Representing intimate and dynamic perspectives of Harlem, the images reflect each artist’s oeuvre with an idiosyncratic snapshot taken in, or representative of, this historic locale. While some artists have had long-standing relationships to Harlem—either through their personal histories or studio practices—others offer unique perspectives on what it means to portray a community through the lens of an outsider. By embracing the challenge of capturing a place in a single photograph, the artists aimed their cameras at both familiar and, at times, surprising sights and moments that demonstrate the complexity and diversity of the neighborhood. Viewed as a series, Harlem Postcards document the inevitabilities of change and progress, all while celebrating the beauty, joy, and liveliness of Harlem—particularly as it looks towards the future.
Harlem Postcards: Wish You Were Here presents over fifty historic Harlem Postcards, in addition to four new commissions by Isaac Diggs, tarah douglas, Nate Lewis, and Expanding the Wallsparticipant Jossie Rivera. The prints and photographs on view present the nuanced range of images captured around the neighborhood, from Harlem’s architecture to its colorful commercial goods. Each artists expands the notion of what belongs on a postcard, ultimately bringing visibility to Harlem’s different communities. This project continues the Studio Museum’s commitment to the visual history of Harlem, and its many residents.