Elisa Smilovitz / 551.486.3273 / [email protected]
James Michael Nichols, BRIC / 718.683.5980 / [email protected]
B-side: (Broken) Memory and Remix
Co-curated by Jenny Gerow and Zahra Sherzad in collaboration with Taylor Dews
The group exhibition frames the artistic works of Camella Ehlke, David Ellis, Adama Delphine Fawundu, and Raque Ford in the context of what it means to remix.
On View: October 10, 2023 – January 21, 2024
David Ellis Monument to the Sounds of the Roland 808 Drum Machine, 2021
Flashe, gesso silver enamel on tobacco stained paper, 38.5 x 49.75 in, courtesy of the artist
BRIC, a leading, multi-disciplinary arts and media institution anchored in downtown Brooklyn, is pleased to presentB-side: (Broken) Memory and Remix,a group exhibition curated by Jenny Gerow,BRIC Chief Curator of Contemporary Art and Zahra Sherzad, Art Curator and Producer, and in collaboration with Taylor Dews, Curatorial Intern. B-side: (Broken) Memory and Remix brings together the works of four artists, Camella Ehlke, David Ellis, Adama Delphine Fawundu, and Raque Ford, to explore remix as a crucial method of creation within the Hip-Hop musical genre. In the era where Hip-Hop celebrates and takes a look back at 50 years of cultural innovation, these four artists illuminate the fact remixing is an expansive framework for composing new futures with poetic resonance, and much like the experimental remixes found on a Hip-Hop artist’s B-side tracks, encourages ongoing dialogue and constant creative evolution.The exhibition will be on view at BRIC House (647 Fulton St.) in the Main Gallery from October 10, 2023 to January 21, 2024, with an opening reception on Tuesday, October 10, from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. To attend the opening reception, pleaseRSVP.
The B-side of a vinyl record or a single refers to the second track on the flip side of the record, with the A-side being the primary or featured track. It wasn’t uncommon for the B-side to feature a song that in some cases, artists and record labels would use to experiment with different styles or feature a remix, instrumental version, or alternate take of the A-side. Remixing as a transformative process plays an important role in contributing to the rich tapestry of Hip-Hop’s cultural landscape. This highlights the dynamic nature of creativity but also encourages ongoing cultural dialogue and evolution.
The term (broken) memory in the title is used as a provocation, a question of how to attend to the history of Hip-Hop with total fidelity. Hip-Hop music through sampling, remixing, mash-ups, and covers outlines a history meant to preserve memory as fragments. In this way, remix can be seen as a way forward, a sonic metaphor for the active reinvention of Black life as a means for repairing colonial ruptures. To remix, as put by scholar Katherine McKittrick, is to “engender new contexts with old histories.” And in this way, these four artists illuminate the fact that Black Diasporic remixing has always been a part of a broader survival strategy of storytelling and preserving memory.
Each artist incorporates the remix concept in various ways, often with a bent toward the personal, including photography, painting, and sculpture. They reuse and repurpose materials and references to create new works, a constant reinvention that speaks to the conceptual ideas of Hip-Hop and the aesthetics it’s known for. David Ellis’ Monument to the Sounds of the Roland 808 Drum Machine honors what is considered the most “boombastic” programmable drum machine of all time. Forty years ago, the Roland TR-808 drum machine revolutionized music and continued to be part of Hip-Hop culture and sound. Ellis, who is known for his large scale murals and graffiti projects with Barnstormers, presents a monument scaled to be intimate, dedicated to percussive storytellers in the form of a sonic deity. The abstract figure is the visualization of distinctive resonated sounds, the rhythms of the last four decades.
Meanwhile, Camella Ehlke has created a series of anthropomorphic backpacks that act as a cast of characters that could be found at a downtown 90’s dance party. Each backpack is created by combining cut-up pieces of donated streetwear clothing and textiles from various brands like Noah, Aime Leon Dore, Champion, Off White, and 555 Soul, which Ehlke founded in 1989. Just as fashion constantly references itself, Ehlke considers the aesthetics of the brands whose fabric she works with and reflects this while creating unique pieces that combine 90s Hip-Hop and street style, as well as her cosmic spirit with contemporary fashion. This process continues with a series of Ehlke’s “wearable” chairs placed around the gallery. Two chairs are repurposed with wrapped fat shoe laces and 3 other chairs are covered with repurposed deadstock fabric to the backpacks.
Continuing to activate the space is Raque Ford’s large scale Photocopy Dream, a minimalist sculpture made out of a checkerboard of opaque and mirrored plexiglass, her signature flower symbols, and black and white xeroxed prints, remnants from laser cuttings and monoprints. Mining the history of her late father Robert Ford, a pioneer of Hip-Hop music management, the history of this musical genre is personal. Words bring in an additional layer of abstraction, coaxing viewers on a disparate poetic choreography across the work. Photocopy Dream will act as a stage for BRIC JazzFest and other events, adding to the artifact of this event and adding further to the aesthetic of scratches, scuffs, and indents.
Adama Delphine Fawundu, who documented through photography the Hip-Hop scene in the 1990s, creates scroll-like artwork inspired by the neighborhood and people of Crown Heights and the burgeoning Hip-Hop music scene. Hanging from the ceiling and walls, And it Don’t Stop is an expansion of a work she made for Clea rsky Gallery in 2022 that was installed outside and exposed to the elements for 3 months, the cyanotypes and photo prints faded and worn. Fawundu loves this aging, and her mix of archival materials further refers to an imprinted history, utilizing cassette tapes, blank negatives, and her grandmother’s textiles to create a continuous stream of memories that represents an unbroken narrative of her neighborhood. Like Ford, the physical object also contains a memory, the essence and elements of what is passed down and through these materials.
B-side: (Broken) Memory and Remix will be on view during the same exhibition cycle asJenny Polak: Homeward Bound, curated byBRIC Curatorial Associate Maria McCarthy in BRIC’s Project Room. Coffee + Conversation will take place on November 4, 2023. Please check BRIC’s website and social media for updates and further public programming associated with the exhibitions.
Jenny Gerow, BRIC Chief Curator, Contemporary Art, said:
“In honor of BRIC’s commitment to the legacy of Hip-Hop as well as its continuance, this exhibition highlights remix as an expansive framework to address both of these concerns through contemporary art. The exhibition looks at the musical genre of Hip-Hop as a Diasporic tool, one that cannot be broken or lost because it comes from a tradition of constant remix; that is, one of reinvention, re-definition.”
Zahra Sherzad, co-exhibition curator, said:
“I’m excited to collaborate in BRIC’s celebration of 50 years of Hip-Hop. In this exhibition, we approach the history of Hip-Hop through an abstract lens, invoking its experimental roots.”
Learn more about the exhibition here: https://www.bricartsmedia.org/art-exhibitions/b-side-broken-memory-and-remix
David Ellis (he/him)
Born in North Carolina; based in New York City
In his artwork, David Ellis explores the intersection of urban and rural land and mind-scapes, recorded conversations, music, and kinetic flow. He has had featured solo and collaborative installations and exhibitions include presentations at Rice University Gallery, TX; The Center for Contemporary Art, Cincinnati, OH; South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art Winston Salem, NC; and the Huntington Museum of Art, WV. His work has been included in group shows at the Museum of Modern Art, P.S. 1, Roebling Hall Gallery, Jeffrey Deitch Projects, and Joshua Liner Gallery, New York, NY. Ellis has held residencies with Savannah College of Art and Design’s Red Gallery, GA; Landmarks at the University of Texas, Austin; and The Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, PA. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants, including the New York 2011 PULSE Prize. Prominent collections include The Margulies Warehouse, The Deutsche Bank Collection, Saatchi Collection, Beth Rudin DeWoody, and Hadley Martin Fisher Collection. Notable commissions include work for Blue Note Records, Nobu Porcupine Creek, CA, Neuehouse, NYC.
Camella Ehlke (she/her)
Based in Brooklyn, New York
Camella Ehlke is a designer and artist who works with the sewing machine as her paintbrush, creating sculptures and designed objects characterized by uneven shapes, pillowy textures, and vibrant patterns made of surplus clothing fabric and shoelaces. Since starting her company 555 Soul at the age of nineteen, Ehlke has consistently demonstrated dedication to her craft and creativity. In the past and present, Ehlke’s 151 Ludlow storefront has served as both a fashion house and the convening space for musicians and visual artists. In 2001, she received recognition as one of Crain’s New York Business 40 under 40, highlighting her outstanding achievements and leadership in the fashion industry at a young age. In 2019, she showcased her remarkable talent in the Guilty by Association Hey What’s Up showcase, captivating audiences with her unique artistic vision through a mixed-media furniture collection. Hey What’s Up includes a collaboration with renowned fashion designer Virgil Abloh, solidifying her status as a prominent figure in the industry and showcasing her ability to bring a foundational perspective to the forefront of fashion.
Adama Delphine Fawundu (she/her)
Born and lives in Brooklyn, NY
Adama Delphine Fawundu is a photographer and visual artist of Bubi, Mende, Bamileke, and Krim descent. Her distinct visual language centers on themes of indigenization and ancestral memory. Fawundu co-published the critically acclaimed book MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. Her solo exhibition, In the Spirit of Áṣẹ is currently on view at the Newark Museum of Art. She has presented her work at The Tate Modern, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Harvard University amongst many other institutions. Her past fellowships and residencies include: BRIClab and the Project for Empty Space, NJ; and she is currently in residence at the Fountainhead in Miami, Fl. Fawundu has received awards from the Catchlight Fellowship, the Anonymous Was A Woman Award, New York Foundation for The Arts Photography Fellowship, and the Rema Hort Mann Artist Grant, amongst others. Her works are in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art; Princeton University Museum and The Petrucci Family Foundation of African American Art, both NJ; Bryn Mawr College, PA; The Brooklyn Historical Society; Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach, FL; The David C. Driskell Art Collection, College Park, MD; and a number of private collections. She is an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at Columbia University.
Raque Ford (she/her)
Born in Columbia, Maryland; based in Brooklyn, New York
Raque Ford’s work combines elements of sculpture, printmaking, and writing to explore themes of identity, race, and gender. Ford has held solo exhibitions at Greene Naftali, 321 Gallery and Shoot the Lobster, all NY; and, Good Weather Gallery, IL, Capital in San Francisco, CA. Ford’s group exhibitions include Albright Knox Gallery, MoMA PS1, Kai Matsumiya, and SculptureCenter, all in NY; Morán Morán in Mexico City, MX; Roberta Pelan in Toronto, Ont.; and Division Gallery in Montreal, Qc. Ford’s work has found a place in prominent museum collections, including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
BRIC’s Contemporary Art program benefits from generous private funding from Ford Foundation, Harold and Colene Brown Family Foundation, Robert Lehman Foundation, and TD Ready Commitment. Public support is provided, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council.
BRIC is a leading arts and media institution anchored in Downtown Brooklyn whose work spans contemporary visual and performing arts, media, and civic action. For over forty years, BRIC has shaped Brooklyn’s cultural and media landscape by presenting and incubating artists, creators, students, and media makers. As a creative catalyst for our community, we ignite learning in people of all ages and centralize diverse voices that take risks and drive culture forward. BRIC is building Brooklyn’s creative future. Learn more at bricartsmedia.org.
ABOUT BRIC Hip-Hop
BRIC Hip-Hop is an evergreen home for the education, expression, and evolution of Hip-Hop. Expanding beyond our BRIC headquarters in Brooklyn, our programming pushes against boundaries of time and space, providing full-circle access to exchanges that bridge ideas with incubation and drive Hip-Hop culture forward.