"The ability to form and create one's own destiny through honest introspection and physical exploration of the material world through the creative process is at the heart of the Black experience."
- Yusuf Lateef
Curator: Yusuf Lateef
Think of a word that connects each of your pieces together.
How do you feel connected to these images, to the artist?
Howardena Pindell's work as an artist who has worked within an Art Museum, saw first hand the blatant practice of excluding Black artists from the canons of art history. The photo etchings presented here specifically speak to the ability of art to speak on multiple levels. The book of photo etchings is sparse and to the point. As an object it is very unassuming. The content is what matters in that she lists the NY galleries at that time who would only exhibit white artists. She then donated the profits of the sale of the book to victims of racially motivated crimes. Mrs. Pindell’s work speaks to us on a conceptual level. It is art as an object ( book ) and also art as provocation. The etchings are like seeds that germinate in the reader. Here I am inside this museum where I find this book and when I open it, I find information that informs how I may interpret things within society, outside of this space.
2002.40 (Therman Statom)
Therman Statom (American, born 1953), Hydra, 1996-2002, Installation: plate and blown glass, aluminum, paint, found objects, and pigment applications, H. 10 ft 6 in.; W. 14 ft 9 in.; L. 31 ft 3 in., Toledo Museum of Art (Toledo, Ohio), Purchased with funds from the 2001 Centennial Ball and with funds from the Centennial Society, 2002.40. © Therman Statom 1996–2002
“I believe art can be understood both conceptually and intuitively. I think there is a need for the general public to come to an understanding that to appreciate art and creativity they must trust his or her self; that extensive education is not a prerequisite for understanding art. Much of what I do is seeded in what is more of an intuitive process; a large portion of my work is exploring these processes within people and their environments.” – Therman Statom
I really appreciate the fact that Mr. Statom is placing emphasis on the intuitive process. My work, I feel, generates from a gut feeling. I understand artistic principles of composition and design, but how do I make choices and put the principles to work? In this quote, he is also stating that he is interested in the intuitive ways people interact with their environments. Now, if we look at the work Hydra, we can see that it is very unique. It is the only work in the Toledo Museum of Art’s main building that can be seen from the inside and the outside. The work can be experienced from either side. The museum can be closed and you can still enjoy this piece of art. He goes further by placing paintings of other objects that can be found in the collection and embeds them in the glass. In many ways, this work is a metaphor for the purpose of museums in relation to the community. The fragile, vulnerable nature of glass also allows for a level of accessibility and transparency that needs to be central to the mission of our cultural institutions.
How do you feel your choices connect to Juneteenth?
If we are recognizing Juneteenth as a marker in time on our quest for our awareness of our inherent freedom, I believe these works speak to the nature of that freedom. The ability to form and create one's own destiny through honest introspection and physical exploration of the material world through the creative process is at the heart of the Black experience.
Yusuf Dubois Abdul Lateef is a visual artist and educator residing in Toledo, Ohio. As co-founder of the Toledo Black Artist Coalition, his primary vocation is that of a painter but he also uses installation and performance art. Co-founder of Radiant City Arts, Lateef uses his love of the creative process to find ways to engage youth and the public at large. With a master's degree from Bowling Green State University in 2D Studies and social engagement as art practice, Lateef aspires to use art making as a vehicle for self-reflection, growth, and outward change in his community. He has completed over 20 murals and has participated in several collaborative projects in communities in Ohio, Michigan, Charlottesville, Virginia, Puebla, Mexico, and Bilbao and Toledo, Spain. Lateef is currently teaching at The Toledo School for the Arts and expanding his individual practice through curating and arts programming.
Born in Philadelphia in 1943, Pindell studied painting at Boston University and Yale. In 1967, she became one of the first Black women to join the curatorial staff of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. During the 12 years she worked at the museum, she continued making art, developing an abstract methodology based on grids of punched-out circles through which she applied acrylic paint to build up shimmering surfaces of color on a shifting grid. Pindell stepped down from MoMA in 1979, shortly after protesting the use of racist language in an exhibition at New York’s Artists Space. The same year, she suffered a near-fatal car accident: the experience cemented her sense that it was urgent to use her voice to make work and speak out. From https://news.artnet.com/exhibitions/howardena-pindell-1566139
Therman Statom (born 1953)—sculptor, glass artist, and painter--is most notably known as a pioneer of the contemporary glass movement for his life-size glass ladders, chairs, tables, constructed box-like paintings, and small scale houses; all created through the technique of gluing glass plate together. Sandblasted surfaces become a canvas for spontaneous vibrant colors and line work, which take nuances from Abstract Expressionism and concepts of Minimalism, while simultaneously incorporating a twist by using blown-glass elements and found objects. From www.thermanstatom.com