American Artist: blue are the feelings that live inside me

Assembly Gallery Activation:

Winter 2019

In January 2017, Recess launched Assembly to serve as an artist-led alternative to incarceration while empowering young people to take charge of their own life story and imagine a positive future through art. Through the 40-week Peer Leader program, our young people are exposed to various mediums of art making, careers in the arts, and internships at arts and culture spaces around the city as a pathway to a career in the arts. A guest artist joins each new cohort of the program and collaborates with youth on a project in our public storefront gallery.

Public Programs

May 4, 4pm: On Blue Life: Tiana Reid and Nijah Cunningham

May 9, 7pm: Weaponizing the Imaginary: Shellyne Rodriguez and Che Gossett

May 11, 4pm: The Classroom: The Aesthetics of Ideology with Alaina Claire Feldman and Alan Ruiz

American Artist

From March 21 – May 11, 2019, American Artist will present blue are the feelings that live inside me, a series of photographs responding to a growing body of charged and divisive books written as recreational material for police.

These books, which include titles such as “The War on Cops,” “Behind the Badge: 365 Daily Devotions for Law Enforcement” and “Black Lies Matter,” chart the emergence of “Blue Lives Matter,” a police-led countermovement created in opposition to policies and activism of “Black Lives Matter.” Artist’s project highlights how the concept of “Blue Life” appropriates and weaponizes identity-based categories like race in order to enforce camaraderie around police, disparage affirmations of Black life, and advance policies and narratives ultimately destructive to people of color most affected by police violence.

In addition to their Gallery Activation, American Artist will collaborate with Recess Assembly participants to design and produce original book jackets which respond to these charged and offensive publications in order to expose the insecurities embedded within them and as a tool for reimagining competing ideologies. In conjunction with their Assembly Gallery Activation, Artist and Assembly youth will host three panels on the subjects of the “Blue Life,” the aesthetics of the classroom, and science fiction as a political tool.

Open to the public

Tuesday – Saturday, 12-6pm

About the Artist

American Artist (b. 1989 Altadena, CA) is an alumni of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. They earned their M.F.A. from Parsons, The New School and their B.F.A. from California Polytechnic University Pomona. Solo exhibitions include Black Gooey Universe, HOUSING, Brooklyn, NY (2018); and My Blue Window, Queens Museum, NY (forthcoming). They have participated in group exhibitions such as: Parallels and Peripheries, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, MI (2019); ICONICITY, Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery, Stony Brook University, NY (2019); A Wild Ass Beyond: ApocalypseRN, Performance Space New York, NY (2018); Geographies of Imagination, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, Germany (2018); I Was Raised on the Internet, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL (2018); Screenscapes, Postmasters, New York, NY (2018); Lack of Location is My Location, Koenig & Clinton, Brooklyn, NY (2017); and Off Pink, The Kitchen, New York, NY (2015) among others. Artist is currently a resident at Abrons Art Center and Pioneer Works and a 2018-2019 recipient of the Queens Museum Jerome Foundation Fellowship. They are the co-founder of the arts and politics publication unbag and have published writing in The New Inquiry and New Criticals. They live and work 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.