Parrish highlights diversity in 2 exhibitions

Surprises await at the Parrish Art Museum at Water Mill this summer.

For starters, there’s what appears to be a flag that’s actually a sewn-in maze with a hidden message (Freedom). Then there is the art of a Ugandan ancestral figure which is really a conglomeration of abandoned objects.

Indeed, the Watermill Museum itself surprises this season. The elegant venue with a wide array of masterpieces from the 19th to 21st centuries has become a hotbed for contemporary artists focused on social justice, racial and gender equality, wealth disparity, land use and more. It is about creating space and initiating a discourse. Reflecting on the Black Lives Matter movement and other calls for equality, conservatives felt it was time to act. “It’s certainly about engaging conversations, addressing themes that are happening in the world, and including voices that have long been excluded,” said senior curator Corinne Erni.

‘START IT’

To that end, artist Mickalene Thomas and her artistic collaborator, curator and collector Racquel Chevremont, two black women who work under the nickname Two Black Women, were asked to curate a major exhibition. They selected six international black female artists – Leilah Babirye, Torkwase Dyson, February James, Karyn Olivier, Kameelah Janan Rasheed and Kennedy Yanko – and more than 50 works, some created especially for the exhibition “Set It Off”, which is presented through July 24. The title and theme, Chevremont said, “are about making some noise and doing something big and loud.” Thomas succinctly described the idea behind the exhibition: “Disruption”.

WHAT “Set It Off” through July 24 and “Another Justice: US Is Them” from July 24 through November 24. 6

WHEN | WHERE 11am-5pm Monday, Thursday and Saturday-Sunday and 11am-8pm, Friday, Parrish Art Museum, 279 Montauk Hwy., Watermill

NEWS $12, $9 seniors, students free with ID and 17 and under; 631-283-2118, parrishart.org

WHAT “Faith Ringgold: Jazz Stories”

WHEN | WHERE Until June 26, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to Sunday, South Etna Montauk Foundation, 6 South Etna Ave., Montauk

NEWS Free; southetnamontauk.org

“We want to ignite, ignite and implement new ideas of women doing unpredictable work,” Thomas explained, citing large metal sculptures by Yanko that alter a medium traditionally associated with male artists with colorful veils of skins. paint that softens the edges. while addressing the sustainability of artists’ materials. You can see one in the meadow off Montauk Highway.

There are photographs, sculptures, installations and figurative and abstract paintings. “All the works are in conversation with each other, but we also have these individual moments where they almost feel like solo shows,” Chevremont said.

Thomas noted as surprising, “the power of the dialogue between the works individually, but also collectively, and the way each one stands tall as you go through each space. Then you want to come back more than once, and you start finding those connections from artist to artist.”

“I hope,” Chevremont said, “that the artwork touches visitors so that they think about it and want to come back and see it again.” Thomas added: “We hope not only that you want to go back, but that you’re so excited about it, that you’re inspired enough to want to bring someone else or tell someone else about it. go see him.”

JUSTICE FOR ALL

From late July to early November, “Another Justice: US Is Them,” a group exhibition curated by Erni with Hank Willis Thomas and For Freedoms, an artist collective working to inspire civic engagement. Previous For Freedoms projects used billboards across the country, encouraging people to vote. The Parrish will feature works by indigenous artists, including locals Jeremy Dennis and Shane Weeks and nationally acclaimed artists like Jeffrey Gibson and Marie Watt, on the 62-foot-tall Shinnecock Monument billboard in the East End.

Inside the galleries, issues of incarceration, visibility, disability, femininity, abuse of power, but also hope and healing, find a voice in the sculptures, paintings, installations, videos and fiber works. “It really is an engagement summer,” Erni said. “The central question is how can we all contribute to building a new society and a fairer society?” She added, “We give space to thought-provoking things through beauty.”

ARTISTIC RIFFS ON JAZZ LEGENDS

Act fast and you can catch “Faith Ringgold: Jazz Stories” at the South Etna Montauk Foundation through June 26. The nonagenarian artist, author and living legend presents drawings, prints and her famous quilts. When the Museum of Modern Art reopened a few years ago, IT hung Ringgold next to Picasso. The New Museum has just paid tribute to him with a major retrospective. Now you can get closer to both the great art and the big names in jazz.

Ringgold grew up in Harlem when Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie were in the neighborhood regularly. She captures the colors, lines, thrilling rhythms and dynamism of sensual singers, well-dressed dancers and soulful musicians.

— MARIE GREGOIRE

Julia P. Cluff