Exhibition
June 10–August 12, 2022

Steven Anthony Johnson II: Getting Blood from Stone

Getting Blood from Stone is a solo exhibition of work by Steven Anthony Johnson II, recipient of The New York Community Trust’s Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund residency at ISCP, curated by Re’al Christian. The exhibition is the synthesis of Johnson’s collection of cross-diasporic narratives from differing time periods, presenting drawings and sound compositions that probe and process inherited trauma, and grapple with queerness, Blackness and class issues.

Working from memory, interviews, verbal histories, and family keepsakes, Johnson navigates cross-generational, cross-cultural, and cross-diasporic dialogues between themselves and their relatives, collapsing the boundaries of space and time to bring new histories to the fore. The work in the exhibition draws from inherited, collected, and captured vernacular photographs as well as recordings of oral family histories and conversations.

Johnson has spent the past two and a half years interviewing their relatives, collecting stories and drawing connections within their family tree, a process the artist likens to “getting blood from stone.” Reticence and reluctance amongst their elders directly translate to the incomplete portraits that Johnson creates. Woven anecdotes, confessionals, and testimonies speak to the intergenerational resilience and wisdom that are likewise captured in the drawings. In their process of recording familial moments, past and present, the archive becomes a form of resistance, a counter-narrative to reckon with the traumas that have been inherited and imposed on Black and Othered individuals.

Steven Anthony Johnson II is an artist, draftsperson, interpretive archivist, and storyteller living in Brooklyn, NY. They received their BFA in 2015 from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and MFA in 2017 from the New York Academy of Art. Utilizing the language of drawing, animation, and photo-documentary their work attempts to make peace between the religious, intellectual, and humanistic ideals in relation to Blackness and “Otherness.” In so doing, they offer a counter-narrative necessary to deemphasize whiteness and “light” as the focal point of our shared inter-cultural narrative. Their drawings and installations utilize traditional techniques, memory, and photography to examine the intersections of Afro-ambiguity, Black mundanity, and the right to self-representation. Johnson has exhibited work at Field Projects, New York; Inbreak, Los Angeles; and Notre Dame of Maryland University, Baltimore, among others.

Re’al Christian is a writer, editor, and art historian based in Queens, NY. She is a contributing editor at ART PAPERS, and the Assistant Director of Editorial Initiatives at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School. Her work explores issues related to identity, diasporas, media, and materiality. Her essays, interviews, and criticism have appeared in Art in America, Art in Print, BOMB Magazine, and The Brooklyn Rail, among other publications. She has written catalogue and exhibition texts for CUE Art Foundation, DC Moore Gallery, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., and Performa. She worked on the exhibitions The Black Index (2020–21) and Life as Activity: David Lamelas (2021) at Hunter College Art Galleries as a contributor and editor, and on The earth leaked red ochre (2022) at Miriam Gallery as a curator and catalogue editor.. Christian received her MA in Art History from Hunter College, and BA in Art History and Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University.

Steven Anthony Johnson II: Getting Blood from Stone is supported in part by The New York Community Trust’s Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; Hartfield Foundation; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York City Council District 34; New York State Council on the Arts and the New York State Legislature; and William Talbott Hillman Foundation.

By visiting ISCP, you agree to abide by the following health and safety policies. Please make sure to plan ahead for your visit.

  • Four visitors are allowed in the galleries at a time, and appointments are required. Please write to info@iscp-nyc.org to schedule an appointment.
  • All visitors are required to maintain social distancing, keeping six feet from anyone not in their party.
  • Masks or face coverings are strongly recommended but not mandatory.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available for visitors.
  • If you have fever, chills, cough, muscle pains, headache, loss of taste or smell, or think you may have been exposed to COVID-19 prior to your visit, please contact us to reschedule.
  • An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 and other infectious conditions exists in any public space where people are present. Those visiting the International Studio & Curatorial Program voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19, other infectious conditions, and other hazards that may be present in a public space.
Opening Reception: Jun 10, 2022
Open Hours: By appointment Monday–Friday, 10:30am–5:30pm.
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Participating Residents

Event
May 20, 2022, 2-3pm

Mark-Making Between the Imaginative and the Political

In conjunction with the exhibition Sharon Norwood’s Drawing Room and the opening of Steven Anthony Johnson’s show on June 10, 2022, ISCP is delighted to host these two artists in conversation. Joining them will be curator of Norwood’s exhibition Dr. Petrina Dacres, curator of Steven Anthony Johnson’s exhibition, Re’al Christian, and artist Oneika Russell.

The basis of Sharon Norwood and Steven Anthony Johnson’s work is drawing. Employing various techniques, they sometimes extend the physicality of drawing into media such as sculpture, printmaking and animation. Despite the differing processes and approaches of these two artists, both of them  address the subjects of the Black body and Black experience in their images and objects. The line, the artists remind us, may be used to connect imaginary and political worlds, abstract and representation, memory and history.

Register here for the link.

Sharon Norwood is originally from Jamaica and migrated to Canada as a child. She creates works that exploit the decorative intentions and joy of mark-making and gesturing, disrupt the White gaze and other passive notions of viewing “the other,” and question standing narratives and systems that shape how identities are understood. In recent years, she has explored the intersection of the Black body and decorative arts by translating her drawings onto porcelain objects. Norwood has participated in a number of residencies and fellowships including at McColl Center, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Hambidge Center, Georgia. She has exhibited work at The Museum of Washington and Lee University, Lexington; Mindy Solomon Gallery, Miami; and Tempus Projects, Tampa, among others.

Sharon Norwood is originally from Jamaica and migrated to Canada as a child. She creates works that exploit the decorative intentions and joy of mark-making and gesturing, disrupt the White gaze and other passive notions of viewing “the other,” and question standing narratives and systems that shape how identities are understood. In recent years, she has explored the intersection of the Black body and decorative arts by translating her drawings onto porcelain objects. Norwood has participated in a number of residencies and fellowships including at McColl Center, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Hambidge Center, Georgia. She has exhibited work at The Museum of Washington and Lee University, Lexington; Mindy Solomon Gallery, Miami; and Tempus Projects, Tampa, among others.

Steven Anthony Johnson is a draftsperson, interpretive archivist, storyteller, writer and curator living in Brooklyn, NY. They received their BFA in 2015 from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and MFA in 2017 from the New York Academy of Art. Utilizing the language of drawing, animation, and photo-documentary their work attempts to make peace between the religious, intellectual, and humanistic ideals in relation to Blackness and “Otherness.” In so doing, they hypothesize the counter-narrative necessary to de-emphasizes whiteness and “light” as the focal point of our shared inter-cultural narrative. Their drawings and installations utilize traditional techniques, memory, and photography to examine the intersections of Afro-ambiguity, Black mundanity, and the right to self-representation. 

Dr. Petrina Dacres is an independent curator and a founding member of Tide Rising Art Projects, an organization created to support and promote contemporary Caribbean art and film, where she serves as its resident Curator and Education Director. Her work and research focus on Caribbean art; African diaspora art; public sculpture and memorials; and memory studies. Dr. Dacres has organized exhibitions at Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center, New York; The National Museum, Jamaica, Kingston; and National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, among others. She is Head of the Art History Department at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica, and the 2022 Jane Farver Curatorial Resident at ISCP.

Oneika Russell attended the Edna Manley College in Kingston, Jamaica and completed a diploma in the Painting Department in 2003. In 2003 she left for studies at Goldsmiths College in London in the Centre for Cultural Studies. While at Goldsmiths, Oneika began to integrate her deep interest in combining the practice of Painting with New Media. She has also completed the Doctoral Course in Art at Kyoto Seika University, Japan concentrating on Animation in Contemporary Art. She is currently a lecturer across The Fine Art and Visual Communication Departments at The Edna Manley College.

Re’al Christian is a writer, editor, and art historian based in Queens, NY. She is a contributing editor at ART PAPERS, and the Assistant Director of Editorial Initiatives at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School. Her work explores issues related to identity, diasporas, media, and materiality. Her essays, interviews, and criticism have appeared in Art in America, Art in Print, BOMB Magazine, and The Brooklyn Rail. She has written catalog and exhibition texts for CUE Art Foundation, DC Moore Gallery, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., and Performa, and has participated in public programs with Dieu Donné and the Rubin Foundation. As an editor and Curatorial Fellow at the Hunter College Art Galleries, she has worked on exhibitions and publications including The Black Index (2020–21), which addresses the history of Black self-representation as an antidote to colonial violence.

This program is supported, in part, by Jane Farver Memorial Fund; Hartfield Foundation; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York City Council District 34; New York State Council on the Arts and the New York State Legislature; and William Talbott Hillman Foundation.

2-3pm

Event
May 19–May 22, 2022

Micha Serraf: Hope Is a Dry Colour

The International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) announces Hope Is a Dry Colour, a selection of works by Micha Serraf as part of 1-54 New York 2022 Special Projects. Serraf is the recipient of the Ritzau Art Prize 2021, an award that provides global visibility, professional development, and career enhancing residencies to promising visual artists from the African continent and who are of African descent in New York. In pursuit of memory, identity, and a place to call home, Zimbabwean artist Micha Serraf’s uncanny photographs and hand sewn tapestries are motivated by a drifting sense of nostalgia for personal and familial experiences.

The evocative presence of people of color is foregrounded throughout the project, symbolized by the ancestral totemic monoliths in the tapestries and by the anonymous figures of the photographs. The African landscapes depicted here are actually now inaccessible military bases, or restricted nature reserves owned and operated by families of colonial descent, but they are all places that would have been passed through freely by the artist’s ancestors. Serraf feels caught between considerations of ancestral history and utopic optimism.

Most of the works were conceived while Serraf was in residence at ISCP in New York in 2021. The residency is a collaboration between Tauck Ritzau Innovative Philanthropy, International Studio & Curatorial Program, and 1-54. This special project, organized by ISCP, is generously supported by Tauck Ritzau Innovative Philanthropy.

Micha Serraf is a photographer who explores the construction and deconstruction of identity, belonging, Blackness and masculinity through photography. The artist was born in Zimbabwe and fled to South Africa at a young age. This mobility prompted Serraf to observe his behavior and that of other foreign nationals regarding the safest shape to inhabit in new environments. This fluid presentation of self, and the ability to be malleable, are used to access forms of acceptance and camouflage. Through his practice, Serraf is interested in demonstrating the evolutionary, fluid, and emotional entanglements related to the purpose, interpretations, and performance of race and origin. Serraf has exhibited work at Foam, Amsterdam; Unseen Photo Fair, Amsterdam; C/O Berlin, among others.

Fair Hours:

  • Thursday, May 19 10:00am – 7:00pm
  • Friday, May 20 12:00pm – 8:00pm
  • Saturday, May 21 12:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Sunday, May 22 12:00pm – 5:00pm

Location: Harlem Parish – 258 W 118th St, New York, NY 10026, United States

About 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair:

Founded by Touria El Glaoui in 2013, 1-54 is the leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora with annual editions in London, New York (since 2015), and Marrakesh (since 2018). Drawing reference to the fifty-four countries that constitute the African continent, 1-54 is a sustainable and dynamic platform that is engaged in contemporary dialogue and exchange. For more, 1-54.com

About the Ritzau Art Prize, a commitment to artists from Africa and African descent:

The Ritzau Art Prize is funded by Colleen Ritzau Leth, Executive Director at Tauck Ritzau Innovative Philanthropy, a private family foundation that since 2017 has supported residencies for young, promising African artists at the International Studio & Curatorial Program in Brooklyn, New York. The Ritzau Art Prize builds on the foundation’s commitment to providing artists from the continent with dynamic, immersive residencies that create visibility and advance their careers. TRIP has supported ISCP residencies for artists from the African continent including Younes Baba-Ali (2019), whose wry, subversive art often takes place in the public streets of North Africa; Nigerian artist Modupeola Fadugba (2018), whose affecting paintings and works on paper explore issues of identity representation and access; and Kiluanji Kia Henda (2017), a self-taught Angolan artist whose work was recently acquired by Tate Modern in London and the subject of a major solo show (2020) in Museo d/Arte Provincia di Nuoro in Italy, his first in Europe. Cameroonian painter and installation artist Adjani Okpu-Egbe (2020), whose raw, expressive art investigates African colonial history and political activism, was the inaugural Ritzau Art Prize recipient. Micha Serraf, whose uncanny photographs and hand-sewn tapestries are motivated by drifting nostalgia for personal and ancestral experiences, was the prize winner in 2021.

Participating Residents