FOLLOWING HIS PARTICIPATION in the 2017 Whitney Biennial earlier this year, Lyle Ashton Harris has a new gallery and a new monograph. This week, Salon 94 announced its representation of the New York-based artist whose latest book, “Today I Shall Judge Nothing That Occurs: Selections from the Ektachrome Archive,” was just published by Aperture.

For three decades, Harris has documented the politics of race, gender, and sexuality, and the evolving notions of fame and desire. Considering the dynamic between public and private, his diverse artistic practice spans photography, video, collage, and performance.

“I’m honored to have Lyle join the gallery. His provocative self portraits in Thelma Golden’s seminal 1994 ‘Black Male’ exhibition at the Whitney have been screaming out to me for decades. He was equal parts femme fatale and ancient god. His portrayal of the black body—both female and male—represented a shift in our perceptions of African-American masculinity,” Salon 94 Founder Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn said in a statement. “Lyle’s fearless candor expands to all of his work, challenging our views on race, gender, and sexuality, while making elegant, iconic images.”

“Lyle [Ashton Harris’s] fearless candor expands to all of his work, challenging our views on race, gender, and sexuality, while making elegant, iconic images.” — Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, Founder of Salon 94


Lyle Ashton Harris, Venice 1992 | © Lyle Ashton Harris, Photo by Tommy Gear

 

BRONX-BORN HARRIS (b. 1965) was raised in Tanzania and New York, where he currently lives and works. He earned an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University and an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. He is the recipient of the 2014 David C. Driskell Prize from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship. His work has been exhibited around the world and is represented in the collections of major museums.

In his artist statement, Harris says that his work “teases the viewers’ perceptions and expectations, resignifying cultural cursors and recalibrating the familiar with the extraordinary.”

Harris’s installation was one of the most engaging and transporting works presented at the Whitney Biennial and introduced a new generation to his work and a pivotal cultural period. On view from March to June this year, “Once (Now) Again,” a multi-channel presentation of photos and video from the 1980s and 1990s, captured his friends, family, lovers, and fellow artists in images that bore witness to a time of social and creative experimentation. Everyone, it seems, was there—Kwame Anthony Appiah, Angela Davis, David Driskell, Thelma Golden, Bethann Hardison, bell hooks, Isaac Julien, Glenn Ligon, Marlon Riggs, Faith Ringgold, Russell Simmons, Lorna Simpson, Cornel West, Fred Wilson, and many more.

Multiculturalism and AIDS activism were on the rise, as were connections between the contemporary arts scene and the LGBTQ and African American communities. Firmly ensconced in each of these environments, Harris intertwined them all—in cities across the country and abroad, in venues ranging from art galleries to night clubs.

Putting his work in context, Salon 94 noted, “Beyond their value as a personal document of a historically significant period, Harris’s images and journals exemplify the nascent development of the artist’s aesthetic sensibility, embodying a convergence of transgressive ideas and theoretical positions that continue to resonate and impact the present.”

“Beyond their value as a personal document of a historically significant period, Harris’s images and journals exemplify the nascent development of the artist’s aesthetic sensibility, embodying a convergence of transgressive ideas and theoretical positions that continue to resonate and impact the present.” — Salon 94

THE IMAGES SHOWN AT THE WHITNEY were drawn from Harris’s extensive archive, which is the focus of his new book, “Today I Shall Judge Nothing That Occurs: Selections from the Ektachrome Archive.” The volume brings together his 35 mm Ektachrome images, years of journal entries, and recollections and contributions from contemporary artists, curators, and cultural figures, including Adrienne Edwards, Thomas Allen Harris, Thomas J. Lax, Rashid Johnson, Sarah Elizabeth Lewis, and Robert Storr, among others.

Harris says the volume offers “ephemeral moments and emblematic figures shot in the 1980s and ’90s, against a backdrop of seismic shifts in the art world, the emergence of multiculturalism, the second wave of AIDS activism, and incipient globalization.”

On Dec. 15, Aperture is hosting a book signing and evening of conversation to celebrate the publication Harris’s new book. A diverse group of intergenerational artists and writers are joining Harris for the event at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, including Gregg Bordowitz, Johanna Burton, Kimberly Drew, Christopher Y. Lew, Catherine Lord, Jason Moran, Mickalene Thomas, and Iké Ude.

Harris is also represented by David Castillo Gallery in Miami and Maruani & Mercier Gallery in Brussels. In New York, his first exhibition with Salon 94 will be presented in Fall 2018. CT

 

LEARN MORE about Lyle Ashton Harris on his website

 

TOP IMAGE: Lyle Ashton Harris. | Photo by Rob Kulisek

 

BOOKSHELF
In his new book, “Today I Shall Judge Nothing That Occurs: Selections from the Ektachrome Archive,” Lyle Ashton Harris presents images of “emblematic figures shot in the 1980s and ’90s,” alongside his journal entries and contributions from a diverse slate of curators, writers, and fellow artists. Earlier volumes documenting the artist’s work include “Lyle Ashton Harris: Excessive Exposure: The Complete Chocolate Portraits” and “Lyle Ashton Harris: Blow Up.”

 


LYLE ASHTON HARRIS, “Gail Burton and Peggy Nelson,” Fort Greene, Brooklyn, late 1980s, from “Lyle Ashton Harris: Today I Shall Judge Nothing That Occurs” (Aperture, 2017)

 


LYLE ASHTON HARRIS, “Barron Claiborne and friends,” New York, mid-1990s, from “Lyle Ashton Harris: Today I Shall Judge Nothing That Occurs” (Aperture, 2017)

 


LYLE ASHTON HARRIS, “Essex Hemphill, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions,” 1992, from “Lyle Ashton Harris: Today I Shall Judge Nothing That Occurs” (Aperture, 2017)

 


LYLE ASHTON HARRIS, “Lyle Ashton Harris” Vatican City, 1992, Photo by Tommy Gear, from “Lyle Ashton Harris: Today I Shall Judge Nothing That Occurs” (Aperture, 2017)