What's On

Deborah JACK, Untitled #1, from Intertidal Imaginaries: The Resistant Geographies of the Shore(coast) in the Aftermath of Saltwater (storm surges), 2021. Archival C-Print on Baryta Fine Art Paper, 40 x 60 in (101.6 x 152.4 cm), Ed. 1-3 of 3. Courtesy of the artist & PEN+BRUSH gallery.

1-54 Presents, Sparkling Islands: Another Postcard of the Caribbean

Date: Thursday, May 11th, 2023 – Sunday, May 21st, 2023

Address: High Line Nine – 507 W 27th St, New York, NY 10001

Summary: 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair is pleased to announce “Sparkling Islands: Another Postcard of the Caribbean,” a group exhibition of contemporary Caribbean artists presented on the occasion of the fair’s 9th New York edition. Curated by caryl* ivrisse crochemar & [creative renegades society], this exhibition will feature work by April Bey, Jean-Ulrick Désert, Roland Dorcély, Adler Guerrier, Deborah Jack, Leasho Johnson, Remy Jungerman, Anina Major, Johanna Mirabel, Nyugen E. Smith, Yoan Sorin and Alberta Whittle.

To find out more about the exhibit, please visit the following link.

Emily Weiner, Rebirth of Empire, 2022. Oil on linen in painted wood frame, 29 x 35 x 1.75 in. Courtesy of the artist and Red Arrow Galley.

Future Fair 2023

Date: Wednesday, May 10th, 2023 – Saturday, May 13th, 2023 (opening times vary)

Address: Chelsea Industrial, 535 W 28th Street, New York, NY 10001

Summary: This year’s Future Fair selects from a vast talent pool, featuring young and emergent dealers alongside galleries with over 10 years of experience in the market. Taking a deep dive into contemporary painting and adjacent new media, 22 exhibitors will stage solo artist presentations and several will offer duo artist exhibitions. With a nod to Future Fair’s original concept of shared exhibition spaces, 10 exhibitors will stage co-curated exhibitions. Current events and social conversations converge into portals that celebrate identity, envision new worlds, bear witness to history and create poetic spaces for pause within an overstimulated society. All of which underscores the urgency that the role of art plays locally and globally.

To find out more about the exhibit, please visit the following link.

Iyabo Kwayana, By Water, 2022, 12 minutes. Photo Courtesy of the artist.

New York African Film Festival: 1-54’s “Freeforms” Screening

Date: Tuesday, May 16th, 2023

Address: Francesca Beale Theater – 144 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023

Summary: African Film Festival, Inc. (AFF) celebrates the 30th anniversary of the New York African Film Festival (NYAFF) from May 10 to June 1, 2023. Launched in 1993, the NYAFF is one of the first film festivals in the United States to reflect on the myriad ways African and diaspora filmmakers have used the moving image to tell complex nuanced stories of cultural and aesthetic significance. Under the banner, Freeforms, the festival will present over 50 films from more than 25 countries that explore and embrace the visionary, probing, and fearless spirit of African film and diaspora storytelling. The 30th-anniversary edition of the New York African Film Festival is presented in collaboration with Film at Lincoln Center (FLC – May 10 – 16), Maysles Cinema (May 19 – 22), and BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music – May 26 – June 1). For more information, visit

This special screening will feature a collection of poetic, daring and stylistic shorts that take its viewers on a contemplative emotional journey; in addition to a live Q&A session with feautred artists Iyabo Kwayan, Babetida Sadjo, Tarek el Sherbeny, Julia Mallory, Taoheed Bayo, andD Mark Odumuyiwa.

This screening of Shorts Program 2: Freeforms is co-presented by 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair.

To find out more about the screening, please visit the following link.

Jamea Richardson, This Water Runs Deep, 2022, Mixed-media and collage on canvas with sound, 2:18 min. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Dorado.

A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration

Date: Friday, March 3rd, 2023 – Sunday, June 25th, 2023

Address: Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, the Brooklyn Museum – 200 Eastern Pkwy, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Summary: “A Movement in Every Direction,” presents a departure from traditional accounts of the Great Migration, which are often understood through a lens of trauma, and reconceptualizes them through stories of self-possession, self-determination, and self-examination. While the South did lose generations of courageous, creative, and productive Black Americans due to racial and social inequities, the exhibition expands the narrative by introducing people who stayed in, or returned to, the region during this time. Additionally, the Brooklyn Museum’s presentation centers Brooklyn as another important site in the Great Migration, highlighting historical and contemporary census data about the borough’s migration patterns. Visitors are encouraged to share their own personal and familial stories of migration through an oral history “pod” available in the exhibition galleries.

To learn more about the exhibition, visit the following link.

Photo Courtesy of Poster House.

Black Power to Black People: Branding the Black Panther Party

Date: Thursday, March 2nd, 2023 – Sunday, September 10th, 2023

Address: Poster House, Programs Gallery – 119 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011

Summary: During the 1960s, the civil rights of Black Americans were among the key issues addressed by demonstrators and protesters as they confronted many of the long-standing injustices that plagued the country. A number of Black-led organizations set out to redress systemic oppression, rallying the support of their communities through a variety of creative means. In particular, the Black Panther Party emerged as one of the most influential militant groups of the time. The posters in this exhibition chronicle how the Black Panther Party devised a specific graphic language to reaffirm Black humanity and decommodify Black life. Its heroic images of party members, widespread distribution of printed materials like The Black Panther newspaper, and political campaign posters allowed the Black Panther Party to control its own narrative and brand Black nationalism to advance a communal revolution.

To find out more about the exhibit, please visit the following link.

Wura-Natasha Ogunji, I found myself inside myself, 2023, Thread, ink, graphite on tracing paper, 24 x 24 inches. Courtesy of Fridman Gallery.

Cake, by Wura-Natasha Ogunji

Date: Friday, May 12th, 2023 –  Saturday, June 17th, 2023

Address: Fridman Gallery – 169 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

Summary: Fridman Gallery is honored to present Cake, Wura-Natasha Ogunji’s first solo exhibition in New York. Ogunji works in drawing, painting, performance, and video. The exhibition includes new drawings and a site-specific thread installation, accompanied by a selection of the artist’s early video works. In many of her drawings Ogunji explores water as architecture – lagoons rendered in ink, stitched lines of a river, or the empty space of the paper itself (an imagined expanse of sea). The work also often develops around language. As the artist creates, titles emerge and become the structure determining the form of the pieces. 

Stitching the gallery space floor-to-ceiling, the thread installation turns the space itself into a drawing that viewers can enter, a container for collective experience. Ogunji’s early performance videos investigate concepts of migration, border crossing, homeland, and longing. The artist crawls across the hard earth with water bottles tied to her ankles, jumps over water, levitates above outer-space or seafloor landscapes, leaves marks in parched soil with hands and feet wrapped in stones and thread.

To find out more about the exhibit, please visit the following link.

Thomas J. Commeraw, Gift of Samuel V. Hoffman, circa 1800-1819, Ceramic pottery jar. Courtesy of the New-York Historical Society

Crafting Freedom: The Life and Legacy of Free Black Potter Thomas W. Commeraw

Date: Friday, January, 27th, 2023 – Sunday, May 28th, 2023

Address: The New-York Historical Society – 170 Central Park West, Manhattan, NY 10024

Summary: “Crafting Freedom: The Life and Legacy of Free Black Potter Thomas W. Commeraw,” is the first exhibition to bring overdue attention to a skilled craftsman whose racial identity was long overlooked. Born enslaved, Commeraw rose to prominence as a free Black entrepreneur, owning and operating a successful pottery. Over a period of two decades, Commeraw amassed property, engaged in debates over state and national politics, and participated in the life of New York City’s free Black community. The exhibition explores Commeraw’s multi-faceted history—as a craftsman, business owner, family man, and citizen.

To find out more about the exhibit, please visit the following link.

Placid Blue, 2022, oil on Belgian linen, 45x45cm. Photo Courtesy of the artist.

NELSON MAKAMO – Two Venue Presentation

Date(s): Wednesday, May 17th, 2023 –  Sunday, June 21st, 2023

Address: 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair – 439 West 127th St, New York 10027

High Line Nine – Gallery 7, 507 W 27th St, New York 10001

Summary: In the last 20 years, Nelson Makamo’s (B. 1982, Limpopo) signature style and subject matter have steadily placed him on the global stage. Living and working in Johannesburg, he is known for his paintings and drawings that redress decades of
images that have portrayed African children as destitute. This two-venue presentation of his work will re-introduce the New York audience to Makamo.

On show as part of the Special Projects section of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair will be a large-scale hand woven tapestry created by the artist in collaboration with a team of artisans, displayed here for the first time outside of South Africa. The work, which combines Makamo’s painterly style with the grid-like precision of weaving, features a child who towers above the viewer, looking out with a mixture of melancholy and hope through round glasses.

This monumental work will be contextualised by a parallel presentation at High Line Nine, comprising a selection of new paintings and works on paper. These pieces are a continuation of a new body of work where, alongside in solo portraits, Makamo portrays his subjects in situ, as members of a wider community. The emotional intensity of the artist’s work has not
disappeared, but the added context brings a new level of detail to his world.

To find out more about the exhibit, please visit the following link.

Megan Thee Stallion posing for The Cut Magazine, 2022 © Campbell Addy.

Hip-Hop Conscious, Unconscious

Date: Sunday, January 26, 2023 – Saturday, May 20th, 2023

Address: Fotografiska Museum – 281 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010

Summary: Co-curated by Sally Berman and Sacha Jenkins, Chief Creative Officer of Mass Appeal, Hip-Hop: Conscious, Unconscious presents images ranging from iconic staples of visual culture to rare and intimate portraits of hip-hop’s biggest stars from legendary pioneers including Nas, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G, and Mary J. Blige to modern icons such as Nicki Minaj, Megan Thee Stallion, and Cardi B. The works on view traverse intersecting themes such as the role of women in hip-hop; hip-hop’s regional and stylistic diversification and rivalries; a humanistic lens into the 1970s-Bronx street gangs whose members contributed to the birth of hip-hop; and the mainstream breakthrough that saw a grassroots movement become a global phenomenon.

To find out more about the exhibit, please visit the following link.

Kara Walker, Alabama Loyalists Greeting the Federal Gun-Boats, from the portfolio Harper's Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), 2005. Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Kara Walker: Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated)

Date: Friday, February, 24th, 2023 – Thursday, June 11th, 2023

Address: The New-York Historical Society – 170 Central Park West, Manhattan, NY 10024

Summary: “Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated),” is a series of 15 prints based on the two-volume anthology published in 1866 and 1868. Walker’s work comments on the omission of African Americans from this narrative and urges viewers to consider the persistence of violent caricature and stereotype today. To create her prints, Walker enlarged select illustrations and then overlaid them with large stenciled figures. The silhouettes visually disrupt the scenes and suffuse them with scenarios evocative of the painful past left out of Harper’s original images. The Center for Women’s History contextualizes the exhibition—which is traveling from the Smithsonian American Art Museum—with objects, images, and documents from New-York Historical’s collections.

To find out more about the exhibit, please visit the following link.

Carver Audain, ONE THING ABOUT WHICH FISH KNOW EXACTLY NOTHING IS WATER, 2023. Photo Courtesy of Duane Thomas Gallery.


Date: Thursday, April 13th, 2023 – Saturday, May 13th, 2023

Address: Duane Thomas Gallery – 137 West Broadway #3, New York, NY 10013

Summary: Carver Audain is a multimedia artist born in 1981 in Buffalo, New York. His work spans across various mediums including sound, video, installation, and assemblage. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, including the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein in Berlin, Germany, and the Museum im Bellpark Kriens, Switzerland. His multimedia work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including “Lost In America” curated by John Miller at NBK Berlin in 2021, “Burn It Clean” curated by Blake Rayne at 1301PE Gallery in Los Angeles, CA and 9 Evenings +50 curated by Julie Martin & Regine Basha at Fridman Gallery New York NY* in 2016.

To find out more about the exhibit, please visit the following link.

Ming Smith, Mother and Child, 1976, Gelatin silver print, 11 x 14. Photo Courtesy of MoMA.

Projects: Ming Smith

Date: Saturday, February 4th, 2023 –  Monday, May 29th, 2023

Address: MoMA, Floor 1, 1 North – 11 West 53 Street, Manhattan, NY 10019

Summary: “I like catching the moment, catching the light, and the way it plays out,” the photographer Ming Smith has said. “I go with my intuition…it’s about always looking at lines and the quality of the movement. It’s about seeking energy, breath, and light. The image is always moving, even if you’re standing still.”1 For Smith, these are the central tenets of her approach to image-making: a practice attuned to bodily movement and spatial relations that maintains a commitment to the poetry of light and shadow.

In the early 1970s, Smith arrived in New York City after graduating from Howard University. She had studied microbiology and chemistry, but took the university’s only photography class to sustain a passion for the image inculcated in her by her father. Supporting herself as a model while shooting on the city streets, Smith spent time in Anthony Barboza’s studio and met photographers such as Louis Draper and Joe Crawford, swiftly becoming immersed in fiery debates about the stakes of photography as an art form.2 In 1972, Draper invited Smith to join The Kamoinge Workshop, a collective of African American photographers who gathered weekly to review and critique each other’s work. Its name derived from the Kikuyu word for “a group of people acting together,” Kamoinge was founded in 1963 and emerged as a shared political and artistic space for photographic improvement and, especially, self-determination. It was a powerful sentiment at a time of pivotal gains for the US Civil Rights Movement and decolonization across the African continent.

Joining Kamoinge was transformational for Smith’s photography and self-perception as an artist. She cut her teeth as a photographer and sharpened her conceptual focus, mining the structural and psychological tensions that animate experiences of Blackness. By turns dense and diaphanous, Smith’s pictures sustain hefty blacks alongside frothy swirls of gray and white. These mercurial, moody scenes resist spectacular clarity or straightforward interpretation. As historian and curator Maurice Berger has said, “Ms. Smith’s subjects are often suspended between visibility and invisibility: faces turned away, or are blurred or shrouded in shadow, mist or darkness, a potent metaphor of the struggle for African-American visibility in a culture in which black men and women were disparaged, erased or ignored.”3 In this way, Smith gives shape to the quotidian idiosyncrasies of Black life.

In an unending oscillation between light and darkness, Smith revels in the emotive elements of her subjects. Key to this is the photographer’s command of the blur, which critic Jessica Lynne succinctly defines as “the technique by which Smith collapses the boundaries between a photograph’s subject and its background.”4 Executed with rhythmic pacing and maintaining an acuity of vision, her engagement with sonic and lyrical forms is particularly notable. Subjects and captions refer to the plays of August Wilson, the words of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (1952), and the music of Marvin Gaye and Billie Holiday, John Coltrane and David Murray. These intertextual references bring forward recognizable figures while affirming the function of these photographs as speculative compositions, shaped through intuition. “In the art of photography, I’m dealing with light, I’m dealing with all these elements, getting that precise moment,” Smith has said. “Getting the feeling, getting the way the light hits the person—to put it simply, these pieces are like the blues.

To find out more about the exhibit, please visit the following link.

Photo Courtesy of The Met.

The Facade Commission: Hew Locke, Gilt

Date: Thursday, September 15th, 2022 – Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

Address: Address: The Met, Gallery 926 – 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028

Summary: Gilt is the third in a series of commissions for The Met’s historic facade. Borrowing the format of trophies—emblems of competition and victory—Hew Locke has created four sculptures that reflect on the exercise and representation of power. These works feature details inspired by objects in The Met collection, many rendered unfamiliar through appropriation, fragmentation, and recombination. Relying on an aesthetic of excess and artifice, Gilt leverages the relationship between guilt and gold across 3,000 years of art history, exploring the routes objects travel over time as well as the material and symbolic values that accrues to them as they change hands.

Hew Locke was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1959 and raised in Guyana, a multiracial, multicultural nation in South America that was formed in the crucible of indigeneity, European colonialism, the African slave trade, and Indian indentureship. He and his family arrived in Guyana in 1966, just as the country was establishing its independence from British rule. Locke returned to the United Kingdom in 1980, travelling alongside a wave of immigrants from Britain’s current and former colonies in the Caribbean. He completed a BA in Fine Art at Falmouth School of Art in 1988 and an MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in 1994. He has resided full time in London since 1989.

To find out more about the exhibit, please visit the following link.

Photo Courtesy of The Met.

The Roof Garden Commission: Lauren Halsey

Date: Tuesday, April 18th – Sunday, October 22nd, 2023

Address: The Met, Gallery 926 – 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028

Summary: American artist Lauren Halsey (b. 1987, Los Angeles) has been commissioned to create a site-specific installation for The Met’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden. Halsey will create a full-scale architectural structure imbued with the collective energy and imagination of the South Central Los Angeles Community where she was born and continues to work. Titled the eastside of south central los angeles hieroglyph prototype architecture (I), the installation is designed to be inhabited by The Met’s visitors, who will be able to explore its connections to sources as varied as ancient Egyptian symbolism, 1960s utopian architecture, and contemporary visual expressions like tagging that reflect the ways in which people aspire to make public places their own.

To find out more about the exhibit, please visit the following link.

VOLTA New York, 2023. Photo Courtesy of VOLTA Art Fair.

VOLTA New York 2023

Date: Wednesday, May 17, 5 PM – Sunday, May 21, 4 PM

Address: Volta New York – 125 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

Summary: VOLTA NY is a contemporary art fair comprised of solo projects by leading and emerging international artists. The American incarnation of the original Basel VOLTA show, VOLTA NY has since its 2008 debut operated as a beacon for creative discovery and social engagement during Armory Arts Week. Led by Amanda Coulson, VOLTA’s longtime Artistic Director, VOLTA NY showcases contemporary art positions in an approachable way accessible to younger art-lovers and seasoned collectors alike. By spotlighting artists through solo projects, VOLTA NY promotes their galleries’ exhibition styles “at home” while refocusing the fair-going experience back to its most fundamental point: the artists and their works.

To find out more about the exhibit, please visit the following link.

Photo Courtesy of Frieze New York.

Frieze New York 2023

Date: Thursday, May 18, 11 AM – Sunday, May 21, 6 PM

Address: The Shed – 545 W 30th St, New York, NY 10001

Summary: Another feather in the cap of the budding New York art scene, The Shed has garnered much attention from art lovers for the innovative and inclusive exhibitions it hosts. Showcasing a myriad form of art including contemporary and street art, industrial and pop culture, this gallery brings a refreshing change from the standard galleries one comes across. It features both established and emerging artists, with a view to exhibiting new and distinctive work. An architectural gem, the unique design of the building of The Shed is as much an attraction as the exhibits inside it.

To find out more about the exhibit, please visit the following link.