September 17, 2020
This fall, the Brooklyn Museum will host Art on the Stoop: Sunset Screenings, an outdoor exhibition of video art from the collection, along with key loans, on its public plaza every Wednesday through Sunday evening. Launched in early September, the exhibition continues through November 8 and will feature major works by contemporary artists, including Arthur Jafa, Marilyn Minter, Wangechi Mutu, and Tourmaline, among others. Spanning a range of artistic styles, the videos included in Art on the Stoop: Sunset Screenings explore themes of power and uncertainty, distance and loss, and the role history plays in our present times.
Art on the Stoop welcomes back Museum visitors following nearly six months of closure due to COVID-19. The approximately two-hour-long screenings will take place starting at 6 pm each evening, with videos playing twice on Fridays and Saturdays. The videos will be presented on a 30-foot screen atop the Museum’s tiered seating that overlooks the plaza, inviting neighbors in Crown Heights and passersby on Eastern Parkway to watch a full screening or stop by for a short viewing.
Art on the Stoop uses the plaza as a bridge to the Museum’s collection, highlighting several video works that have been commissioned by the Museum in recent years. They include Tourmaline’s Salacia (2019), which explores the insurgent power of the historic life of Mary Jones, a Black transgender woman who lived in New York City during the early nineteenth century; Rashaad Newsome’s KNOT (2014), which signifies the cultural ascendance of ballroom culture and heralds the legacy and longevity of vogue dancing’s Black, Latinx, queer, and trans originators; and Marilyn Minter’s Smash (2014), evoking the power of feminism in shattering proverbial glass ceilings.
The exhibition is divided into two programs. From September 9 to October 11, the screenings feature works from the collection, including videos by Liz Johnson Artur, Arthur Jafa, Steffani Jemison, Ahmed Mater, Marilyn Minter, Wangechi Mutu, Rashaad Newsome, Ebony G. Patterson, Sable Elyse Smith, Tourmaline, Nari Ward with Zachary Fabri, and Sasha Wortzel. From October 14 to November 8, the screenings feature the work of Adama Delphine Fawundu, Jeffrey Gibson, Susan Janow, Lorraine O’Grady, and Howardena Pindell, as well as an excerpt from Question Bridge: Black Males (2011), by Hank Willis Thomas and Chris Johnson with Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair. They also include a special program of videos by Sara Cwynar, Steph Foster, Ja’Tovia Gary, Glenn Ligon, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, and Ka-Man Tse, organized by UOVO Prize–winning artist John Edmonds in conjunction with his solo exhibition at the Museum, which opens October 23, 2020.
Art on the Stoop will also feature COVID-19 public service announcement–style videos by Carrie Mae Weems, as well as an installation by Weems wrapped around the plaza seats leading up to the video screen. The installation and announcements bring awareness to the greater impact of the pandemic on Black, brown, and Indigenous communities, as a result of economic and social inequities. Weems uses the visual language of advertising, combining photographs, text, and bold graphics, to promote measures known to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The installation also thanks the dedicated frontline workers who continue to help New Yorkers through the pandemic, and encourages people to vote in upcoming elections.
Throughout the summer of 2020, the Brooklyn Museum’s plaza has been the backdrop or launching point for several marches and rallies for Black Lives Matter. The Museum gratefully acknowledges the work of organizers and activists to transform society by making it more just and equitable, including through their activations of public spaces for idea-sharing and community-building, in Brooklyn and beyond.
Every exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum is a collaboration. Many thanks to our team members who participated in a series of cross-departmental discussions that directly shaped the development and production of Art on the Stoop: Sunset Screenings.