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A tribute to Linda Goode Bryant’s JAM Gallery

Featuring solo shows by Lorna Simpson, Dawoud Bey, Senga Nengudi and Howardena Pindell at Frieze New York 2019

 

Following the success of Matthew Higgs’s celebrated tribute to Hudson at Frieze New York 2018, Franklin Sirmans (Director, Pérez Art Museum Miami) pays homage to the pioneering non-profit New York arts organization Just Above Midtown (JAM) and its founder Linda Goode Bryant.

Formerly the Director of Education at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Bryant founded JAM in 1974. JAM pioneered the early work of now world-renowned African American contemporary artists, providing a much-needed platform for these artists to show and sell their work in New York during that time.

Howardena Pindell, Video Drawings: Hockey, 1975, Chromogenic print , 20.3 x 25.4 cm. Courtesy: Garth Greenan Gallery, New York

Howardena Pindell, Video Drawings: Hockey, 1975, Chromogenic print , 20.3 x 25.4 cm. Courtesy: Garth Greenan Gallery, New York

In acknowledgment of JAM’s contribution to the history of art, an entire room was devoted to Just Above Midtown in the widely acclaimed museum exhibition “Soul of a Nation – Art in the Age of Black Power”.

Sirmans said: “Linda Goode Bryant’s gallery and its experiments with art and artists is the stuff of legend. What she did for the discussion on art and conceptualism in particular is remarkable but it’s her acknowledgment of genius in the work of the artists she worked with that has paved the way for so many artists today. She gave a home to artists now considered to be part of the canon when they had nowhere else to present their work. If she only showed and worked with Hammons, Piper and O’Grady it would be a remarkable existence to celebrate but as it is we add so many more names to that list, evidence of the great history she created. Most exciting is the fact that she has segued her concerns for creating a space in which art can thrive and equally a place for people to come together and share ideas in the name of humane progress into her new endeavor which shares the same concerns and more. The Active Citizen Project ‘initiates critical public discourse and creates opportunities for diverse people to pursue their mutual well-being.’ Simply put ACP does what a good museum does and I am excited about the prospect of working with Linda around shared goals and ideals that recognize the power of art in public discourse.”

Ming Smith, Red Hot Jazz Europe, 1982. Courtesy: Jenkins Johnson Gallery, New York

Ming Smith, Red Hot Jazz Europe, 1982. Courtesy: Jenkins Johnson Gallery, New York

The JAM section will feature solo presentations of artists from Bryant’s original programming, through the support of invited galleries.

Highlights include:

Rena Bransten Gallery & Stephen Daiter Gallery Dawoud Bey
Thomas Erben Gallery & Lévy Gorvy & Sprüth Magers Senga Nengudi
Alexander Gray Associates Lorraine O’Grady
Garth Greenan Howardena Pindell
Hauser & Wirth Lorna Simpson
Jenkins Johnson Gallery Ming Smith
Michael Rosenfeld Gallery Norman Lewis

Norman Lewis, Untitled, 1974, ink on paper, 73.5 × 58.5 cm. Courtesy: Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York

Norman Lewis, Untitled, 1974, ink on paper, 73.5 × 58.5 cm. Courtesy: Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York

A portion of the fees from the galleries in this section will be donated to support Bryant’s current non-profit initiative, Project Eats: a neighborhood-based urban agricultural partnership and social enterprise that creates sustainable food production and equitable distribution of those resources within and between communities. For more details, visit projectseats.org.

Lorraine O’Grady, Untitled (Mlle Bourgeoise Noire shouts out her poem), 1980-83/2009. Courtesy: Alexander Gray Associates, New York © Lorraine O’Grady/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York

Lorraine O’Grady, Untitled (Mlle Bourgeoise Noire shouts out her poem), 1980-83/2009. Courtesy: Alexander Gray Associates, New York © Lorraine O’Grady/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York

 

Main image: Dawoud Bey, David Hammons, Bill T. Jones, Phillip Mallory Jones at Just Above Midtown/Downtown Gallery, 1983. Copyright Dawoud Bey. Courtesy: Stephen Daiter Gallery, Chicago and Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco

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