Current

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August 7, 2019 to February 9, 2020

A quiet man who supported himself doing odd jobs such as street vendor, jewelry designer, photography printer, and cab driver, Bronx native Alvin Baltrop left an important body of work after his untimely death in 2004 that only now is garnering the serious attention it deserves. Like the startling images of Peter Moore, Robert Mapplethorpe, Peter Hujar, and Gordon Matta-Clark, the photographs of Alvin Baltrop memorialize New York City at a breaking-point moment amid ruin and chaos.

 

 

Upcoming

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September 25, 2019 to March 8, 2020

Widely regarded as one of the most significant documentarians of street art, Henry Chalfant has produced a voluminous body documenting the emergence of the trend since its early days in the Bronx, following its transformation into the international phenomenon it is today. Chalfant’s photographs are a work of visual anthropology and one of the seminal documents of American popular culture in the late twentieth century. 

Past

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July 19, 2012 - June 2, 2013

Does style define man? For centuries, style has been the focus of debate whether concerning writing, behavior or fashion. Around the late 1970s, the term “wild style” began to circulate among graffiti artists in the South Bronx to denote the kind of graphics involving complex, interlocking letters with aerodynamic forms. Coined by the legendary Tracy 168, the expression became associated with the rise of graffiti art in New York City, specifically in the Bronx, in the 1970s and that ultimately became a global movement. Started as an underground movement, the “wild style” is now part of the mainstream, studied as an art form and exhibited in museums all over the world. Bronx Lab—Style Wars features a number of works that reflect on that era to pose the question of what is today’s style.


Artists include Afrika Bambaataa, Henry Chalfant, Lady K Fever, Keith Haring, Dr. Lakra, Valerie Larko, Glendalys Medina, Johnny Perez, Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Rigoberto Torres, Tats Cru

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February 12, 2012 – June 11, 2012

The MIT List Visual Arts Center in collaboration with The Bronx Museum of the Arts presents the first United States museum survey of the work of Chilean-born video artist Juan Downey (1940–1993). Juan Downey: The Invisible Architect features a selection of key works by this under-recognized pioneer of video art. A fellow at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual studies in 1973 and 1975, Downey played a significant role in the New York art scene of the 1970s and 1980s.

Ranging thematically over several decades of the artist’s work, the exhibition includes early experiments with art and technology that mark a shift from object-based artistic practice to an experiential approach seeking to combine interactive performance with sculpture and video.  Along with this foundational early work, the exhibition also features Downey’s video installations of the 1970s and 1980s. These combine an autobiographical approach with the style of anthropological documentary—one of his most important contributions to the medium. In Downey’s later work, the intellectual and historical myths of European culture, as well as the roots of Latin American identity, are explored in complex video work that utilizes associative visual metaphors, collage-like techniques, and non-linear narrative.

In his two major series of works, Video Trans Americas and The Thinking Eye, Downey subjects the canonical and historical narratives of Western art to rich technical, visual, and intertextual analysis. In Video Trans Americas, begun in 1971, Downey anticipates much of the current interest in urbanism, post-colonial theory, and locality in contemporary artistic practice by mixing anthropology with autobiography. The Thinking Eye, a series made for public television, subjects the foundational concepts of Western culture—including the idea of the self—to linguistic, psychoanalytic, art historical, and semiotic interpretation, all through Downey’s mastery of video technology.

 

Presented in collaboration with The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Juan Downey: The Invisible Architect is organized by Valerie Smith, Curator at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. The exhibition will travel to the Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ (September 24–December 31, 2011) and the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York (February 12–May 20, 2012).


All images: Juan Downey Estate, Courtesy of Marilys B. Downey

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2011 to 2013

smARTpowers, an initiative of the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, administered by The Bronx Museum of the Arts, sends 15 U.S. artists abroad to work with local artists and young people around the world to create community-based art projects. Selected artists design and implement programs within a 45 day period in cooperation with local arts organizations in China, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, India, Kosovo, Lebanon, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Venezuela.

 

smARTpower artists are strongly encouraged to create a tangible legacy of the work, to remain in country, through a variety of visual arts media, including painting, sculpture, drawing, video, installation, photo-based work, public art, and interdisciplinary projects. Projects emphasize participatory work and address a full range of relevant subjects including, but not limited to, women's empowerment, the environment, health, education, and civic engagement.