The Frieze Stand Prize has been awarded to Jenkins Johnson Gallery for its outstanding solo presentation of Ming Smith in the JAM (Just Above Midtown) section of the fair. Curated by Franklin Sirmans (Director, Pérez Art Museum Miami), JAM pays homage to the pioneering non-profit New York arts organization Just Above Midtown (JAM) and its founder Linda Goode Bryant.
San Francisco and New York based gallery Jenkins Johnson’s booth was selected by this year’s Stand Prize jury of leading international curators and directors: by Thelma Golden (Director and Chief Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem), Cathleen Chaffee (Chief Curator, Albright-Knox Art Gallery), and Nancy Spector (Artistic Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum).
Hauser & Wirth also received an honourable mention for their solo presentation of Jenny Holzer in the main section.
Nancy Spector (Artistic Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum) said: “Our decision to honor the JAM initiative in general and Ming Smith in particular was unanimous. We recognized that the presentation constituted an important recuperation of an artist’s practice that is not as well-known as it should be. Her booth at Frieze is filled with vintage prints, which is rare to see in the case of artists active in the 1970s and early ‘80s who did not have a market at that time. Her unique, experimental photographic style is very accomplished and should be celebrated. We also gave an honorable mention to Jenny Holzer to stand in solidarity with her right to freedom of expression and her searing critique of current world events.”
Frieze New York 2019 is open to the public from Friday May 3 until Sunday May 5, Featuring leading galleries from 26 countries and showcasing an extraordinary cross-section of work, from today’s most exciting emerging artists to seminal figures of the 20th century. Frieze New York is supported by global lead partner Deutsche Bank for the eighth consecutive year. (Sales report here from AMM.)
As a photographer Ming Smith (born Detroit; lives and works in New York City), documents everyday moments through her ethereal and transcendent works. Her work challenges any limiting notion of what African-American photography should look like. Combining a deliberate blurriness with experimental post-production techniques Smith’s work includes double exposed prints, collage, and painting, which amplify her photographs dream-like qualities.
Ming Smith’s works of the 1970s and 1980s, capture the impressions of her world with intimacy and wonder. Smith responds to the struggles of city living, while also celebrating the community and pride produced by it. Taking her camera with her as she traveled the world with her husband, jazz musician David Murray, these images are a chronicle of her discerning eye. Smith intermingles the resplendent and the magical with the trials of everyday life. Artistic, literary, and musical icons are found alongside anonymous lovers and neighborhood children. Through her own visual language of light and shade, fleeting moments are made timeless.
Ming Smith, born in Detroit, Michigan and raised in Columbus, Ohio is a graduate of Howard University. She was the first black female photographer collected by the Museum of Modern Art, the first female member of Kamoinge, and one of the first African American women to break the color barrier in modeling alongside Grace Jones. Smith’s work is in museum collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Museum, and the Schomburg Center.