The Studio Museum in Harlem may be modest in size and budget when compared to some of New York’s other museums, but its influence is vast. Its artists-in-residence program is known to lure in younger, lesser-known artists who are often propelled to fame later in their careers, with Kerry James Marshall, Kehinde Wiley, Mickalene Thomas, Wangechi Mutu, and Jordan Casteel among some of the now-household names who participated in the program at pivotal moments in their art making. For that reason, the artists-in-residence initiative is closely watched.
Now, the Studio Museum has revealed the artists who will participate in the 2020–21 edition of the program. Those artists are Widline Cadet, Genesis Jerez, Texas Isaiah, and Jacolby Satterwhite, most of whom have not exhibited widely and are in the early stages of their careers.
The exception is Satterwhite, who, though not yet 40, has shown his art in various high-profile venues such as the Whitney Biennial and the Berlin Biennale. His work will also be featured in the next editions of the Front International Triennial for Contemporary Art in Cleveland and the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea, and later this month he will open a solo show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash gallery in New York. Satterwhite’s videos often feature an array of avatars dancing and copulating in semi-imagined digital queer utopias. The Studio Museum is classifying him as a mid-career artist and enlisting him as a mentor to the other artists.
Cadet and Texas Isaiah are both photographers who have taken Black sitters as their subjects—the former, to explore memory and the artist’s Haitian identity; the latter, to consider the relationship between a person and the place around them. Jerez is known for her figurative paintings reflecting on her upbringing by a Dominican family living in a New York housing project.
Legacy Russell, an associate curator of exhibitions at the museum, said in a statement, “In the face of a challenging, historical, and most seismic period of global transition, Texas Isaiah, Genesis Jerez, Widline Cadet, and Jacolby Satterwhite set forward new and radical propositions of Afro-diasporic futures and world-building, advancing urgent explorations of visibility, figural representation, and refusal in new directions and to monumental heights in a moment that demands it.”