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 March 8—May 5, 2018, Assembly’s public storefront gallery will host A Moment in the Sun, a project by Tiffany Smith that will use the gallery for an evolving multimedia work and as an active photo studio for creating empowering portraits of her subjects. Throughout her gallery activation, Smith will stage and photograph new images for the series’ “A Woman, Phenomenally” and “For Tropical Girls…” In addition, Smith will host open-studio photo sessions to create images for her “Throned” series that centers on the use of a high-back wicker throne/peacock chair in a scene staged with props, decorative backdrops, and plant life. “Throned” takes inspiration from traditions of West African portrait photography and the cultural practice of using the wicker throne peacock chair at social gatherings and celebrations in black and brown communities. Using the throne chair as both a central photo prop and a symbol of empowerment, Smith will activate her set with workshops, training session, and as an open platform for visitor photos.
Similar to Recess’s Session program, which allows artists to pursue works in progress in a public setting, Assembly artists are afforded the opportunity to activate and add to the space cumulatively, creating an evolving, constantly changing exhibition.
Underlying Smith’s gallery activation is an awareness of the complex history of portraiture and the role photography has played in proliferating exoticized and stereotyped representations of people of color. If nothing else, portraiture offers a physical depiction of our identities and a site in which the power of those depictions can be called into question—offering a space where one can author imagined and invented personas, assert new narratives of who they are, and reclaim the terms of their representation. Smith explores the portrait as a space of play and masquerade in which fact and fiction co-mingle and through which individuals can challenge and rewrite mass culture representations of beauty, power, and value.
In addition to her work on A Moment in the Sun in the Assembly gallery space, Smith will participate as a guest teaching artist during the Recess’s educational diversion program. She will collaborate with the program’s lead teaching artist Shaun Leonardo to incorporate material from her project into the program’s curriculum. Smith 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
Tiffany Smith is a visual artist who uses photography, video, design, and installation to create conceptually based work focused on identity, cultural ambiguity, and representation; particularly within minority communities. Her work examines individual narratives pulled from an array of multi-cultural influences, derived from her upbringing between Miami, Florida, Nassau, Bahamas, and Jamaica, and molded by her current home of Brooklyn, NY. Smith’s practice searches for new perspectives on dominant historical narratives and aims to provide insight into issues surrounding communities and how they are formed, defined, and identified. Smith received a BFA in Photography from Savannah College of Art and Design and an MFA in Photo/Video from School of Visual Arts, NY. Smith’s work has been exhibited internationally and throughout the United States including public art installations in Newark Penn Station through The Gateway Project and Marcus Garvey Park during Flux Art Fair, Harlem and shows at The National Gallery of Jamaica, Photoville, New York, International Photo Festival, Leiden, Netherlands, Photo NOLA, New Orleans, Long Gallery, Harlem, The Wassaic Project, and Spring Break Art Show. Tiffany Smith is currently based 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