Upcoming Exhibitions

Bisa Butler: Portraits
March 15 – June 14, 2020
 


Bisa Butler: Portraits
 will be the first solo museum exhibition of the artist’s work and will feature approximately 25 of her vivid and larger-than-life quilts that capture African American identity and culture. The show will be on view at the Katonah Museum of Art (KMA) from March 15 to June 14, 2020 and travel to the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) from September 5, 2020 to January 24, 2021.  A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the show.  The exhibition is being organized by Associate Curator, Michele Wije at the KMA and by Assistant Curator, Erica Warren at the AIC and will feature approximately 25-30 of Bisa Butler’s most important works to date.  

Butler, a formally trained African American artist of Ghanaian heritage, broaches the dividing line between creating with paints on canvas and creating with fiber by fashioning magnificent quilts and elevating a medium hitherto designated as craft into one that is clearly high art.   While quilts have historically been isolated in the history of art as the products of working women, Butler’s work not only acknowledges this tradition, but also reinvents it.   Continuing with an aesthetic set in motion by artists such as Romare Bearden and Faith Ringgold, Butler forges an individual and expressive signature style that draws upon her own cultural background and experiences.   

Her emergence as a quilt artist began humbly when, as a result of a fiber arts class taken at Howard University, she constructed a quilt for her dying grandmother mainly as a means of comfort.   As a child Butler had often spent time poring over black and white photographs with her grandmother, who told her stories about the people in each one.   This experience of creating narrative and identity informs her quilts. The vibrant portraits of African American life and the tales the quilts tell are largely based on photographs from which Butler takes inspiration.  She creates a story around each image, and, in her choice of fabrics, she uses texture, color and the cultural origin of the cloth as part of a personal iconography that makes statements about society and identity.  African painted cotton and mud cloth tells the story of her ancestral homeland, vintage lace and aged satin might demonstrate the delicacy and refinement of times past while multi-colored organza and layered netting can convey a story of someone colorful and multifaceted.  The constructed nature of the work with its reliance on piecing and stitching acknowledges the traditions of needlework normally associated with women and domesticity.  Butler subverts this notion through her choice of motifs, embellishments, patterning and scale, all drawn from African textiles.  What results are stunning works that transform family memories and cultural practices into works of social statement.


Photo courtesy Alex Barber
The Princess, 2018, Cotton, chiffon, lace and satin, 70 x 46 in. (177.8 x 116.8 cm), Collection of Bob and Jane Clark


 

Cladogram: KMA International Juried Biennial
June 28 – October 4, 2020

 

Yasmeen Siddiqui, photo by Daisy Patton

The Katonah Museum of Art invites submissions for Cladogram: KMA International Juried Biennial, June 28 to October 4, 2020, juried by Yasmeen Siddiqui. The KMA presents exhibitions that explore ideas about art, culture, and society – past and present – through innovative exhibition and education programs. Cladogram: KMA International Juried Biennial presents an opportunity for works from artists based locally, regionally, and globally to be brought together to explore their relationships with history and with each other. In the process of organizing this exhibition, the KMA hopes to build networks of artists around the world.

For the 2020 juried exhibition, the KMA invites submissions from visual artists, sound artists, book artists, craft-based artists, poets and authors interested in the idea and form of the archive. The goal is to present a broad range of contemporary work that addresses the ways historical objects and ideas are organized and categorized. This call for submission asks:

  • What can be achieved or expressed when historical materials (documents and objects) ground contemporary art practice?
  • How can historical objects be used to upend preconceived ideas about the history of art, regardless of which part of the world it originates?


About Yasmeen Siddiqui

Yasmeen Siddiqui is the founding director of Minerva Projects, whose objective is to support interdisciplinary artists who have expressed the desire to analyze their practice, and where curatorial ideas are tested in service to publishing books. In tandem with this work, Siddiqui writes and edits, having her work published in Hyperallergic, ART PAPERS, Cairo Times, Medina Magazine, Flash Art, Modern Painters, NKA and The Brooklyn Rail. Current projects include a book length manuscript on the subject of home and a series of essays considering authoritarianism through the works of artists and authors. She is also co-editing the anthology The Storytellers of Art Histories (Intellect Books, 2021). Siddiqui is a core faculty member at the School of Visual Art at Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York and the Master of Arts in Critical Craft Studies at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina.


IMPORTANT DATES

  • April 3: Deadline for submission of artworks.
  • May 1: Notification of accepted artists by email and web posting.
  • June 19-20, 9 am to 5 pm: Deadline for receipt of all artwork.
  • June 27: 1st Look Preview Opening
  • June 28: Members and Public Openings
  • October 4: Exhibition closes
  • October 5, 8 AM –  8 PM: Artists, or their shippers, pick up artwork.
    (Artwork not picked up will incur a $50 per day storage fee).

FEES AND SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

To submit work, follow this link to the CaFÉ submission platform. To download a PDF of the prospectus click here.