Dec 8, 2022
Storefront for Art and Architecture, 97 Kenmare Street, New York, NY 10012
To celebrate the publication of Smokehouse Associates, the editor, Eric Booker, and contributing writers Charles L. Davis II, Ashley James, and James Trainor, will be in conversation at Storefront for Art and Architecture. While the first event in this programmatic series featured the Smokehouse artists in conversation, this second event will focus on the writers of the new publication and seek to contextualize Smokehouse within larger histories of public art, abstraction, and architecture. Each writer will discuss their contributions to the book, providing entry points into their individual artistic or academic practices in the process.
From 1968 to 1970, the Smokehouse Associates transformed Harlem with vibrant, community-oriented, abstract murals and sculptures. Established by William T. Williams with Melvin Edwards, Guy Ciarcia, and Billy Rose, Smokehouse grew to encompass a range of creative practitioners united around the revolutionary potential of public art. Though relatively unknown today, Smokehouse was ambitious in its scale, community engagement, and interaction with the built environment. Smokehouse Associates provides the first critical examination of the group’s work, expanding the narrative of public art and social practice in the United States to include the contributions of artists of African descent.
Purchase Smokehouse Associates from Studio Store here.
This program is free to attend, register below. Please note there is limited capacity.
Live ASL interpreters will be present.
To watch the first program, visit here.
Smokehouse Associates is published by The Studio Museum in Harlem and distributed by Yale University Press, New Haven and London.
Eric Booker is a curator and writer. His work makes space for artists and narratives that challenge dominant histories. Booker is former Assistant Curator and Exhibition Coordinator at The Studio
Eric Booker is a curator and writer. His work makes space for artists and narratives that challenge dominant histories. Booker is former Assistant Curator and Exhibition Coordinator at The Studio Museum in Harlem, where he worked on a range of exhibitions, performances, public art, and site-specific installations. His curatorial projects include Method Order Metric (2016) at The National Academy Museum; Jamel Shabazz: Crossing 125th (2017), Smokehouse 1968–1970 (2017), and Regarding the Figure (2017) at The Studio Museum in Harlem; Inside, Out Here at La MaMa Galleria (2018); and Autumn Knight: WALL at The Studio Museum in Harlem and Danspace Project (2019). Booker is currently Associate Curator at Storm King Art Center.
Charles L. Davis II PhD, is an associate professor of architectural history and criticism at the University of Texas at Austin. His academic research excavates the role of racial identity and race
Charles L. Davis II PhD, is an associate professor of architectural history and criticism at the University of Texas at Austin. His academic research excavates the role of racial identity and race thinking in architectural history and contemporary design culture. He is the author of Building Character: The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019) and co-editor of Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020). His current book project recovers the overlooked contributions of Black artists and architects in shaping the built environment from the Harlem Renaissance to Black Lives Matter.
Ashley James PhD, is Associate Curator, Contemporary Art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. She is the curator of Off the Record (2021) and co-curator of The Hugo Boss Prize 2020: Deana Lawson,
Ashley James PhD, is Associate Curator, Contemporary Art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. She is the curator of Off the Record (2021) and co-curator of The Hugo Boss Prize 2020: Deana Lawson, Centropy (2021). Previously, James served as Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she curated its presentation of Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power (2018–19) and Eric N. Mack: Lemme walk across the room (2019), and co-curated John Edmonds: A Sidelong Glance (2020–21). James also served as a Mellon Curatorial Fellow in Drawing and Prints at the Museum of Modern Art, where her work focused on the groundbreaking retrospectives of Adrian Piper (2018) and Charles White (2018–19). She has held positions at The Studio Museum in Harlem and at the Yale University Art Gallery, where she co-organized the exhibition Odd Volumes: Book Art from the Allan Chasanoff Collection (2015). James holds a BA from Columbia University and a PhD from Yale University in English literature and African American studies, with a certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies.
James Trainor is a writer, educator, and scholar of the history of contemporary culture, design, architecture, and urbanism. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Artforum, Art
James Trainor is a writer, educator, and scholar of the history of contemporary culture, design, architecture, and urbanism. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Artforum, Art in America, BOMB, Cabinet, Metropolis, and Frieze, where he was US editor and a senior staff writer. The author of multiple monographic essays and exhibition catalogues, Trainor has lectured at numerous institutions such as Columbia University, Cornell University, and University of Southern California. He is the recipient of an Arts Writers Grant from Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, a Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts grant, and two MacDowell Colony fellowships, among other awards. He is currently working on Steal This Playground: New York City and the Radical Play Movement, 1960–1978, forthcoming from Princeton Architectural Press in 2023.
Storefront for Art and Architecture amplifies ideas that contribute to the understanding of the built environment through artistic practice. Since its founding in 1982, Storefront has produced and presented work at the intersection of art and architecture through exhibitions, events, and other public programming that addresses diverse notions of place and public life.
Article by Eric Booker
Exhibition, April '17—August '17
The Smokehouse Associates publication was made possible thanks to funding from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and Terra Foundation for American Art. The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Learning and Engagement programs are supported by the Thompson Foundation Education Fund; Van Cleef & Arpels; William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust; Con Edison; May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation; Sony Music Group; and Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts. Additional support provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts.