Two art exhibitions depicting catastrophic 2020 announced at St. John’s University

Photo courtesy of Azikiwe Mohammed

St. John’s University announced the opening of two art exhibitions featuring the unprecedented challenges of the year 2020 at the Dr. M.T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery.

The exhibition, “Azikiwe Mohammed: 11439-3902,” will be on view at the Yeh Art Gallery from Feb. 10 to April 25. The second exhibition, “Unprecedented: Posters from a World on Pause,” will be an online exhibition that one can access here from Feb. 1 to March 30.

“11439-39202” features works inspired by stories from Queens residents during the year 2020, as well as Mohammed’s own journey through the borough. 

Presenting a new series of large-scale quilted and embroidered works, this is the first exhibition to focus on Mohammed’s fiber art, a style of art that uses textiles. This exhibition looks at the larger-scale, underlying issues of inequality that the virus has uncovered in places like Jamaica, Queens, and Jackson, Miss., as told through the lived experiences of the Black, brown and marginalized communities across America. The quilts are displayed in an enveloping log cabin environment, alluding to the domestic spaces where quilts have been traditionally produced. The Coby Foundation, Ltd. is a supporter of this exhibition.

“Unprecedented: Posters from a World on Pause” features St. John’s first virtual exhibition created by students in the M.A. Museum Administration Program: Taylor Lyons ‘21, Madeleine Schulz ‘21, Stephanie Zambrana ‘21 and Mengke Zhang ‘22. 

The exhibition displays around 35 posters, gifs and videotapes that were handpicked from thousands of artworks provided by the activist organization Amplifier Foundation as well as The United Nations, which partnered with UK-based online art network and brand collaboration agency, Talenthouse Business.

In their selection process, the student curators researched and organized the exhibition around “Borderless Hygiene,” “Social Justice Amidst a Pandemic,” “What We Owe Each Other” and “Pandemic Heroes” themes. This 3-D virtual exhibit takes place in a museum with two rooms. It includes interactive labels that contain the students’ research on the exhibited artifacts.

“I hope visitors also take time to visit the virtual exhibition’s second room, where they can watch a 30-minute videotaped conversation among the student curators about their collaborative work to realize this impressive project,” said Dr. Susan Rosenberg, director of the M.A. Museum program, who oversaw the student’s curatorial project.

Since its launch in September 1994, the Dr. M.T. Geoffrey Yeh Art Gallery has been committed to exhibiting all forms of contemporary artwork by featuring the Queens campus works of art. The gallery highlights well-known and emerging artists of regional, national, and international backgrounds.

Some of its recent exhibitions included “Particia Domínguez: Planetary Tears,” “Chen Dongfan: Sanctuary” and “Fevzi Yazici: DARK WHITE.”

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