS1, the Studio Museum’s annual Artist-in-Residence exhibition, MOOD, will be on view at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City from June 9–September 8, 2019. MOOD is the inaugural exhibition of this partnership, featuring the work of the Studio Museum’s 2018-19 residents Allison Janae Hamilton (b. 1984, Lexington, KY), Tschabalala Self (b. 1990, New York, NY) , and Sable Elyse Smith (b. 1986, Los Angeles, CA). The exhibition is presented within the three museums’ wide-ranging collaboration while The Studio Museum in Harlem constructs a new building on the site of their longtime home on West 125th Street.
An immersive four-room exhibition, MOOD explores site, place, and time as it relates to American identity and popular culture by resituating the often trending social media hashtag (#mood), which describes moments both profound and banal. MOOD maps out each artist’s psychic landscape, presenting distinct snapshots that travel through and beyond the fabric of digital culture and represent a manifestation of each artist’s perception of the present moment in the United States.
Layering video, haunting sculptural forms, found objects, and photography, Allison Janae Hamilton’s immersive installation explores spirituality and mysticism as tied to the American South. A native Floridian, Hamilton calls on the South’s coastal landscape to navigate the fault lines of wildness and civility. Hamilton’s installation disorients with its sinister undertone, speaking to the enduring traumas of racial violence and economic exploitation of the South.
Tschabalala Self’s new series, Street Scenes, pays homage to the energy of the city, from the frenetic visual culture of bodegas to the communal experience of waiting at a bus stop. These large-scale printed, painted, and collage works create a cityscape that brings the vibrancy and energy of Harlem into focus. Growing up nearby and inspired by her return to Harlem through this residency, Self creates fictional figures rooted in daily rhythms and routines in and around the neighborhood.
Sable Elyse Smith’s conceptual sculptures and two-dimensional works interrogate the instability of economy, language, power, and the construct of social history. Smith’s work underscores the banality of violence at an institutional scale, and explores how trauma embeds itself in the everyday. Smith roots this collection of work in the visual vernacular of the prison industrial complex—visitor tables, coloring books made available in correctional facilities, and commissary ramen noodles used as a form of commerce. Smith’s treatment of these ordinary objects raises issues of labor, class, and memory, evoking new associations within the seemingly familiar.
MOOD is organized by Legacy Russell, Associate Curator, Exhibitions, the Studio Museum, and Hallie Ringle, former Assistant Curator at the Studio Museum (now Hugh Kaul Curator of Contemporary Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art) with Josephine Graf, Curatorial Assistant, MoMA PS1.
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Image: Sable Elyse Smith, Allison Janae Hamilton, and Tschabalala Self