EXHIBITION HISTORY WITH THE STUDIO MUSEUM
Regarding the Figure, April - July 2017
Black: Color, Material, Concept, November 2015 - March 2016
Draped Down, March - June 2014
Primary Sources: Artists in Residence 2011-12, June - October 2012
Studio Museum Artist in Residence, 2011 - 2012
Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize recipient, 2015
Amongst the most exciting and critically acclaimed artists of her generation, Njideka Akyunyili Crosby’s captivating paintings seamlessly straddle racial, geographic, and socio-political concerns in an extraordinary embodiment of the increasingly transnational nature of the contemporary art world. Describing the extraordinarily multi-cultural fluency of the artist’s oeuvre, Studio Museum Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden notes that Crosby “truly represents the global nature of the Studio Museum’s mission and reach.” (Golden cited in Randy Kennedy, “Njideka Akunyili Crosby Wins Wein Prize,” The New York Times, October 29, 2015, p. C3) In the last several years, Crosby’s intricate depictions of domestic scenes, created from meticulously selected fragments of personal photographs, Nigerian lifestyle magazines, and the Internet, have become some of the most highly-sought after works by private and public collections alike. Paying homage to the history of Western painting while maintaining the socio-cultural visual vernacular of her native Nigeria, these emotionally nuanced paintings articulate the joys and challenges of a transcultural perspective; describing the impetus behind her practice, Crosby reflects, “It really is about what it means to be someone who has existed between multiple worlds and carries all those influences with them at once...I’m trying to use my work, and my life story, to explore this idea of a liminal space, or a third space, where multiple things come together to yield a new thing.” (The artist cited in “Njideka Akunyli Crosby: The Painter in her MacArthur Moment,” Los Angeles Times, November 2, 2017, n.p.) Sixteen years old when she first left her home city of Enugu, Nigeria for the United States, Crosby went on to earn her bachelor’s and master degree from Swarthmore College and Yale University, respectively; in 2011, following her graduation from Yale, the artist was selected for The Studio Museum in Harlem’s highly competitive Artist-in-Residence program. A vocal advocate for the artist, Golden praises Crosby’s ability to “reimagine painting as a space to explore identity, culture, and history.” She continues, “She has done so in ways that are really broad in their set of painterly references, but deep in the way she’s mining her own very interesting story.” (Golden cited in “Nigerian Artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby is Painting the Afropolitan Story in America,” W Magazine, August 15, 2017, n.p.) Honored as the 2015 winner of the Studio Museum’s Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, an award which recognizes emerging African-American artists creating work of exceptional innovation and promise, Crosby was recently selected for the coveted MacArthur Fellowship, or so-called “genius” grant, in November 2017. Further testifying to the clamorous acclaim for the artist, a selection of Crosby’s bold yet intimate paintings have been recently acquired by such esteemed international institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the Tate Museum in London, amongst numerous other prestigious collections. Luring the viewer into the artist’s own, deeply personal universe, Crosby’s extraordinary paintings indisputably number amongst the most visually, conceptually, and technically significant works being made today.
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