Studio Museum Announces 2011–12 Artists in Residence

The Studio Museum in Harlem announce the 2011–12 artists in resi- dence: Njideka Akunyili, Meleko Mokgosi and Xaviera Simmons.

Since its founding in 1968, the Studio Museum has held a strong commitment to nurturing and advanc- ing the careers of both visual artists of African descent and curators and arts professionals committed to these artists.
Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden states, “The Studio Museum’s residency program continues its ardent support of emerging artists. This year’s artists continue this long and storied tradition by adding their unique voices and vision to the 43-year history of this groundbreaking program.”

The Artists-in-Residence program was conceived at the time of the Museum’s opening and has supported over 100 graduates who have gone on to highly regarded careers. Every year, the Museum offers a twelve-month studio residency for three emerging artists. Each artist is granted a free non-living studio space on the Museum’s third floor, a $20,000 fel- lowship, and a $1,000 materials stipend. The program is designed to serve emerging artists of African and Latino descent locally, nationally and internationally, working across all media. At the end of the residency, an exhibition of the artists’ work is presented in the Museum’s galleries.
In addition to the physical and financial resources of the residency, a key program aspect is artists’ access to Studio Museum staff and other scholars and art professionals, both formally and informally. Through Critical Dialogues , a program that couples each artist with a local curator or critic, artists develop strong relationships with leaders in their specific areas of interest. Meeting several times throughout the year, the artist-critic pair develops a dialogue about the artist’s work and global contemporary art. The critics then contribute essays to the Artists-in-Residence exhibition brochure, providing new, in-depth insight on the artists’ work to the public and the scholarly community.

About the Artists

Njideka Akunyili was born in Enugu, Nigeria, in 1983. She is 2011 MFA graduate of Yale University and received a BA from Swarthmore College (2004) and a post-baccalaureate certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (2006). Her paintings, characterized by rigorous figuration, explore the artist’s complex relationship to both Nige- rian and Western culture. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and California and is in the collections of the Community College of Philadelphia, Swarthmore College, and the PAFA Print Department Archives.

Meleko Mokgosi was born in Gaborone, Botswana in 1981. His large-scale installations of paintings that relate to one another much like frames in a filmstrip investigate notions of cultural identification. Mokgosi received an MFA from University of California, Los Angeles (2011) and a BA from Williams College (2007). Mokgosi was also a par- ticipant in the 2007–08 Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art. His works have been exhibited internationally in solo and group exhibitions at notable venues throughout the U.S. and in Botswana, China and England.

Xaviera Simmons was born in New York City in 1974. Her practice encompasses photographic, performance, installation and audio works, often blurring the line between media and even individual works. Simmons holds a BA in Photography from Bard College (2004) and participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and a two-year Actor Training Conservatory at the Maggie Flanigan Studio in New York. She has worked with the Studio Museum on several exhibitions and projects, including junctures (transmissions to), part of the OFF SITE collabora- tion between the Museum and The Goethe Institute, New York; 30 Seconds off an Inch (2009–10); and a commis- sioned project for the Winter/Spring 2010 issue of Studio magazine. Simmons’s work has also been featured in solo and group exhibitions at institutions including the Museum of Art and Design, MoMA PS1, and the Queens Museum of Art.

Image: The Studio Museum in Harlem

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