AMM Spotlight: The Studio Museum in Harlem Artist-in-Residence

“In my experience being an artist in resident at the studio museum has been amazing thus far. There is something really special about being a part of this tremendous legacy and the immediate access or the kind of intimacy that creates.” Sable Elyse Smith

A group of artists, activists, and philanthropists established the Studio Museum in 1968 and from the beginning its residency program was a central part of its mission. Over the past half century, it has consistently identified and supported some of the most critically recognized artists working today—from David Hammons and Kerry James Marshall, to Julie Mehretu, Mickalene Thomas, and more recently Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Kevin Beasley, and Jordan Casteel.

Since 1968, The Studio Museum in Harlem has earned recognition for its catalytic role in advancing the work of visual artists of African and Latino descent through its Artist-in-Residence program. The program has supported over one hundred graduates who have gone on to highly regarded careers. 

“Our Artist-in-Residence program has been at the heart of this institution’s mission since our founding in 1968. It is the embodiment of our commitment to supporting emerging artists of African descent, and is at the center of our work to bring artists together with the Harlem community,” Director and Chief Curator, Thelma Golden

THREE WOMEN ARTISTS are in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem during its 50th anniversary year. Allison Janae Hamilton, Tschabalala Self, and Sable Elyse Smith are its 2018 artists in residence.

Allison Janae Hamilton (b. 1984, Lexington, Kentucky) is an interdisciplinary artist working in sculpture, installation, photography, video, and taxidermy. Using plant matter, layered imagery, sounds, and animal remains, Hamilton creates immersive spaces that consider the role of the American landscape in concepts of “Americana” and social constructions of space, particularly within the rural South. Hamilton was a 2013–14 fellow in the Whitney Independent Study Program and a finalist in the National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin 2016 portrait competition. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from New York University and her MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University. She lives and works in New York.

Tschabalala Self (b. 1990, Harlem) makes syncretic use of painting, printmaking, and assemblage to explore ideas surrounding the black female body. Constructed with a combination of sewn, printed, and painted materials, Self’s exaggerated depictions of bodies traverse a variety of artistic and craft traditions. The physiological and psychological characteristics of her figures also reflect Self’s personal desire to articulate cultural attitudes and realities as they relate to race and gender. She received her BA from Bard College and her MFA from Yale University. A 2017 recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant, Self lives and works in New York and New Haven, Conn.

 Sable Elyse Smith (b. 1986, Los Angeles) is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and educator whose practice considers memory and trauma, working from the archive of her own body to mark the difference between witnessing and watching. Her work has been seen through Artist Television Access in San Francisco and at Birkbeck Cinema in collaboration with the Serpentine Galleries. A published writer, she is working on her first book and is currently a visiting artist in at Virginia Commonwealth University. Smith has B.A. in studio art and film from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, and earned her MFA in Design & Technology from Parsons the New School for Design. She lives and works in Richmond, Va., where she is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture & Extended Media, University of Richmond Department of Art & Art History.