Assembly Gallery Activation:
In January 2017, Recess launched Assembly in a satellite space in downtown Brooklyn. To expand upon our mission to connect artists and publics, Assembly is at once an artist-led diversion program for court-involved youth and a public storefront gallery. Assembly is located at 370 Schermerhorn St. in Downtown Brooklyn.
From May 10th to July 28, Assembly will host The burden of deconstructing whiteness and systematic oppression should no longer fall squarely on the shoulders of black and brown bodies. This weight and its solutions have to be carried by and wrestled within the bodies of those who no longer desire to continue to perpetuate and benefit from them a project by Xaviera Simmons that will use Assembly’s public storefront for a multimedia video presentation and as a documentary filmmaking studio to compile a series of interviews designed to decenter Whiteness. This gallery activation is realized in partnership with Claudia Rankine’s The Racial Imaginary Institute (TRII). The artist and the Assembly program are collaborators for TRII’s summer exhibition and symposium “On Whiteness,” presented at The Kitchen, using a multitude of texts and references to engage the topic.
Pointing to writers, activists, artists and everyday people, The burden of deconstructing whiteness and systematic oppression should no longer fall squarely on the shoulders of black and brown bodies. This weight and its solutions have to be carried by and wrestled within the bodies of those who no longer desire to continue to perpetuate and benefit from them approaches Whiteness not only as it is applied to individuals, but how it dominates every measure of life in The United States.
Simmons will collaborate with Assembly participants to produce a video-based project comprised of footage, commentaries, and interviews captured and edited onsite. The artist will guide the young people as they engage friends, families and strangers around the question: how has whiteness affected your lived experience? Culminating in the production of an expansive video-collage sourced from a range of material including mobile phones photographs and video, recorded audio, digital video, Polaroid photography and text works, Simmons’ project will examine the potential for personal and collective storytelling to decenter whiteness in order to hold space for new narratives.
Banner Image: Index One-Composition Three, Courtesy of the Artist
Open to the public Thursday – Saturday, 12-6pm
370 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
About the Artist
Xaviera Simmons’s sweeping body of work spans photography, performance, choreography video, sound, sculpture, and installation. Simmons’ interdisciplinary practice is rooted in shifting definitions of landscape, character development, art, political and social histories and the interconnectedness of formal processes. Simmons received her BFA from Bard College in 2004 after spending two years on a walking pilgrimage retracing the Transatlantic Slave Trade with Buddhist Monks. She completed the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program in Studio Art in 2005 while simultaneously completing a two-year actor-training conservatory with The Maggie Flanigan Studio. Simmons has exhibited nationally and internationally. Major exhibitions and performances include The Museum of Modern Art, NYC; MoMA PS1, NYC; The Studio Museum In Harlem, NYC; The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX; The Public Art Fund, NYC; David Castillo Gallery, Miami, FL; among many others. Her works are in major museum and private collections including The Museum of Modern Art, The Guggenheim Museum, The Agnes Gund Art Collection, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Perez Art Museum, Miami, The Rubell Family Art Collection Deutsche Bank and UBS.
Major funding for Assembly is provided by The Horace Goldsmith Foundation, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, The Salomon Foundation, and The Stavros Niarchos Foundation. This program is also made possible with donated space and program support from Alloy Development.
Banner image courtesy of Charles Roussel