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Blackness in Abstraction, an exhibition curated by Adrienne Edwards traces the persistent presence of the color black in art, with a particular emphasis on monochromes, from the 1940s to today.

The curator of this exhibition is Adrienne Edwards, who currently serves as a curator and head of programming at Performa and is in the process of completing a Ph.D. in performance studies, will continue to work out of New York. Her curatorial focus includes artists of the African diaspora and the global South, and she has curated programs, projects, and performances Edgar Arceneaux, Juliana Huxtable, Rashid Johnson, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O’Grady, and Carrie Mae Weems, among other artists.

According to Artnet, Blackness in Abstraction considers the use of black as a method, mode and material in works by twenty-nine artists who have explored the expressive and symbolic possibilities of black as a color. Featuring works—over a third of which are newly created—by an international and intergenerational group of artists, the exhibition explores blackness as a highly evocative and animating force in various approaches to abstract art. The exhibition looks at the role of the color black across a range of practices, spanning Geometric Abstraction, Minimalism and Conceptualism to its use in the present.

I have never liked the middle ground – the most boring place in the world. — Louise Nevelson


Louise Nevelson emerged in the art world amidst the dominance of the Abstract Expressionist movement. In her most iconic works, she utilized wooden objects that she gathered from urban debris piles to create her monumental installations – a process clearly influenced by the precedent of Marcel Duchamp’s found object sculptures and “readymades.” Nevelson carefully arranged the objects in order to historicize the debris within the new, narrative context of her wall sculptures. The stories embodied within her works resulted from her cumulative experiences – as a Jewish child relocated to America from Russia, as an artist training in New York City and Germany, and as a hard-working, successful woman. Her innovative sculptural environments and success within the male-dominated realm of the New York gallery system inspired many younger artists, primarily those involved in installation art and the Feminist artmovements.


State of the Arts NYC will have multi-disciplinarian artist Dianne Smith comment on the exhibition. Smith’s career as an abstract painter, sculptor, installation artist, art’s educator and Cultural worker spans over 17 years. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally.

Her solo and group exhibitions include Surface and Soul, 2012, Piedmont Art Center, Martinsville, Virginia, Connections, 2012, Art Basel, Miami, No Limits, 2013, at The Harrison Museum of African American Culture, Roanoke Virginia, and a group exhibition in Berlin, Germany at the Atelierhof Kreuzberg entitled Transformers Coiled Potentials, 2012. She is also known for her public art installations such as, Gumboot Juba, 2011, Armory Week, New York City, Organic Abstract, 2013, the New York City Parks Department, Armory Week and Bartow Pell Mansion as well as, the Andrew Freedman Houses, Bronx, New York.

Smith attended the Otis Parsons School of Design, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and LaGuardia High School of Music and Art. She received her MFA from Transart Institute in Berlin, Germany.

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