18:13 PM

Brooklyn Public Library Launches Creative-In-Residence Program with Artist William Kentridge


Inaugural Cohort of Creatives-In-Residence Includes Artists, Musicians, Scientists, Writers, and Architects

Inaugural Cohort of Creatives-In-Residence Includes Artists, Musicians, Scientists, Writers, and Architects

Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) today announces the launch of a Creative-In-Residence program in partnership with artist William Kentridge and his Johannesburg-based arts incubator the Centre for the Less Good Idea (CftLGI). Celebrating the importance of failure as generative force in the creative process, the joint BPL-CftLGI program will support an inaugural class of six Creatives-In-Residence to develop projects across disciplines from ideation to completion through six months of workshops, events, and public exhibitions, marking the Centre’s first ever collaboration with a U.S. institution. Conceived as an antidote to the highly competitive, success-obsessed atmosphere of the New York art world and American work culture at large, the BPL – CftLGI program aims to reframe the concept of failure, creating an environment where an open, iterative, and experimental artistic process is valued over the production of polished final products.

Kicking off with a public launch event featuring Kentridge at BPL’s Central Library on Thursday, December 5 from 7 - 9:00pm, the Creatives-In-Residence will refine their ideas through workshops and events over the course of Winter and Spring 2020. Through these workshops and panels, leaders in their respective fields and the public will be invited to provide feedback on in-progress iterations of their projects, and the program will conclude with an exhibition on view at Central Library from April through June 2020. Entitled In Praise of Failure, the exhibition will include new works generated by the Creatives-In-Residence alongside ephemera documenting their creative processes, as well as works by artists engaged with the Centre in Johannesburg, creating an artistic bridge between the two cities.

The inaugural group of Creatives-In-Residence includes:

  • Damali Abrams, video and performance artist whose work examines issues of self-improvement, race, class and gender.
  • ETHEL, Grammy-winning quartet made up of Ralph Farris (viola), Kip Jones (violin), Dorothy Lawson (cello), and Corin Lee (violin), blending conservatory musicianship with downtown genre-crossing.
  • Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, visual artist and poet whose work explores the interplay between aesthetics and politics in the public domain.
  • Jonathan Kirshenfeld, architect of environmentally and socially sustainable projects including numerous supportive housing projects throughout New York.
  • Laura Kurgan, architect and director of the Center for Spatial Research at Columbia University whose work explores the art, science, and visualization of big and small data and design environments for public engagement with maps and data.
  • Suzanne Menghraj, writer and NYU Global Liberal Studies professor whose teaching practice encourages students to manage uncertainty and become more attuned to the complexities of art, environment, reading, and writing within and across cultural boundaries.

Founded in 2014 by William Kentridge, the Centre for the Less Good Idea is an arts incubator based in Johannesburg, South Africa, that encourages dynamic thinking, artistic risk, and experimentation across disciplines of performance, music, visual and literary arts. Now in its fifth year, CftLGI is a physical space for artists and curators to bring together combinations of text, performance, image, and dance. The Centre believes an ensemble sees the world differently to how one individual does. It is a safe space for failure, for projects to be tried and discarded; a space for short form work which doesn’t have a natural home in a theatre or gallery.

Kentridge was previously commissioned by BPL to deliver the December 2018 edition of the Message from the Library, a series through which BPL invites artists and scholars to develop and deliver a public address on the most pressing artistic and social issues of our time from their perspective.

The BPL-Centre for the Less Good Idea Creatives-In-Residence program and resulting exhibition In Praise of Failure expand on Brooklyn Public Library’s mission to provide access to educational, economic, and cultural enrichment opportunities of the highest quality to the 2.6 million individuals who make Brooklyn home. Additional recent visual arts exhibitions and artist residencies at BPL include Performance is Public, an exhibition celebrating pioneering performance art space Franklin Furnace, Photo Requests from Solitary, an exhibition exploring the effects of solitary confinement in U.S. jails and prisons presented in collaboration with advocacy organization Solitary Watch, and Scoring the Stacks, a site-specific exhibition by BPL’s 2019 Katowitz Radin Artist-in-Residence Kameelah Janan Rasheed.

Further details on In Praise of Failure public programs and performances will be available in the coming weeks. For the latest on BPL’s arts and cultural programming, follow @BPLPresents on Instagram and @BPL_Presents on Twitter.