The Ford Foundation is pleased to announce the opening of the Ford Foundation Gallery, an innovative exhibition space dedicated to presenting multidisciplinary art, performance, and public programming by artists committed to exploring issues of justice and injustice. The gallery’s inaugural exhibition, Perilous Bodies, opens March 5th and runs through May 11th.

The new 1,900-square-foot gallery is located at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, a landmark of modern architecture that serves as the foundation’s headquarters and reopened in November 2018 after a two-year renovation. In creating a space for artists whose work addresses pressing social issues, the foundation continues its decades-long history of investing in the arts to advance human welfare.

“The Ford Foundation Gallery is the latest reflection of our deep commitment to the arts, from supporting trailblazing dance and theater around the country to investing in transformative artists around the world who push boundaries and challenge the status quo,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “Arts and creative expression have played an indelible role in building social justice movements. We’re thrilled to open the doors of this special space, a forum for artists to experiment and create a vibrant and necessary dialogue with the public.”

With a mission focused on addressing inequality in all its forms, and providing more than $600 million annually in grant support to organizations on four continents, the Ford Foundation is a natural home for art that challenges viewers to grapple with fundamental questions of fairness and dignity.

Three exhibitions in this inaugural year offer varied interpretations on the theme of ​Utopian Imagination​. The trilogy of exhibitions, curated by Jaishri Abichandani and Natasha Becker, brings together a diverse group of international artists who use tactics from craft, activism, data visualization, and agitprop to point the way to a more just future.

According to Lisa Kim, director of the Ford Foundation Gallery, “Perilous Bodies explores the inhumanity and injustice created by divisions of gender, race, class, and ethnicity. The artists in the exhibition offer a raw and honest look at the issues we must address head-on to ensure dignity for all.”

The exhibition consists of photographs, sculpture, video, installation, and performance art in which artists incorporate their own cultural traditions to address oppression. Examples include David Antonio Cruz’s painting of violence against the trans community, Tiffany Chung’s lightbox installation depicting the shattering impact of the refugee crisis, and Hannah Brontë’s video of indigenous women reclaiming the power of the earth. Their artworks are powerful statements about ideas people are often quick to turn away from: black and brown bodies, refugee camps, the detritus of borderlands, broken earth. With these works, the artists seek to transform a world in peril into one we want to live in.

The evening of the opening reception will include a “spoken word opera” performance by artist Vanessa German.

Artists in the exhibition are: Dineo Seshee Bopape (South Africa), Hannah Brontë (Australia), Margarita Cabrera (Mexico/US), Mahwish Chishty (Pakistan/US), Tiffany Chung (Vietnam/US), David Antonio Cruz (US), Nona Faustine (US), Guillermo Galindo (Mexico/US), Vanessa German (US), Mohamed Hafez (Syria/US), Otobong Nkanga (Nigeria/Belgium), Jasmeen Patheja (India), Sara Rahbar (Iran/US), Wendy Red Star (US/Apsáalooke/Crow), Tenzing Rigdol (Nepal/India), Dread Scott (US), Teresa Serrano (Mexico), Thenmozhi Soundararajan (US), and Barthélémy Toguo (Cameroon/France).

The gallery will be open to the public Monday through Saturday 11 am – 6 pm during exhibition runs. Throughout the year, the venue will host exhibitions, discussions, and performances where the art world and the public can come together for contemplation and conversation in an inspiring, adaptive space.

About the curators

Jaishri Abichandani ​is a Brooklyn-based artist and curator. She received her MFA from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and founded the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective in New York and London. Abichandani​ ​served as the founding director of public events and projects at the Queens Museum. More recently, she engineered a collaboration between the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Asia Society, and the Queens Museum to organize a national convening and the exhibition “Lucid Dreams and Distant Visions.”

Natasha Becker ​is an independent curator and the co-founder of Assembly Room, a new platform for independent women curators in New York City. She was formerly senior curator at the Goodman Gallery in South Africa and before that, the assistant director of academic programs at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Born in South Africa, Becker has spent the past sixteen years living and working between Africa and America.

About the Ford Foundation Gallery

Opening in March 2019 at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice in New York City, the Ford Foundation Gallery aims to shine a light on artwork that wrestles with difficult questions, calls out injustice, and points the way toward a fair and just future. Our hope is for this to be a responsive and adaptive space, one that serves the public in its openness to experimentation, contemplation, and conversation. Located near the United Nations, the space is situated to draw visitors from around the world—and address questions that cross borders and speak to the universal struggle for human dignity.

The gallery is located inside the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice and is accessible to the public through an entrance on 42​nd​ Street, just east of Second Avenue.

For information about the Ford Foundation Gallery and its exhibitions, please contact:

Amani Olu
Olu & Company
[email protected]
1 (646) 330-1039

The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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