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Art Break: African Diaspora and Architecture As Art

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, May 8, 2017

Art Break takes as its theme this week the continent of Africa and its diaspora. The variety of experiences are too large to contain in a single column – but we hope that by seeing these gallery shows you’ll gain an appreciation for the artistic, cultural, and social work of this important part of the world and want to learn more. Our favorite pick this week is at downtown’s Center for Architecture where you can see how western architecture movements were used and improved upon by many newly independent nations eager to promote new directions for their citizens. All listings are free admission so don’t hesitate to visit one of these galleries.

Art Break Downtown:

Where: The Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place,

When: Now through May 27, Mon – Fri: 9-8, Sat: 11-5

Who: Architecture of Independence – African Modernism

What: Variety of archival materials tracing architectural movements across the continent

Why: Fascinating look at the ideals of building contrasting with the realities of the day

Art Break Chelsea:

Where: Alexander Grey Associates, 510 West 26th Street

When: Now through May 20, Tues-Sat: 11-6

Who: Melvin Edwards: In Oklahoma

What: Sculptures and works on paper

Why: Discusses the African diaspora and his family’s connections to it and the US

Art Break Midtown (up to 59th Street, East or West):

Where: Open Society Foundations, 224 West 57th Street

When: Now through July 14, Mon – Fri: 10-4

Who: Sammy Baloji and Filip De Boeck: Urban Now: City Life in Congo

What: Photographs and video that explore the urban environment

Why: Artistic and ethnographic points of view come together to discuss the complications of city life

Art Break Above 60th Street (East or West):

Where: Schomburg Center, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard (135th Street and Malcolm X Blvd)

When: Now through December 30, Mon: 10-6, Tue – Wed: 10-8, Thurs – Sat: 10-6

Who: Black Power!

What: The history of the Black Power movement in the US

Why: Essential exhibit in understanding American social and political concerns/events


Cover:  La Pyramide, Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) by Rinaldo Oliveri, 1973 from the ‘Architecture of Independence – African Modernism’ exhibit at the Center for Architecture; photo: Iwan Baan / courtesy of Center for Architecture.


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