In Conversation: Bronx Museum’s Jasmine Wahi with Derrick Adams and Sanford Biggers

  • 19 October 2020

On the occasion of the benefit ‘Artists for New York,’ on view at Hauser & Wirth's New York galleries and online, the gallery hosted an online conversation between Jasmine Wahi, Holly Block Social Justice Curator at The Bronx Museum and artists Derrick Adams and Sanford Biggers. Framed around revisioning and rewriting American histories, the discussion included a dialogue about how artists shape society through their work, as well as the impact we all have in civil engagement, especially in light of the upcoming election.

About Jasmine Wahi
Jasmine Wahi is the Holly Block Social Justice Curator at The Bronx Museum. Her practice predominantly focuses on issues of femme empowerment, complicating binary structures within social discourses, and exploring multipositional cultural identities through the lens of intersectional feminism. In 2010, Ms. Wahi Co-Founded Project For Empty Space, a not-for-profit organization that creates multidisciplinary art exhibitions and programming that encourage social dialogue, education, and systemic change through the support of both artists and communities.

In 2015, Ms. Wahi joined Rebecca Jampol to open a brick and mortar gallery for PES Newark, NJ. Though she does not consider herself to be an artist, Ms. Wahi has organized numerous interventions and happenings as part of her social activist work. In 2018, she served as the Co-Chair “Rape, Radicality, and Representation” for the College Art Association's "Day of Panels" with The Feminist Art Project (TFAP). organizing a day of intersectional feminist based performances, films, and conversations. In 2019, she spoke at TEDxNJIT on the idea of Resilience. In 2020, she curated the two part exhibition Abortion Is Normal, which received wide critical acclaim, and will be touring cross country as part of a campaign to get out the vote.

About Derrick Adams
Derrick Adams was born in Baltimore, MD in 1970 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received his MFA from Columbia University, BFA from Pratt Institute, and is an alumni of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program. He is a recipient of a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Residency, Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship, Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, and Louis Comfort Tiffany Award. Adams’ solo exhibitions include ‘Buoyant’ at the Hudson River Museum; ‘Where I’m From’ at The Gallery in Baltimore City Hall; ‘Sanctuary’ at the Museum of Arts and Design, NY; ‘Transmission’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver; ‘Network’ at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles; and The Channel at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. His work is in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and numerous private collections.

About Sanford Biggers
Sanford Biggers’ work is an interplay of narrative, perspective and history that speaks to current social, political and economic happenings while also examining the contexts that bore them. His diverse practice positions him as a collaborator with the past through explorations of often overlooked cultural and political narratives from American history. Working with antique quilts that echo rumors of their use as signposts on the Underground Railroad, he engages these legends and contributes to this narrative by drawing and painting directly onto them.

In response to ongoing occurrences of police brutality against Black Americans, Biggers’ BAM series is composed of bronze sculptures recast from fragments of wooden African statues that have been anonymized through dipping in wax and then ballistically ‘resculpted’. Following a residency as a 2017 American Academy Fellow in Rome, the artist recently began working in marble. Drawing on and playing with the tradition of working in this medium, Biggers creates hybridized forms that transpose, combine and juxtapose classical and historical subjects to create alternative meanings and produce what he calls “Chimeras”. As creative director and keyboardist, he fronts Moon Medicin, a multimedia concept band that straddles visual art and music with performances staged against a backdrop of curated sound effects and video. Moon Medicin performed at Open Spaces Kansas City in October 2018 and at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in April 2019.

About Artists for New York
Hauser & Wirth is delighted to welcome visitors to our new gallery at 542 West 22nd St, our gallery on 32 East 69th St, and our website to experience ‘Artists for New York,’ a major initiative to raise funds in support of a group of pioneering non-profit visual arts organizations across New York City that have been profoundly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project brings together dozens of works committed by foremost artists across generations, from both within and outside of the gallery’s program, that will be sold to benefit these institutions that have played a significant role in shaping the city’s rich cultural history and will play a critical role in its future recovery. ‘Artists for New York’ will raise funds to support the recovery needs of fourteen small and mid-scale cultural organizations: Artists Space, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Dia Art Foundation, The Drawing Center, El Museo del Barrio, High Line Art, MoMA PS1, New Museum, Public Art Fund, Queens Museum, SculptureCenter, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Swiss Institute, and White Columns.