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Studio Residency: Okwui Okpokwasili

July 30 — August 28, 2022

The Museum of Modern Art

The Brooklyn-based choreographer, performer, and writer Okwui Okpokwasili is the Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio’s first artist-in-residence. For the duration of the Studio Residency, the Kravis Studio will become Okpokwasili’s working space, a site for incubation, experimentation, and collaboration, and a resource for developing and creating new work behind closed doors. Through three public events, the audience will have the opportunity to experience the evolution of Okpokwasili’s new piece.

Okpokwasili explores the roles of African and African American women by creating multidisciplinary performance pieces that seek to shape the shared space inhabited by the audience and performer. “I want to build full and rich characters with integrity, brown bodies laboring within a very specific and charged context,” says the artist. Her productions, created in collaboration with acclaimed designer Peter Born, are experimental in form, bringing together elements of dance, theater, and the visual arts.

In this residency Okpokwasili will be developing a story, written by the artist herself, that unfolds across space and time, beginning with a fictitious event in a precolonial Nigeria of her imagination and focusing on one family’s violent entanglement in the transatlantic slave trade. Together with a group of collaborators, Okpokwasili will use the residency as a space for developing the piece through movement, sound, spoken texts, and “folk” songs.

A testament to MoMA’s ongoing commitment to supporting artists’ processes and ideas, the Studio Residency program will become a place where art comes to life in new and inspiring ways.

The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio is a space for live events dedicated to performance, music, sound, spoken word, and expanded approaches to the moving image. The space is a fundamental element in MoMA’s efforts to frame its collection as a living history for both collection-responsive programming and new commissions by established and emerging artists.

The public is invited to view the artist’s working process on select dates in August:
Tuesday, August 23, 3:00 p.m.: open rehearsal
Thursday, August 25, 3:00 p.m.: open rehearsal
Friday, August 26, 3:00 p.m.: open rehearsal, followed by a conversation between Okwui Okpokwasili, Tina Campt, and Saidiya Hartman. The conversation will be live-streamed.

Directed by Okwui Okpokwasili, Peter Born
Production manager: Michaelangelo DeSerio
Collaborators: Bernice Brooks, mayfield brooks, Brittany Engel-Adams, McKenzie Frye, Audrey Hailes, Will Johnson, NIC kay, Samita Sinha, Stacy Lynn Smith, AJ Wilmore.

Studio Residency is organized by Ana Janevski, Curator, with Gee Wesley, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Media and Performance. Produced by Kate Scherer, Manager and Producer, with Jessie Gold, Assistant Performance Coordinator, Performance and Live Programs.

 

The exhibition is presented as part of The Hyundai Card Performance Series.

Major support is provided by MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Director’s Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art.

 Generous funding is provided by the Lonti Ebers Endowment for Performance and the Sarah Arison Endowment Fund for Performance.

Additional support for Studio Residency: Okwui Okpokwasili is provided by The Modern Women’s Fund.

Images

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Okwui Okpokwasili open rehearsal, August 23, 2022, as part of Studio Residency: Okwui Okpokwasili, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, July 30–August 28, 2022. Pictured (from left): NIC Kay, AJ Wilmore, Audrey Hailes. © 2022 The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Okwui Okpokwasili open rehearsal, August 23, 2022, as part of Studio Residency: Okwui Okpokwasili, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, July 30–August 28, 2022. Pictured (from left): AJ Wilmore, Okwui Okpokwasili, McKenzie Frye, mayfield brooks, Audrey Hailes. © 2022 The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Okwui Okpokwasili open rehearsal, August 23, 2022, as part of Studio Residency: Okwui Okpokwasili, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, July 30–August 28, 2022. Pictured (from left): mayfield brooks and Audrey Hailes. © 2022 The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Okwui Okpokwasili open rehearsal, August 23, 2022, as part of Studio Residency: Okwui Okpokwasili, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, July 30–August 28, 2022. Pictured (from left): Audrey Hailes and mayfield brooks. © 2022 The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Okwui Okpokwasili open rehearsal, August 23, 2022, as part of Studio Residency: Okwui Okpokwasili, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, July 30–August 28, 2022. Pictured (from left): McKenzie Frye, Stacy Lynn Smith, Audrey Hailes, AJ Wilmore. © 2022 The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Okwui Okpokwasili open rehearsal, August 23, 2022, as part of Studio Residency: Okwui Okpokwasili, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, July 30–August 28, 2022. Pictured: AJ Wilmore.© 2022 The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Okwui Okpokwasili open rehearsal, August 23, 2022, as part of Studio Residency: Okwui Okpokwasili, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, July 30–August 28, 2022. Pictured: AJ Wilmore. © 2022 The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Okwui Okpokwasili open rehearsal, August 23, 2022, as part of Studio Residency: Okwui Okpokwasili, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, July 30–August 28, 2022. Pictured (from left): Stacy Lynn Smith, AJ Wilmore, mayfield brooks, NIC Kay. © 2022 The Museum of Modern Art, New York