September 10th – October 11th, 2020
“It is not a dead society that we want to revive. We leave that to those who go in for exoticism.”
-Aimé Césaire, Discourse on Colonialism
Founded by artist Onyedika Chuke, Storage is a new project space on The Bowery. It is rooted in history, its decolonization, and a dedication to the renegotiation of societal norms. For its inaugural exhibition titled Storage, we are taking the concept of ‘storing’ directly from the archival definition of history and the collective backdrop that gives it a shape. Featuring the works of Leslie Hewitt, Emory Douglas, Jazmine Hayes, William Cordova, Leslie Hewitt, Alicia Grullon, Austin White, Emmanuel Louisnord Desir, Rena Anakwe, Daniella Portillo, Sam Chun, Yanira Collado, and Rick Lowe; the group presentation encourages the viewer to examine history by the interpretations of archival and material culture that defy stereotypes and expand the ways of describing our collective experiences and understanding.
Austin White, for instance, takes on the archival lineage of ethnography and gives shape to the inequality of black people through the materiality of his paintings. Emory Douglas, on the other hand, articulates Black Power ideologies through graphic and archival iconography of resistance and revolution. Leslie Hewitt, conversely, revisits the archival porosity of the still life genre and weighs its intimate and sociopolitical nature against the physical hybridity between photography and sculpture. Emmanuel Louisnord Desir, on the other side, mediates the spiritual and bodily tensions of readymade interventions ideated from archival conditions of captivity and carceral logic. Yanira Collado, takes archival restorations from construction materials as reflections of the labor and time fragmentation. Alternatively, Jazmine Hayes takes the archival expression of the imaginary of the cultural & intimate contributions of Black Women, often demonized in America and abroad, through video documentation and remix. At the same time, William Cordova synthesizes archival imagery of architecture and geometric principles to disrupt and activate his ideas of displacement and transition. And Alicia Grullon appropriates the archival reenactment of portraiture by injecting herself in history while re-contextualizing her identity with her involvement in social movements.
2020 has been a year of spillage, where morality and life leak through and off the nation’s social fabric at a staggering rate. Health has brought death by the way of a virus, and racial tensions have brought more destruction of bodies by way of the law without any accountability to retain them. We are taking the opportunity to dedicate a space where human expressions are allowed to be examined and talked about. From the decentralized structure of this experimental platform of anthropological quality, we commit to assist and serve the artists free from the manipulation or exoticization which is placed upon black bodies and minorities. In service to this mission, we will be launching a mentorship program called the Application Readiness and Techniques or A.R.T program, a biannual program implementing arts-based instruction with transferable skills and career development opportunities to the youth of Black and Brown descent in and around New York.
When artists make work, they are responding to that which is stored by history. This way, whereas by video, painting, photography, or sculpture, artists either reference or point towards that which is in action and eventually stored through history. Through art, we hope to create a symbolic language able to question what is and what should be remembered, which in turn, offers another system to engage with identity, politics, and history.