ONLINE EXHIBITIONS

INTERNATIONAL PRINT CENTER NEW YORK

"LIVING IN AMERICA"

An Exhibition in Four Acts

ENSEMBLE:

Mildred Beltré, Vanessa German, Mark Thomas Gibson,

Elektra KB, Yashua Klos, Narsiso Martinez, Azikiwe Mohammed, Nontsikelelo Mutiti, Africanus Okokon, Karen J. Revis, Swoon, William Villalongo, and Dáreece J. Walker

CURATOR:

Assembly Room, a curatorial platform founded in 2018 by curators Natasha Becker, Paola Gallio, and Yulia Topchiy to empower female-identifying curators living and working in New York City, and beyond. 

PRESENTED BY INTERNATIONAL PRINT CENTER NEW YORK

Living in America: An Exhibition in Four Acts  is also presented in-person at IPCNY's exhibition space in Chelsea, New York. 

VIEW

ONLINE PROGRAM
 

Elektra KB, Karen J. Revis, and

David Platzker in conversation

with Assembly Room​

9/29, 7pm on Zoom

"ACT I: OUTRAGE"

VIEW

"ACT II: LOVE"

ONLINE PROGRAM
 

Mildred Beltré, Azikiwe Mohammed, and Dáreece J. Walker in conversation with Assembly Room

10/20, 7pm on Zoom

VIEW

"ACT III: HOPE"
 

ONLINE PROGRAM

Yashua Klos, Nontsikelelo

Mutiti, and Karen J. Revis in conversation with Assembly Room

11/10, 7pm on Zoom

VIEW

"ACT IV: CARE"

ONLINE PROGRAM
 

Vanessa German

in conversation with

Assembly Room

12/01, 7pm on Zoom

"PROLOGUE"

ASSEMBLY ROOM:

Baldwin’s popularity today is understandable: it really does seem like he was writing in 2020 rather than more than 50 years ago. We are living in one of the most profound times in America: a global health pandemic, the deaths of hundreds of thousands, massive social isolation and unemployment this year collided with the brutal and senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, sparking impassioned protests for the protection of Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQAI+ Americans and Americans of color.

“...for this is your home, my friend. Do not be driven from it. Great men have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what America must become.” 

 

"ACT I: OUTRAGE"

ASSEMBLY ROOM:

Racism is still alive and well in America; people have been excluded by a system that is violent. We could so easily succumb to anger, pain, and despair but Baldwin, who burned with rage in his day, showed us what it means to use our imagination to see our own experiences and this country in a different light. Today, artists are leading the way. 

 

Karen J. Revis 

Power (Green), Power (Halo)Power (Indigo Stripe), and Power (Pink), 2017. Paper lithograph monoprints. 20 × 14 ¾ inches each.

Courtesy and © the artist.

These works are available. Inquire.

REVISionary Prints by Karen J. Revis is a series the artist started as a conversation about her own experience growing up in a Black community and existing in the current political climate. Revis asks whether America was ever greater than now, using references to the history of African Americans and women in her work. “For African Americans and women there’s never been a better time than right now, even though we still have so far to go. I am a Black woman born in the 1960s experiencing a new found joy and pride seeing myself, my family, and my community increasingly present in pop culture in a well-rounded, truthful way. Through my work, I am celebrating and telling the story of my childhood, my heroes, and the leaders of my community who fought so hard to make this growth possible. I am using existing images in the media as raw material to make work that tells my story,” says Revis. 

Karen J. Revis

Bulletproof, 2020. Paper lithograph monoprint. 22 × 30 inches.

Small Riot, 2020. Paper lithograph monoprint mounted on paper. 22 × 18 inches. 

Don’t Shoot, 2020. Linocut monoprint. 18 × 24 inches.

Courtesy and © the artist.

These works are available. Inquire.

Elektra KB

Protest sign VII (Counterproductive), 2020. Mixed media textiles and beads. 32 × 64 inches.

Protest Sign VI (You are not alone), 2020. Mixed media textiles. 62 × 69 inches.

Courtesy and © the artist.

These works are available. Inquire.

Elektra KB's works on fabric respond to the global COVID-19 pandemic and are an extension of her Protest Signs, a series of situational objects or props re-contextualized to function in between political theory, art, and activism. In this work the artist pays homage to the prisoners affected by COVID-19 and left behind by governments and healthcare systems worldwide. "You are not alone" is a protest chant sung at demonstrations taking place outside of jails, prisons, and detention facilities in solidarity with the incarcerated every New Year's Eve around the world. Counterproductive resonates with the many reactions of capitalist societies during this global pandemic: the work comments on how the excesses of productivity can turn counterproductive. The figure standing at the center of the composition is a protector from the Theocratic Republic of Gaia, Elektra KB's mythical land of freedom.

Mark Thomas Gibson

Turn it Over, 2020. Ink on canvas. 66 × 89 inches. 

Courtesy and © the artist

March On!, 2019. Sugar-lift etching, drypoint, and lithograph. 17 × 21 ½ inches. Edition: 10. Printed and published by Flying Horse Editions, University of Central Florida, Orlando.

Courtesy the artist. © Flying Horse Editions. 

March On! is available. Inquire

Mark Thomas Gibson’s work is in dialogue with social and political themes. Rooted in drawing, his graphic style migrates between painting and printmaking. Gibson deploys the power of metaphor to create artwork that feels like a single frame but is part of a larger story. One such vignette is March On! It combines lithography, etching, and drypoint and connects a larger history of Black protest with the urgency of current ongoing protests. In Turn it Over Gibson employs the symbolism of an hourglass and an American flag to comment on our political moment, suggesting that the time to create real change is now. 

Dáreece J. Walker

Police Cross Lines 3: Tarika Wilson, 2015. Acrylic on vinyl. 36 × 24 inches.

Courtesy and © the artist.

This work is available. Inquire.

Dáreece J. Walker

Dad on DFuture of America, and Downtown Family Stroll from the series Black Fathers Matter II, 2019. Charcoal on inkjet prints mounted on cardboard. 48 × 36 inches each.

Courtesy and © the artist.

These works are available. Inquire.

Dáreece J. Walker's series Black Fathers Matter II celebrates the courage and strength of Black fathers, portraying fatherhood in the everyday life of Black and Brown American communities. The work is based on cellphones pictures of Black men interacting with their children in public spaces, printed and mounted on cardboard, then altered with collage and graphite. Walker chooses this cardboard support as a metaphor for the perception of Black bodies as disposable, as a statement against systemic racism and inequity, and as a reference to protest signs: the reclaimed material represents how Black Americans are undervalued and considered easily replaceable. With Black Fathers Matter II, Walker aims to reverse the stereotype of Black males from a threat to a role model.

Swoon

George, 2020. Lithograph, screenprint, gold leaf, colored silver leaf, metal leaf, hand painting, and collage on wood. 27 × 23 × 1 ½ inches. Edition: 18. Printed and published by Tandem Press, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Courtesy and © the artist and Tandem Press.

This work is available. Inquire.

Mildred Beltré

Coloredlines, 2019. Woodcut, silkscreen, graphite, and marker. 48 × 48 inches.

The Body and the Dream, 2019. Marker, graphite, ink, and collage. 38 × 50 inches. 

Dreaming in America (FTMC), 2019. Woodcut, marker, and cotton. 48 × 48 inches. 

Courtesy and © the artist.

These works are available. Inquire.

Mildred Beltré is interested in exploring social justice and identity, with a particular investment in how these play out in private and public spaces. Her work examines and engages envisioning social structures, language, and the body, with an eye towards liberation and greater equality and responsibility. Dreaming in America (FTMC), The Body and the Dream, and Coloredlines are together an abstract reflection on the “Dream” evoked by Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American Dream sought by immigrants upon arrival to this country. 

William Villalongo

Palimpsest, 2017. Screenprint and aquatint with laser cutting. 52 × 37 ½ inches. Edition: 25. Published by Graphicstudio, University of South Florida, Tampa.

 

Courtesy Villalongo Studio LLC and Susan Inglett Gallery, New York. © Villalongo Studio LLC.

William Villalongo explores themes of love, empathy, and renewal, often using references to traditional African masks and Renaissance linear perspective to orchestrate a conversation between history and art. Villalongo combines screenprint, aquatint, and laser cut on layers of screenprint ink and puff ink. He created the plates for this print by rubbing asphalt road, sidewalks, and manhole covers with crayon onto mylar. He wanted the print, says the artist, “to invert the ground to the wall. This becomes the background for two bodies floating through an image of hoodies.” Villalongo chose these rather banal garments to suggest the potential violence visited upon Black bodies wearing hoodies, and to reference the hoodie as a symbol of protest. He explains, "Palimpsest is about that record and the abstraction that develops around Black lives as a result of this cycle of violence, protest, and erasure. I want to suggest the body as an abstraction, one of resiliency and flux that rewrites itself as it moves through the world. One that embraces visibility and invisibility as a condition of being.” via Graphicstudio

 

Narsiso Martinez ​

Fallen Berries, 2020. Ink and gouache on found printed plastic. 48 × 40 inches.

With Care, 2020. Ink, gouache, charcoal, and matte gel on recycled printed produce cardboard. 35 × 38 inches.

 

Courtesy the artist and Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles. © The artist 

Fallen Berries is available. Inquire.

Narsiso Martinez's drawings and installations reflect immigrants' condition as underpaid workforces in agriculture and hospitality industries across the U.S. The subjects of Martinez's works are people performing labor and wearing protective gear, portrayed in a style referencing 1930s-era Social Realism. These figures are painted and drawn on recycled produce and other printed boxes collected from grocery stores, or found plastic tarp. With their features covered by masks, glasses, and hoodies, the subjects emphasize their condition of undocumented anonymity. They are romantic heroes, primary workers—but their camouflaged look plays into Americans' fear and concern about immigrants as a threat. Martinez's commentary comes from his own experience as a farmworker and addresses the hate-driven anti-immigrant policies of the current administration.

"ACT II: LOVE"

ASSEMBLY ROOM:

As we lean toward greater equality, artists remind us that love and action is the basis of justice. Our struggles require us to be radical in love: to be more loving and more inclusive than we can possibly know. Overthrowing systemic racism and inequality—structures built on greed, hatred, violence—demands a transformation in ourselves and society. We are on a daring quest to remake America.

 

"ACT III: HOPE"

ASSEMBLY ROOM:

History has shown that using our voices and our votes is a way to create change—but this process can also be overwhelming. This is especially true for those who are in marginalized communities, who feel the strain on their lives and resources increase exponentially in times of activism and struggle. Yet again, artists are paving the way by using their work to give us hope to persevere on our decades-long journey. 

 

Vanessa German

Venus in Butterflies, 2019. Mixed media collage on The New York Times Magazine. 25 × 16 × 3 inches.
Venus in Crown, 2019. Mixed media collage on The New York Times Magazine. 37 × 18 ½ × 7 inches.

Venus as an Astronaut, 2019. Mixed media collage on The New York Times Magazine. 15 ¾ × 16 × 2 ½ inches.

Courtesy the artist and Fort Gansevoort and Pavel Zoubok Fine Art, New York. © The artist.

These works are available. Inquire.

Vanessa German creates artwork as an act of love in response to the daily injustices and violence committed against the bodies and souls of Black and brown people. Here she pays homage to Venus Williams in vibrant collaged sculptures inspired by Vogue and New York Times Magazine covers of the legendary tennis champion. Envisioned as a magical astronaut, a regal queen, and adorned with butterflies and flowers, Williams is here honored as a symbol of beauty and power. German's “persistent reckoning with empowerment and adoration,” writes critic Alexandra M. Thomas, “offers a welcome counter in the face of racism and sexism.”

Yashua Klos

The Mechanics of Growing a Wild Flower, 2020. Woodblock print on muslin mounted onto unstretched canvas. 94 × 48 inches.

Courtesy and © the artist.

Yashua Klos’s monumental woodblock print on canvas is part of larger project that references Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry Murals (1932-1933) and maps how the artist’s family migrated, like many African Americans, from the South to Detroit to work for Ford Motor Company—where many of them are still employed today. Klos’s new work The Mechanics of Growing a Wild Flower, a special commission for this exhibition, offers the viewer a tender vignette of a beautiful woman caring for an abundantly flowering plant as accoutrements of industry lie scattered at her feet. It is an inspiring vision of growth and new beginnings even when conditions are dark and difficult.   

Africanus Okokon ​

Birthday Function, 2019. Found vinyl billboard, custom-printed vinyl signage, and acetate. 126 x 113 inches.

Today Be Today (The Mirror), 2020. Inkjet print on found collaged vinyl billboards. 52 x 52 inches.

 

Courtesy and © the artist 

These works are available. Inquire.

Africanus Okokon's practice is an investigation into how cultural, familial, ancestral, and personal memory is remembered, remediated, and forgotten. Birthday Function and Today Be Today (The Mirror) are two assemblage works concerned with loss, the assumed truth of photography, and the moral function of memory. In Birthday Function, Okokon takes imagery from original billboards found in Accra, Ghana, and blown-up frames from personal home movies and documentary films, arranging the fragments in close and overlapping proximity. Today Be Today (The Mirror) is created from discarded billboards onto which the artist printed images from a Ghana-based newspaper and a US-based company that specializes in health and wellness, pharmacies, and photo-developing. 

Dáreece J. Walker

Future of America II, 2019. Charcoal on inkjet print mounted on cardboard. 26 × 56 inches.

Courtesy and © the artist.

This work is available. Inquire.

Azikiwe Mohammed

New Davonhaime Food Bank Logo, 2020. Screenprint. 15 × 15 inches. Printed by Afternoon Editions. Edition: 8.

Dinnertime #6, 2016. Ink on paper. 9 × 15 inches.

Courtesy and © the artist 

New Davonhaime Food Bank Logo is available. Inquire.

With his New Davonhaime Food Bank project, Azikiwe Mohammed hopes to put food on as many tables as possible, because "all food to all the people is the only sustainable way forward." New Davonhaime was conceived of by Mohammed in 2015 as a space that offers a different look at the issues we are faced with in this American space. It takes its name from the five American cities with the highest population of Black residents—New Orleans, Louisiana; Detroit, Michigan; Jackson, Mississippi; Birmingham, Alabama; and Savannah, Georgia. All sales from His New Davonhaime Food Bank Logo print will be split between Brooklyn Shows Love, a mutual aid fund that feeds Brooklyn residents, and AFAN (Aid For Art Now), a mutual aid fund supporting arts workers. 
 

Mohammed says, "I hope to provide services that help Black / brown + marginalized peoples while making our given circumstances better, whatever better means. I hope to make objects and experiences that allow us to be seen in earnest while providing a space for dialogue. I am tired of being told what we look like or what we are allowed to look at. I hope for us to look everywhere. In some of the places we look I hope to make things that look back and when looked back upon, to say yes. To have the things I am responsible for say 'yes'. We hear 'no' enough."

"ACT IV: CARE"

ASSEMBLY ROOM:

As artists sense the needs of their communities, they are turning their practices into vehicles for promoting care and healing—extremely important priority as they fight the violence inflicted upon Black bodies and advocate for new futures built on community and empowerment.