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