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Artists respond to call from the Bronx

Work by more than 70 emerging artists from across New York featured in Bronx Calling

by Victoria Stapley-Brown  |  13 July 2015
Artists respond to call from the Bronx
Video still from Cat Del Buono's Voices (2013)
Twice each year, 18 emerging artists living in the New York metropolitan area participate in Artists in the Marketplace (AIM) at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, a professional development residency programme whose alumni include Glenn Ligon, Rina Banerjee and Polly Apfelbaum. The exhibition Bronx Calling: the Third AIM Biennial (until 20 September) features one piece from each of the 72 artists who have participated in AIM in the past two years.

The artists are “talking about their work in their own terms” in the show, says Hatuey Ramos-Fermin, the museum’s curator of education, who co-organised Bronx Calling with the artist and curator Laura Napier; each label, for instance, includes an artist’s statement. The exhibition reflects the diversity of the artists’ practices, with a range of media, from installations like Erik Shane Swanson’s picnic table Saltwater, Piss and Vinegar (2015), made of scagliola, to oil paintings like Eden Morris’s Biblically-inspired Tamar’s Chance (2013). The works are arranged to dialogue with each other on different levels—“some of [the connections] are very subtle, some of them are more thematic”, Ramos-Fermin says.

Installation view of Cat Del Buono's Voices (2013) in Bronx Calling: the Third AIM Biennial


Cat Del Buono’s Voices (2013), given its own separate space in a hallway, perhaps speaks loudest all on its own. From a distance, the 13-screen sound and video installation of the lower half of women’s faces speaking is a pretty picture of moving mouths and a hum of indistinguishable chatter. But up close, each screen features a different woman speaking about her own harrowing experience with domestic violence. The work has a simultaneous anonymity and extreme intimacy, and the brief blackness of a screen when its monologue ends adds to the haunting sentiment. Napier recalls her initial hesitation to include the work, and admits it was difficult to handle—she eventually had to turn off the videos during installation—but is happy to have included the piece. “It’s a really important conversation to have,” she says.

Bronx Calling and its associated programmes are supported by Agnes Gund, the Jerome Foundation and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund among others.

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