NLE Lab: Southeast Queens Biennial


No Longer Empty Curatorial Lab and York College Fine Arts Gallery present 
the inaugural Southeast Queens Biennial: A Locus of Moving Points
February 9 - April 21, 2018

Location: York College Fine Arts Gallery, Academic Core Building, 

94-20 Guy R Brewer Blvd., Jamaica, Queens. Enter on Liberty Avenue.
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 10, 3 - 7pm
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9:30am-4:30pm, and Saturday, 12-6pm
Directions: F to Parsons; E, J, Z to Jamaica Center; LIRR to Jamaica Station

In its inaugural year, the Southeast Queens Biennial: A Locus of Moving Points identifies movement as an organizing principle for understanding Southeast Queens as a gateway for travel and a source of cultural production and exchange deeply rooted in its immigrant communities. This concept finds its roots in the writing of bell hooks, a visionary feminist activist and author, who speaks to the transformative potential of shifting one’s focus to consider the margin and center not as disparate parts, but as making up a whole body. Locus, from the Latin for “location” or “place,” is used in geometry to refer to a set of points that meet a given condition. Combined, these concepts suggest an active way of seeing that dismantles the notion of a dominant center by shifting perceptions of what makes up both center and periphery. 

A Locus of Moving Points features the work of three generations of artists and cultural producers with deep connections to Southeast Queens. On view at York College: Damali Abrams the Glitter Princess, Natali S. Bravo-Barbee, Janet Henry, Rejin Leys, Sana Musasama, Shervone Neckles, Odathrowback, Okechukwu Okegrass Ofiaeli, and Elizabeth Velazquez. Dr. Margaret Rose Vendryes, Chair of the Performing and Fine Arts Department and Gallery Director at York College, remarks on the importance of the gallery to Southeast Queens: “The Fine Arts Gallery at York College is one of only two professional visual art exhibition venues in Southeast Queens. As a vibrant part of what the York College Department of Performing and Fine Arts has to offer both town and gown communities, the Southeast Queens Biennial will create valuable new connections.” The inaugural Southeast Queens Biennial was organized by No Longer Empty’s 2017 NLE Curatorial Lab in partnership with York College Fine Arts Gallery, and is curated by Sarah Fritchey, Corrine Y. Gordon, Rebecca Pristoop, Niama Safia Sandy and Anastasia Tuazon.

The opening reception will be held on Saturday, February 10, from 3 - 7pm, with a series of events:

3:00pm: P.U.D.G.E. responds to works in the gallery. P.U.D.G.E. is a Jamaica, Queens-born musician and DJ striving to blend and bend genres from Hip-Hop, Beat House, Jazz and everywhere in between. Studying local DJ legends and Jamaican Sound Systems, all the while honing his skills in the “blend-tape” era, P.U.D.G.E. has focused on perfecting the art of live “blends” and remixes for over twenty years. 

4:00pm: Welcome by Chair of the Performing and Fine Arts Department/Gallery Director at York College Margaret Vendryes; NLE Curatorial Lab Director Rachel Gugelberger; and NLE Lab Curators Sarah Fritchey and Anastasia Tuazon.

4:15pm: A conversation with artists Damali Abrams, Janet Henry, Shervone Neckles and Okechukwu Okegrass Ofiaeli, moderated by curators Corrine Y. Gordon and Niama Safia Sandy.

5:30pm: P.U.D.G.E. freestyles live. Food and drinks will be served.

Working across media and disciplines, the artists highlighted in the inaugural Southeast Queens Biennial assume roles as activists, educators and advocates for bringing the arts directly to the communities in which they live and serve. Mapping the shifting presence, histories and creative production of the African, Caribbean and Latin American diaspora through the arts, the exhibition and related programs provide a counter-narrative to the current climate and serve as a time capsule for a variety of social, cultural and political developments through the lens of artists who have been shaped by Southeast Queens.

The Biennial continues at the Central Library of Queens Library with Notations in Passing, on view March 3 - April 21, 2018 and featuring the work of artists Damali Abrams, Salimah Ali, Ify Chiejina, Renee Harper, Corona Johnson, Rejin Leys and Lisa Wade. Portraying a glimpse at the lived experiences of the exhibitin artists and people living and working in Southeast Queens in photography, painting, drawing and collage, the exhibition reveals connections to each other, the environment and the world at large.

Location: 89 - 11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica, Queens. F to 169th St.
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 9:00am-9:00pm; Friday, 9:00am-7:00pm; Saturday, 10:00am-5:00pm; Sunday, 12:00pm-5:00pm

The NLE Curatorial Lab (NLE Lab) is a professional development program for emerging curators and arts professionals interested in direct experience curating in an expanded field. With a focus on research, project-based learning, and collaboration, NLE Lab is designed to deepen an understanding of the development of exhibitions and related programming within a specific context in a distinctly urban setting, culminating in a collectively curated exhibition. The program includes a curriculum of critical readings, guest speakers, site/historical research, studio/exhibition visits, and incorporates community engagement as a fundamental component in the formation of curatorial themes. 

Located in Jamaica, Queens, the York College Fine Arts Gallery is part of the Department of Performing and Fine Arts at York College, City University of New York (CUNY). Opened in 1989, the gallery presents 3-4 professional exhibitions a year, ranging from solo and thematic group exhibitions and student shows at the end of each semester. With an enrollment of more than 8,000 students, York serves as one of CUNY's leading liberal arts colleges, granting bachelor's degrees in over 40 fields and a growing number of professional programs granting master’s degrees. The York College public art collection includes works by luminaries including Elizabeth Catlett, Frank Stella and Martin Puryear.

The 2017/2018 NLE Curatorial Lab is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and Isambard Kingdom Brunel of North America.

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February 09, 2018 - April 21, 2018
York College Fine Arts Gallery
Core Academic Building-1B01
94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd.
Jamaica, Queens 11451