The Armory Show is taking an ambitious step to highlight a vast and artistically rich region with Focus: African Perspectives – Spotlighting Artistic Practices of Global Contemporaries. Moving beyond conventional ideas of the African continent and its “counterpart,” “the Western hemisphere,” this year’s Focus will provide a glimpse of international artistic production from contemporary African viewpoints: emerging curators, artists, galleries and art spaces that connect scenes and markets through global networks. From Lagos to London to Luanda – and presented together for the first time in one location – this year’s Focus will examine the artistic developments and manifold narratives arising from African and African Diasporic artists, emphasizing geographic fluidity and global connections.
The 2016 Armory Focus will be curated by Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba, founders of Contemporary And (C&), an online platform for international art from African perspectives. “We are very honored that a prestigious institution such as The Armory Show has commissioned us as the curators for Focus 2016,” says Grosse. “We feel that by approaching us in particular, The Armory Show shows a deep sensitivity and understanding toward the complexities of contemporary artistic productions from Africa and the Diaspora.” “We are excited and proud to be given the possibility of providing a further platform for positions of global contemporaries from African perspectives,” adds Mutumba.
Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba founded Contemporary And in 2013 to provide established and emerging artists, curators, art critics and other cultural producers from Africa and the Diaspora the opportunity to reach an international audience and expand their networks. In addition to serving as editor-in-chief of Contemporary And, Grosse’s writings have appeared in Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, AD Magazine, SZ-Magazin, and Die Tageszeitung. Mutumba is research curator for Africa at the Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt am Main; her most recent exhibition, A Labour of Love (with Gabi Ngcobo) will open December 2, 2015. Grosse and Mutumba are the first women to curate an edition of Armory Focus.
Armory Focus is an invitational section on Pier 94 that spotlights the artistic landscape of a different region each year, bringing together influential galleries, artists and art professionals to present unique geographic and cultural perspectives via gallery presentations, special projects, a dedicated symposium and the annual Armory Artist Commission. Focus: African Perspectives will consist of around 15 galleries and several not-for-profits invited by the curators and The Armory Show, presenting a global list of galleries and institutions that embrace and promote art from Africa and the Diaspora. The Armory Show will take place March 3-6, 2016 on Piers 92 & 94 in New York City.
- Armory 2014
- Julia Grosse and Yvette Mutumba. Photo: Georgia Kuhn.