Akeem Smith Explores '90s Dancehall Scene With NYC Solo Exhibition

Featuring archived photographs and VHS tapes alongside new sculptures.

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Arts
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For the first time ever, Red Bull Arts is uniting its programs in New York and Detroit with a traveling exhibition. “Akeem Smith: No Gyal Can Test” will be the first major solo presentation by artist and stylist Akeem Smith and will kick off Red Bull Arts New York in the spring before traveling to Detroit in the fall.

“Akeem Smith: No Gyal Can Test” is a deeply personal project that focuses on the artist’s experience growing up between New York City and Jamaica in the 1990s. Over the past decade, Smith has collected photographs and VHS tapes given to him by his family and friends. The extensive archive allows him to explore black style and the vibrant dancehall scene of the ’90s and early 2000s, while grappling with the tension between memory and photography.

Immersive video installations will be presented alongside large-scale sculptures constructed from the remnants of demolished structures from Smith’s childhood neighborhood of Waterhouse in Kingston, Jamaica. Placing historical artifacts next to readymade objects allows the archive to remain not a catalogue of the past, but a “larger, still-living exploration of a community rooted in celebration.”

“Akeem Smith: No Gyal Can Test” will be open to the public from April 10 to June 28 in New York City before heading to Red Bull Arts Detroit.

Elsewhere in art, James Turrell will display his long-running Glass series in this year’s Frieze Los Angeles art fair.

Red Bull Arts New York
220 W. 18th St.
New York, NY 10011

 

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