Steffani Jemison: Promise Machine


In conjunction with the exhibition One Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North, Brooklyn-based artist Steffani Jemison presents her new multipart commission Promise Machine. Inspired by the Utopia Neighborhood Club, a Harlem-based women’s social service organization that directly supported Jacob Lawrence, Promise Machine comprises a reading group and performance inspired by the notion of utopia. In advance of her June performances, Jemison will bring together members of Harlem-based community organizations as well as artists, writers, activists, and others for a Utopia Club reading group at MoMA, where they will discuss black American experimental communities in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

The new musical performances in the Museum galleries will be inspired by conversations with Harlem-based community organizations, and will address specific works on view in MoMA’s collection, including selections from Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series. The performances feature an original libretto by the artist and a score composed collaboratively by the artist and a composer.  Beginning in the 5th Floor Painting and Sculpture Permanent Collection galleries, the performers will move in a processional down through the 4th floor galleries and into the Jacob Lawrence exhibition itself.

Thursday, June 25, 2015, 1:00 p.m.
Thursday, June 25, 2015, 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 27, 2015, 1:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 27, 2015, 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 28, 2015, 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, June 28, 2015, 4:00 p.m.


Organized by Stuart Comer, Chief Curator, and Thomas J. Lax, Associate Curator, with Martha Joseph, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance Art, The Museum of Modern Art.

The program is made possible by MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation.