Apr 18, 2023
To celebrate the exhibition Projects: Ming Smith, Erica N. Cardwell will moderate a panel with Gabrielle Civil, Kenturah Davis, and Shala Miller. These interdisciplinary artists will discuss the work of Smith in relation to the topics of optics and opticality, the blur, light and shadow, and (in)visibility. Each artist will select a photograph from the exhibition as an exploration into their practice, responding to the photograph with a visual, sonic, or poetic offering. The panelists highlight the hybridity of Smith’s practice, which often explores the role of music, dance, and writing.
This program is one in a series in support of Projects: Ming Smith that seeks to expand the discourse on Smith’s practice beyond existing art historical, curatorial, and cultural theory frameworks. In focusing on the blur, that which is just beyond the grasp of our touch and eyes, that opacity, privacy, and fugitivity characteristic of blackness, we hope to reframe how we sense and perceive image and movement as captured through Smith’s photographic lens.
This event is a collaboration between The Studio Museum in Harlem and MoMA.
American Sign Language interpretation and CART captioning will be available for this event.
Erica N. Cardwell is a writer, critic, and educator based in Brooklyn and Toronto. She is the recipient of an Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and a New York State Council for Arts, Grant for
Erica N. Cardwell is a writer, critic, and educator based in Brooklyn and Toronto. She is the recipient of an Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and a New York State Council for Arts, Grant for Artists in support of her first book, Wrong Is Not My Name: Notes on (Black) Art, which will be published by the Feminist Press in March 2024. Erica’s teaching and writing consider the consciousness and imaginations of people of color as a tool for social, spiritual, and collective movement. She centers Black feminist theory as her primary critical approach, and often writes about print and paper-making practices, archival media, and interdisciplinary performance. Her writing has appeared in ARTS. BLACK, Artsy, Art in America, Frieze, BOMB, The Believer, the Brooklyn Rail, C Magazine, CULTURED, and other publications. Most recently, her writing is included in the anthology Track Changes: A Handbook for Art Criticism.
Cardwell has been awarded residencies and fellowships from the Lambda Literary Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and the Queer Art Mentorship. She received her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College and has taught for various institutions, such as Parsons School of Design at the New School, and the Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency. She is on the editorial board of Radical Teacher Journal and a member of the International Art Critics Association.
Kenturah Davis is an artist working between Los Angeles and Accra, Ghana. Her work oscillates between various facets of portraiture and design. Using text as a point of departure, she explores the
Kenturah Davis is an artist working between Los Angeles and Accra, Ghana. Her work oscillates between various facets of portraiture and design. Using text as a point of departure, she explores the fundamental role that language has in shaping how we understand ourselves and the world around us. This manifests in a variety of forms including drawings, textiles, sculpture and performances. Davis was commissioned by LA Metro to create large-scale, site-specific work that will be permanently installed on the new Crenshaw/LAX rail line, opening in 2020. Her work has been included in institutional exhibitions in the United States, Ghana, Italy, France, China, Japan, and Australia. Davis earned her BA from Occidental College and MFA from Yale University School of Art. Davis was an inaugural artist fellow at NXTHVN in New Haven, CT.
Shala Miller, also known as Freddie June when she sings, was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio by two southerners named Al and Ruby. At around the age of ten or eleven, Miller discovered quietude,
Shala Miller, also known as Freddie June when she sings, was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio by two southerners named Al and Ruby. At around the age of ten or eleven, Miller discovered quietude, the kind you’re sort of pushed into, and then was fooled into thinking that this is where she should stay put. Since then, Miller has been trying to find her way out, and find her way into an understanding of herself and her history, using photography, video, writing, and singing as an aid in this process.
Miller's work in photography and film meditates on the intersection of desire, mourning, pain, and pleasure. Taking up skin as a site of history and intimacy with the self and across generations, they hold space for the body’s vulnerabilities and maladies.
Gabrielle Civil is a Black feminist performance artist, poet, and writer, originally from Detroit. She has premiered over fifty performance artworks around the world, including Translated Bodies (2023
Gabrielle Civil is a Black feminist performance artist, poet, and writer, originally from Detroit. She has premiered over fifty performance artworks around the world, including Translated Bodies (2023) at Velocity Dance Center; the déjà vu—live (2022) at Beyond Baroque; Jupiter (2021) for the Salt Lake City Performance Art Festival; and Vigil (2021) for Northern Spark. Her performance memoirs include Swallow the Fish (2017) from Civil Coping Mechanisms Press; Experiments in Joy (2019) from Co-Conspirator Press; (ghost gestures) (2021) from Gold Line Press, and the déjà vu (2022) from Coffee House Press. Her writing has also appeared in New Daughters of Africa, Kitchen Table Translation, Migrating Pedagogies, DanceNotes, and Experiments in Joy: A Workbook. Her performance stills and videos have been exhibited in art spaces in California, Ohio, Minnesota, Mexico, Brazil, and online. In 2023, she will activate dolls as an Artist-in-Residence at Automata Arts, Los Angeles, and perform Pilgrimage as a Performance Fellow at Franconia Sculpture Park, Chisago County, Minnesota. A 2019 Rema Hort Mann LA Emerging Artist, she earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature from New York University and teaches at the California Institute of the Arts. The aim of her work is to open up space.
by Ming Smith, Habiba Hopson, Kaitlin Booher
by Erica Cardwell
Exhibition of works by Kenturah Davis
Studio Check-In with Shala Miller by Ilk Yasha
by Fred Moten
by Duke Ellington
by Shala Miller
The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Learning and Engagement programs are supported by the Thompson Foundation Education Fund; Van Cleef & Arpels; William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust; Con Edison; Harlem Community Development Corporation; May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation; Sony Music Group; and Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts. Additional support provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts.