“My work begins with a quotidian engagement in a new translation of our socio-political and racial climates through space and structure. It is about asking publics to reclaim power, a territory, a place, a relationship, that they may not have recognized.”
— Heather Hart
August 3, 2021 Buffalo, NY — The University at Buffalo Art Galleries is pleased to present Heather Hart: Afrotecture (Re)Collection, a newly commissioned installation by Brooklyn-based artist Heather Hart. With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and partnerships with Assembly House 150 and the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, this exhibition launches a new line of inquiry by the artist and will serve as a gathering space for the UB and Buffalo communities through the 2021-22 academic year.
Known for creating life-size re-creations of rooftops and porches that visitors can walk, climb, and gather on, Hart brings liminal spaces of African American culture into art and museum spaces. Afrotecture (Re)Collection marks a pivot in Hart’s practice to an investigation into historically specific architectural spaces of African American history and memory. Over the past two years, Hart has researched the history and architecture of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968. At UB Center for the Arts Gallery, Hart will present an installation that quotes the balcony as a space for memorial, reflection, gathering, and celebration where visitors can move through and walk on the sculptural interpretation of this balcony. At the center of the new work is a question Heather Hart and UB Art Galleries curator Liz Park pose, “How do we build a space of memory for ourselves and our communities in the future?”
The exhibition will be accompanied by a free broadsheet publication with essays by Liz Park, UB Art Galleries Curator of Exhibitions, Charles L. Davis II, Assistant Professor of architectural history and criticism at the University at Buffalo, and Henry Louis Taylor, Jr., Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University at Buffalo. Through August and September, Hart and UB Art Galleries will work with Assembly House 150, a nonprofit art, design, construction incubator, and experiential learning center in Buffalo, to build the exhibition. Art Galleries front line staff, including student workers, will train in facilitated dialogue techniques with the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center to create an environment of inquiry and reflection in the galleries. On Thursday, August 12, UB Art Galleries will host two town-hall events with the UB and Buffalo communities to build more partnerships as the galleries are meant to be activated and used for class visits, programming, and other gatherings. Email Emily Reynolds, Marketing Manager, to join the town halls.
“It is our responsibility as an organization dedicated to art and ideas to engage with the platform that Heather has built to reflect, study, memorialize, as well as envision coalitions and social movements for the future,” said Park. “We look forward to working with our creative and thoughtful partners on and off campus to do this collective work.”
“As the country and the arts sector begin to imagine returning to a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce funding that will help arts organizations such as UB Art Galleries reengage fully with partners and audiences,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “Although the arts have sustained many during the pandemic, the chance to gather with one another and share arts experiences is its own necessity and pleasure.”
Hart’s research and exhibition are supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. This project is also one of several UB Art Galleries exhibitions that are supported by a Program Grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Heather Hart is an interdisciplinary artist exploring the power in thresholds, questioning dominant narratives, and creating alternatives through viewer activation. A 2021–22 Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Hart was awarded grants from Anonymous Was A Woman, the Graham Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation, and the Jerome Foundation, NYFA, and Harpo Foundation. Hart co-founded Black Lunch Table in 2005 and has won a Creative Capital award, Wikimedia Foundation grants, and an Andy Warhol Foundation of Art grant with that project. Her work has been exhibited at the Queens Museum, Storm King Art Center, The Kohler Art Center, NCMA, Eastern Illinois University, Seattle Art Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and University of Toronto, Scarborough among others. Hart is a lecturer at Mason Gross School for Art + Design and a trustee at Storm King Art Center. She works with Davidson Gallery in New York and studied at Skowhegan, Whitney ISP, Cornish College of the Arts, Princeton University and received her MFA from Rutgers University.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent agency of the United States federal government that offers support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence. It was created by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. For more information on the projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
About the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts
Founded in 1956, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts fosters the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society.
About the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, the mission of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts is the advancement of the visual arts. The foundation manages an innovative and flexible grants program while also preserving Warhol’s legacy through creative and responsible licensing policies and extensive scholarly research for ongoing catalogue raisonné projects. To date, the foundation has given over $218 million in cash grants to over 1,000 arts organizations in 49 states and abroad and has donated 52,786 works of art to 322 institutions worldwide.
About UB Art Galleries
The University at Buffalo Art Galleries’ mission is to support art and ideas that are urgent and relevant to our time and place. A unique art museum with locations in the Center for the Arts and UB Anderson Gallery, UB Art Galleries presents year-round exhibitions, providing students and the broader community access to thought-provoking art, visiting artists, and stimulating educational programs. With a growing collection and archives, UB Art Galleries provides experiential learning opportunities for students, faculty, and researchers. Learn more about how UB Art Galleries advances art as both inquiry and creative practice available to everyone at ubartgalleries.buffalo.edu.