Despite the commonly held myth of meritocracy in art, a deeply entrenched system of power and privilege exists, which values the creativity of some, while minimizing that of others. Young Artists: One, is the first of a series of exhibitions organized by OpenArt, in partnership with Fridman Gallery, that explore power and voice within the art world. This power is largely determined through systems of access and privilege that determine which artistic voices are heard and which are dismissed. Historically, at every level of the art ecosystem, from museums, to art galleries, to fairs and auctions, the voices of White males have been disproportionately valued, while the voices of people of color and women have been largely marginalized.
Young Artists: One, attempts to reframe and re-contextualize art, by highlighting the voices of a diverse group of modern and contemporary artists. In the context of this series, the word ‘young’ does not refer to an artist’s age, but rather to the new ways in which artists are claiming their voice and proclaiming their existence in the art world. Young Artists: One, highlights these global voices, with a focus on the practices, aesthetics, and conceptual questions of each individual artist. The exhibition places these works in conversation with one another, disregarding traditional curatorial delineators such as career demarcations (emerging vs established), aesthetics similarities (abstract vs figurative), or cultural origin. Instead, the show aims to let the artworks, and thus the artists, each speak for themselves.
While this exhibition was conceived before the global mass protests for racial justice for Black people, the themes explored here are more poignant and important than ever. We hope to use this exhibition, and the accompanying programming, not only to create space for the voices of these artists to be heard, but also to directly address the issues of systemic racism, which have been deeply embedded at every level of the art world.
Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski
Hana Yilma Godine
Jamea Richmond Edwards
Kelly Sinnapah Mary
Kerry James Marshall
Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum