Last Sunday Jack Shainman Gallery ’s invited some of their community for a day trip up to ‘The School’, their newest space in Kinderhook. The location is used for special exhibitions and as a home for the gallery’s permanent collection. The School is a visionary dream realized by Jack Shainman, whose main purpose is to represent and promote artists from all over the world, including Africa, East Asia and North America.Jack Shainman enlisted Spanish Architect Antonio Jimenez Torrecillas to revamp the interior of the 30,000 square foot Federal-revival elementary school. The renovations included a 5,000 square foot exhibition area with 24 foot ceilings where the school’s gymnasium once stood.During our visit, ‘The School’ hosted two special exhibitions as well as a Q&A session where Darby English (MoMa’s new consulting curator) sat down with Meleko Mokgosi. Mokgosi’s source of inspiration, nationalism and his three works exhibiting at ‘The School’ were the main topics of conversation. It allowed the audience to really understand the process and stages that are involved in the creation of his work. The Q&A was the highlight of the day for me, bringing authenticity & humor to an otherwise complex and serious conversation.Mokgosi grand-scale paintings focus on post-colonial Africa depicting realistic rendered subjects inspired by the style of European history paintings. A five panel similar in proportion to a Renaissance’s altarpiece sits at the center of the main space in the lower level of the School. The panels can easily tell a story similar to a history book, but a story Mokgosi wouldn’t dictate out loud during the talk, instead he wanted the viewer to interpret their own story of it based on their ideas, and personal judgment.Other works on display throughout the School were part of the ‘Status Quo’ group presentation. The 30 artists in their own ways challenged the status quo taking on culture, race, and political topics. One of the most memorable and powerful installations from the show was “Black Righteous Space” by Hank Willis Thomas. A video installation greeted everyone upon first entering the school with a video projection of the black liberation flag and an audio track playing snippets of comedians, speakers and songs including Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power”. Status Quo includes work by: Vito Acconci, El Anatsui, Radcliffe Bailey, Tim Bavington, Nayland Blake, Yoan Capote, Nick Cave, Gehard Demetz, Vibha Galhotra, Isa Genzken, Kay Hassan, David Ireland, Titus Kaphar, Kerry James Marshall, Enrique Martínez Celaya, Richard Mosse, Reinhard Mucha, Adi Nes, Jackie Nickerson, Manuel Ocampo, Odili Donald Odita, Toyin Odutola, Susana Solano, Jessica Stockholder, Leslie Wayne, Carrie Mae Weems, James Welling, Hank Willis Thomas, and Carlos Vega.
The School’s upcoming exhibition will open May 17th and will feature a solo show of works by El Anatsui. The School’s location is at 25 Broad Street, Kinderhook, NY and is open on Saturdays from 11 am to 5 pm. Click Here for more information for ‘The School’ and to find out about the other ongoing exhibitions at Jack Shaiman’s Manhattan locations.
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Photos By: Erica Genece