Exhibition
Through August 12

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, New York. 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, New York. 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 by The New York Community Trust’s Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; Hartfield Foundation; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; New York City Council District 33; 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, 6-8pm
Open Hours: By appointment Monday–Friday, 10:30am–5:30pm.
Download Press Release (PDF)

Participating Residents

ISCP Talk
June 7, 2022, 6:30–8pm

Past, Present and Future: The Life of a Project

Held in conjunction with the exhibition Lizania Cruz: Every Immigrant Is a Writer / Todo Inmigrante Es un Escritor, artist Lizania Cruz, archivist and researcher Yvette Ramírez, and Bertha Justice Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights Samah Sisay will discuss individual and collective experiences of Black immigrants and first-generation Black Americans. Ramírez and Sisay have both been involved in Cruz’s project, We the News, a five-year iterative project culminating with the current exhibition at ISCP, on view through August 26, 2022.

Yvette Ramírez is an archivist and researcher from Queens, New York. She is inspired by the power of community-centered archives to further explore the complexities of information transmission and memory within Andean and other diasporic Latinx communities of Indigenous descent. With nearly a decade of experience as an arts administrator, Ramírez has worked alongside community-based and cultural organizations including The Laundromat Project, PEN America, Make The Road New York and New Immigrant Community Empowerment. Currently, she is working towards her PhD at the School of Information at The University of Michigan where she also holds an MSI in Digital Curation and Archives. Ramírez is also a co-founding member of the collective Archivistas en Espanglish.

Samah Sisay is a Bertha Justice Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, New York, where she specializes in international human rights and challenging inhumane immigration policies and abusive police practices. Previously, Sisay worked as an Equal Justice Works Fellow at African Services Committee. During her two-year fellowship, Samah provided legal representation on immigration matters to undocumented Black immigrant women, both transgender and cisgender, who were impacted by gender violence. Samah was born in Liberia and immigrated to the United States with her family at a young age during the country’s civil war. This experience informs her work as an attorney and propelled her to become the first person in her family to attend and graduate college. Samah earned a B.A. in International Affairs at the George Washington University and is a 2018 graduate of New York University School of Law, where she was an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellow. 

Lizania Cruz (she/her) is a Dominican participatory artist and designer interested in how migration affects ways of being and belonging. Through research, oral history, and audience participation, she creates projects that highlight a pluralistic narrative on migration. Cruz has been an artist-in-residence and fellow at the Laundromat Project Create Change, Robert Blackburn Workshop Studio Immersion Project (SIP), Jerome Hill Artist Fellow, Visual Arts, and Planet Texas 2050 Artist Resident — University of Texas, among others. Her work has been exhibited at the Arlington Arts Center, Arlington; BronxArtSpace, New York; Project for Empty Space, Newark; ArtCenter South Florida, Miami Beach; Jenkins Johnson Project Space, Brooklyn; The August Wilson Center, Pittsburgh; and Sharjah’s First Design Biennale, among others. Recently she was part of ESTAMOS BIEN: LA TRIENAL 20/21 at El Museo del Barrio, the first national survey of Latinx artists by the institution. Cruz was an artist in residence at ISCP in 2022.

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.

Lizania Cruz: Every Immigrant Is a Writer / Todo Inmigrante Es un Escritor is supported in part by Vision Fund; Hartfield Foundation; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts and the New York State Legislature; Wilhelm Family Foundation; William Talbott Hillman Foundation; and Woodbury Foundation.

6:30–8pm

Participating Residents

ISCP Talk
May 24, 2022, 6-7pm

Artists at Work: Lolo y Lauti with Kerry Doran

For this in-person Artists at Work, current ISCP artist collective in residence, Lolo y Lauti, will speak with curator and historian Kerry Doran. 

Since beginning their residency in March, Lolo y Lauti created a multichannel video tribute to international queer icon Liza Minelli, and have continued to develop an opera with the working title “El Gusanito.” For this discussion with their longtime curator friend Kerry Doran, Lolo y Lauti will talk about their role in the performance and video art scene in Buenos Aires, and the Perfuch festival which they curated and hosted from 2015 through 2019. They’ll give an overview of some of their performance projects, and their most recent show at Barro gallery, Localidades agotada. 

Lolo y Lauti are a duo of performance artists. Their multidisciplinary practice reimagines the Argentine queer archive, destroyed by military dictatorships and institutional machismo. Coded popular media and local art history are appropriated and restaged in pieces incorporating comedy, video, objects, and contemporary opera. Lolo y Lauti have exhibited work at MAC Panamá, Panamá City; BARRO Arte Contemporáneo and Casa Nacional del Bicentenario, both Buenos Aires, among others.

Kerry Doran is a critic, curator, and organizer based in New York/Lenapehoking. Their research focuses on a critically and broadly conceived idea of Latin America and its visual culture. Collaborating with and foregrounding LGBTQIA+ practitioners, Doran writes on digital and proto-digital networked communities, mass media and popular culture, identity and (self-)representation, performance, and subversive artistic strategies. Doran’s exhibitions and projects have been featured in Artforum, ARTNews, Clarín, New York Magazine, the New York Times, Página/12, ramona, Rhizome, and The Village Voice, among others. They have also partnered with ArtRio, the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Colección Fortabat, National Geographic, UNTITLED, and UV Estudios, where they were the first curator-in-residence.

This program is supported, in part, by BARRO Arte Contemporáneo; 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; The Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; and William Talbott Hillman Foundation.

6-7pm

Participating Residents