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                                 STUDIO MUSEUM 50YEARS
She begins her tenure after 10 years as an independent curator, working in London and finishing stints at august Manhattan institutions including the Metropolitan Muse- um of Art and the Brooklyn and Whitney museums, as well as the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London.
Her London work includes Wandering/Wilding: Black- ness on the Internet and a series celebrating cyber femi- nism and queer nightlife. She has a book to be released in 2019 on what she termed Glitch Feminism.
And she starts at a fortuitous moment, as the Studio Museum sheds an old shell and occupies new and vastly expanded digs while it begins the second half of its first century and Harlem itself marks the area’s 100th anniversa- ry since it birthed the Harlem Renaissance.
“The Studio Museum has always been a place that I have called home,” Russell said. “It’s a place that I was brought
to with my parents at a very young age, so the community itself is meaningful to me in terms of myself as a woman
of color. Being a New York native, it’s a place I have always kept an eye on.”
Russell works closely with the museum’s current artists in residence, Allison Janae Hamilton, Tschabalala Self and Sable Elyse Smith.
She is also coordinating the innovative in Harlem series, a program that operates while the new building is under construction and spreads the museum’s influence through- out Harlem withinstallations at satellite locations like New York Public Library branches, Maysles Documentary Center and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
The series includes Studio Salon author talks, book clubs, and writing workshops linked to exhibitions, and Lil’ Studio, a Children’s Museum of the Arts program at the library that asks children “to create art based upon themes such as leadership, sustainability, kindness,” and large public instal- lations such as Maren Hassinger’s eight sculptures dotting Marcus Garvey Park.
Russell and the museum’s celebrated director, Thelma Golden --a curatorial tour de force in her own right –strive to keep the museum engaged with the community while constructing a new building, a towering structure that dwarfs the Studio Museum’s humble beginnings in 1968 when it opened in an 8,700-square foot loft space at 2033 Fifth Ave., a venue north of 125th Street.
“The new building is 82,000 square feet,” said Russell, adding that the museum launched a capital campaign
to raise $175 million for the project, a far cry from the $500,000 that was spent in 1981 to occupy the space it currently holds.
“What we are at now is a totally different scale,”
she said of the institution located at 144 West 125th Street, between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and
Lenox Avenue.
Indeed, the new building, set to open in the same foot print in 2021, is as ambitious as the museum’s mission to remain “the nexus for artists of African descent locally, nationally and internationally and for work that has been inspired and influenced by Black culture.”
”Elements of that philosophy are literally built into the design of what is sure to be a formidable edifice and a solid monument to Golden’s and the Studio Museum’s stature in the art world.
It is designed by Adjaye Associates in collaboration with Cooper Robertson, Russell said, and it will serve as many things to many people: a space that is welcoming to the Harlem community while retaining the respect of interna- tional audience.
“What is the future of Black art and how that can mani-
Larger-than-life sculptures and paintings share wall and floor space during recent exhibits at the Studio Museum in Harlem

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