The latest edition of the Bronx Museum’s Artists in the Marketplace (AIM) Biennial is part of a year-long celebration of the Museum’s 50th anniversary and legacy as an institution devoted to social justice. The AIM Fellowship, the museum’s artist development program, has supported more than 1,200 artists since it launched in 1980, including LaToya Ruby Frazier, Diana Al-Hadid, Firelei Báez, Njideka Akunili Crosby and Glenn Ligon.
Bronx Calling, the fifth edition of the biennial showcasing AIM fellows, was co-curated by Ian Cofre of PS122 Gallery in Manhattan and Eva Mayhabal Davis of Transmitter in Brooklen and features works by 68 artists who took part in the fellowship in 2018 and 2019. Projects on view examine the relationship between individual and communal needs, and question the intimacy of the creative process as a human experience, especially in light of the isolation and resourcefulness wrought by Covid-19.
Highlights from the exhibition include an array of sculptures by Nigerian artist Victoria-Idongesit Udondian made from repurposed materials and molds of immigrants’ hands, which convey the various forms of impediment that neocolonialism has placed on Black and brown lives. Also featured are large-scale paintings by Jesse Kreuzer that explore the complex nature of current issues in American politics, including an immense eight-panel, 30ft-long painting of a hectic protest scene.
Meanwhile, Maggie Hazen’s works shed light on the identities of imprisoned girls at the Columbia Secure Center for Girls, a maximum-security facility in New York’s Hudson Valley. Also on view, Poyen Wang’s project The Black Sun (2020) features elegiac, computer-rendered scenes of mourning that meld inner and external worlds, and balance the ordinary with the mystical.
“These works represent raw expressions of the vulnerability, solitude and self-reflection precipitated by the unprecedented conditions of our time,” Davis said in a statement. “The artist's studio is now at home, in the kitchen or wherever there is available space.”
Fostering the careers of emerging artists is central to the Bronx Museum’s mission, and throughout Covid-19 artists have had to adapt their ways of working. The artist in Bronx Calling offer models for how, as we resurface from the pandemic, creative dialogues between individuals and communities can evolve.
- Bronx Calling: The Fifth AIM Biennial, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, until 20 March 2022