With the exhibition Harlem: Found Ways, the Cooper Gallery presents artistic visions, portraits, and projects specific to Harlem. Each artwork employs a distinct set of inquiries and innovative strategies to explore the Harlem community’s visual heritage and legacy or grapple with its new realities. The artists and projects have found ways—urgent, complex, intense, and mindful—to present tangled threads of dilemma and paradox, memory and memorial, beauty and poignancy, and also disruption and resilience. Collectively, they offer deeply thoughtful reflections and provocative portrayals of Harlem, allowing us to see it anew in this moment of transformation.
The fifty-five artworks, encompassing photography, mixed media, and installation, include photographer Dawoud Bey’s iconic portrait series “Harlem USA” and his recent series of urban landscapes “Harlem Redux;” a selection of works from Glenn Ligon, Howard Tangye, and Kehinde Wiley; and video and object installations from Nari Ward and Abigail DeVille. Found Ways also features a special installation of The Studio Museum in Harlem's project Harlem Postcards, 2000–2017.