Studio Museum in Harlem

Studio Museum in Harlem (134)

Founded in 1968, this small museum was located on Fifth Avenue and 125th before moving to this lovely building. From the beginning, the museum has supported and promoted experimental contemporary art and its known residency programme for artists has fulfilled its 40th anniversary in 2010.

Nowadays, the Studio Museum in Harlem is a renowned art museum devoted to black artists in Harlem, the United States and the world, as well as other artists, who focus their work on African American culture and, recently, even on Latin American culture. Here you will find works from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, and we can assure you that its temporary exhibitions are highly committed and ground-breaking.

Within its permanent collection, you will find nearly 2,000 works, including drawings, prints, photographs and even facilities, among others. They are obviously works of artists who have been resident here, as well as other pieces that have been donated to the museum to create an interesting historical context of all those who, in one way or another, are descendants from Africa, in particular.

You will find works by the artist and writer, Romare Bearden, who also exhibits some in the MOMA; sculptures by Texan artist, Richard Hunt; works by the award-winning artist, Lois Mailou Jones; paintings by Jacob Lawrence, known for his dynamic cubism; and many others.

The museum also features a very extensive collection of photographs by the artist, James Van Der Zee, who came to make more than 75,000. Van Der Zee is known worldwide for his portraits of Black New Yorkers, mostly anonymous people, but many celebrities, such as Marcus Garvey, who led the Back to Africa movement; and Bill Robinson, a great actor and dancer known for his performances with the child prodigy, Shirley Temple. These portraits were especially made in the period known as the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement of the 1920s and 1930s, which was originally known as the "New Negro Movement." We can assure you that they are of great documentary and artistic value.

Once you have finished your visit, we recommend you go west to the Apollo Theatre and its Walk of Fame or, conversely, if you consider yourself a great traveller, go and visit Marcus Garvey Park, west of here. This park, formerly known as Mount Morris Square, boasts more than 80,000 square meters with swimming pool, baseball field, amphitheatre and other services that the neighbours know how to enjoy. As you can see, it is full of life any time of the day. A very interesting detail that few know is that the centre holds the remains of an ancient watchtower made of cast iron, a work by Julius Kroel from 1856. These towers had been dispersed around the city to locate and warn of possible fires in the city, before the telephone was invented, of course. It is a relic.

Enjoying the Studio Museum in Harlem, neighbourhood life in Marcus Garvey Park in the afternoon and finishing off the day at the Apollo Theatre may be the best trio to experience Harlem to the fullest.

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