FOCUS: AFRICAN PERSPECTIVES
Curated by Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba
New York – The Armory Show is taking an ambitious step to highlight a vast and artistically rich region with Focus: African Perspectives – Spotlighting Artistic Practices of Global Contemporaries. Moving beyond conventional ideas of the African continent and its “counterpart”, “the Western hemisphere,” this year’s Focus will provide a glimpse of international artistic production from contemporary African viewpoints: emerging curators, artists, galleries and art spaces that connect scenes and markets through global networks. From Lagos to London to Luanda – and presented together for the first time in one location – this year’s Focus will examine the artistic developments and manifold narratives arising from African and African Diasporic artists, emphasizing geographic fluidity and global connections.
Armory Focus is an invitational section on Pier 94 that spotlights the artistic landscape of a different region each year, bringing together influential galleries, artists and art professionals to present unique geographic and cultural perspectives via gallery presentations, special projects, a dedicated symposium and the annual Armory Artist Commission. Focus: African Perspectives will consist of around 15 galleries and several not-for-profits invited by the curators and The Armory Show, presenting a global list of galleries and institutions that embrace and promote art from Africa and the Diaspora. The Armory Show will take place March 3-6, 2016 on Piers 92 & 94 in New York City.
The 2016 Armory Focus is curated by Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba, founders of Contemporary And (C&), an online platform for international art from African perspectives. “We are very honored that a prestigious institution such as The Armory Show has commissioned us as the curators for Focus 2016”, says Grosse. “We feel that by approaching us in particular, The Armory Show shows a deep sensitivity and understanding toward the complexities of contemporary artistic productions from Africa and the Diaspora.” “We are excited and proud to be given the possibility of providing a further platform for positions of global contemporaries from African perspectives,” adds Mutumba.
Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba founded Contemporary And in 2013 to provide established and emerging artists, curators, art critics and other cultural producers from Africa and the Diaspora the opportunity to reach an international audience and expand their networks. In addition to serving as editor-in-chief of Contemporary And, Grosse’s writings have appeared in Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, AD Magazine, SZ-Magazin, and Die Tageszeitung. Mutumba is research curator for Africa at the Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt am Main; her most recent exhibition, A Labour of Love (with Gabi Ngcobo) will open December 2, 2015. Grosse and Mutumba are the first women to curate an edition of Armory Focus.
Galleries participating in Focus: African Perspectives include: Addis Fine Art (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia); Art Twenty One (Lagos, Nigeria); blank (Cape Town, South Africa); Circle Art Gallery (Nairobi, Kenya); Galerie Cécile Fakhoury (Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire); Mariane Ibrahim Gallery (Seattle, Washington); October Gallery (London, United Kingdom); Omenka Gallery (Lagos, Nigeria); Galerie Jérôme Poggi (Paris, France); SMAC Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa); Tiwani Contemporary (London, United Kingdom); Vigo (London, United Kingdom); Galerie Tanja Wagner (Berlin, Germany); and WHATIFTHEWORLD (Cape Town, South Africa). Additionally, notable South African galleries Goodman Gallery (Cape Town, Johannesburg), Gallery MOMO (Cape Town, Johannesburg) and Stevenson (Cape Town, Johannesburg) will be participating in the main section of Pier 94 – Contemporary, with Stevenson and Goodman Gallery contributing to Focus with specially- commissioned artist projects. Stevenson and Goodman Gallery are returning after four years of absence, with Gallery MOMO participating for the first time.
Focus artists will include: Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze; Ibrahim El-Salahi; Francois-Xavier Gbré; Cyrus Kabiru; Kapwani Kiwanga; Namsa Leuba; Turiya Magadlela; Ato Malinda; Nengi Omuku; and Francisco Vidal.
About The Armory Show
Established in 1994 and held annually on Piers 92 & 94, The Armory Show is New York’s premier international art fair. Offering ambitious programming, curatorial initiatives and specially commissioned projects, The Armory Show combines access to high quality modern and contemporary art with a commitment to spotlighting new and emerging voices in the visual arts. Now in its 22nd year, The Armory Show remains a highly-anticipated event on the global arts calendar, connecting the world’s leading galleries with international collectors, curators and art professionals in the capital of the art world.
About Armory Focus
Since its establishment in 2010, Armory Focus has grown into a vital component of The Armory Show, providing galleries from regions across the world with the opportunity to exhibit in New York. Previous editions of The Armory Show’s Focus section include: Focus: Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean (2015), curated by Omar Kholeif; Focus: China (2014), curated by Philip Tinari; Focus: USA (2013), curated by Eric Shiner; Focus: Nordic Countries (2012), curated by Jacob Fabricius; Focus: Latin America (2011) and Focus: Berlin (2010).
About the Curators
Julia Grosse, born 1976 in Mainz, Germany, studied Art History, German Literature and Media at Ruhr University Bochum before becoming a journalist. She has worked as an arts correspondent in London for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (F.A.S), AD Magazine, SZ-Magazin, and Die Tageszeitung. Grosse is a founding member of Weltreporter.net, Germany’s first network for German global working correspondents. In 2010 she published Don’t Get Me Wrong!, a much-acclaimed book about the many layers of global misunderstanding through hand gestures. She has lived with her family in Berlin since 2013.
Yvette Mutumba, born 1981 in Cologne, Germany, studied Art History and History at the Freie Universität in Berlin and holds a PhD from Birkbeck, University of London. As a research curator for Africa at the Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt am Main since March 2012, Mutumba has co-curated the exhibitions Foreign Exchange – or the stories you wouldn’t tell a stranger (with Clémentine Deliss), El Hadji Sy: Paintings, Performance, Politics (with Clémentine Deliss, El Hadji Sy and Philippe Pirotte) and A Labour of Love (with Gabi Ngcobo) opening December 2, 2015. She is the co-editor of comprehensive publications accompanying these three major shows and has curated and advised further projects and published numerous texts concerning visual arts from African perspectives. Mutumba currently lives in Frankfurt.
About Contemporary And (C&)
Contemporary And (C&) is an online art magazine and a dynamic space where issues and information on international art from African perspectives are reflected and connected. C& has been online since 2013 and has attracted great international attention during this period. The project was founded by C&’s editor-in-chief Julia Grosse, Yvette Mutumba and Elke aus dem Moore from the German “Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen” – ifa (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations). The advisory board expands the platform’s range and includes architect David Adjaye; Studio Museum director Thelma Golden and Bisi Silva, Director of CCA Lagos. http://www.contemporaryand.com
Featured image: Athi-Patra Ruga, The Night of the Long Knives I, 2013. Archival ink-jet print on Photorag Baryta, 190 x 150 cm. Courtesy: the artist and WHATIFTHEWORLD.
The Armory Show 2016
March 3-6, 2016
Piers 92 & 94
12th Avenue at 55th Street New York City
The Armory Show
Audrey Rose Smith, The Armory Show
+1 646 616 7433
Gina Nanni, Company Agenda
+1 212 358 9516
Sophie Wise, Company Agenda
+1 212 358 9516
Claire Walsh, Brunswick Arts
+44 (0)20 7936 1290