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 January 4–March 3, 2018, Assembly’s public storefront gallery will host Primetime, a project by Alexandra Bell that will explore the role of stereotypes, messaging, and news media to directly engage issues of racism, gun violence, and police brutality. Similar to Recess’s seasoned Session program, which allows artists to pursue works in progress in a public setting, Assembly grants participating artists the opportunity to activate and add to the space cumulatively, working toward an evolving installation rather than a static exhibition.
Alexandra Bell’s gallery activation will create an evolving and multimedia body of work bridging the original definition of stereotype—a rigid and reproduced impression used for printing a text—with the contemporary notion of stereotyping—the subconscious belief that certain actions or behaviors of an individual define that of an entire group. Through the repetition of audio, text, and images, Bell’s project will investigate what it means when the circulation of media narratives engenders the reinforcement and proliferation of stereotypes.
Specifically, Bell’s project will unfold across three bodies of work. The first will explore reporting on the “Scottsboro Boys,” a group of nine Black teenagers falsely accused in Alabama of raping two white women on a train in 1931, and the “Central Park Five,” five Black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989. In another series, Bell will explore press media accounts of mass shootings in America. Finally, Bell will use recorded audio to address the disturbing reality of Black hypervisibility, whereby death becomes primetime spectacle in American news media.
In addition to her work on Primetime in the gallery space, Bell will participate as a guest teaching artist during the educational diversion programs, and she will collaborate with lead teaching artist Shaun Leonardo to incorporate material from her project into the program’s curriculum. Bell will also guide program participants in creating final projects that, once complete, will appear alongside her work in the storefront gallery.
Open to the public Thursday – Saturday, 12-6pm
370 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
About the Artist
Alexandra Bell (b. 1983, Chicago, IL) is a multidisciplinary artist who investigates the complexities of narrative, information consumption, and perception. Utilizing various media, she deconstructs language and imagery to explore the tension between marginal experiences and dominant histories. Through investigative research, she considers the ways media frameworks construct memory and inform discursive practices around race, politics, and culture. Her work has been featured in recent exhibitions in venues including MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY, We Buy Gold, Brooklyn, Koenig & Clinton Gallery, Brooklyn, with forthcoming group exhibition at Cue Art Foundation. Bell holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities from the University of Chicago and an M.S. in Print Journalism from Columbia University. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
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