• installation view of Stages of Kingdom and Exile,
  • 2016,
  • Jessica Smolinski
  • installation view Stages of Kingdom and Exile,
  • 2016,
  • Jessica Smolinski
  • Installation view of Stages of Kingdom and Exile,
  • 2016,
  • Jessica Smolinski
  • Installation view of Stages of Kingdom and Exile,
  • 2016,
  • Jessica Smolinski
  • 2016 Student Apprentices,
  • 2016,
  • Chris Randall
  • Opening Reception of Stages of Kingdom and Exile,
  • 2016,
  • Chris Randall
  • Installation view of Stages of Kingdom and Exile,
  • 2016,
  • Jessica Smolinski

During the month of July, our Summer Apprentices, 18 teens from 8 New Haven public high schools who will collaborate with New York City-based artist Wardell Milan (Yale MFA ’04) to produce a larger-than-life body of work.  These students were selected based on their unique commitments to the visual, performing and literary arts and their desire to explore the themes of Milan’s ongoing photography-based series Kingdom or Exile: Parisian Landscapes (2013-present).  Under Milan’s tutelage, the apprentices will explore how social spaces shape and inform identity, gender and sexuality. Artspace’s program is specifically designed to create a safe and accepting space where LGBTQ youth and mentors can meet, organize and collaborate, and also welcome teens who identify as LGBTQ, gender-non conforming or questioning, and their allies, through lively public programs over the span of the exhibition and beyond.

Milan will lead the students in exercises that mirror his studio process.  Students will cull, cut and strategically assemble found images from personal photo albums and social media feeds with images from newspapers, journals, advertisements and popular media sources. The resulting social landscapes will blur the overall line between fact and fiction and call into question male/female, interior/exterior, top/bottom, private/public, present/past and subject/object binaries. During the course of the program, the students will build large-scale sets, which will also serve as backdrops for spoken-word and theater-based works. The sets will encourage the viewer to interact with and surrender to a space of ambiguity and gender fluidity.

Under the mentorship of theater artists Aaron Jafferis and Dexter Singleton (Creative Consciousness Theater), Jeremy O. Harris (Yale School of Drama) and Daniela Puliti the students will devise and perform original text-based works for each stage set. They will present these at the opening reception on Friday, July 22, from 4-7pm, free and open to all.  An awards ceremony for the students will take place at the reception, at 5 pm.

Throughout the run of the exhibition, from July 22 – September 10, Artspace invites community organizers to use this project and the Artspace Gallery as a platform for their work. We especially welcome meetings, performances or workshops that promote queer pride, education and the development of supportive settings for New Haven’s LGBTQ youth.  If your organization is interested in holding an event, please contact Artspace’s Community Engagement Manager Tambira Armmand, tambira@artspacenh.org. To date, our community partners include: LGBTQ Youth Kickback, Literary Happy Hour, and Collective Consciousness Theater.

A companion exhibition of sculptural figures, 49+ (Orlando), by artist/critic Jonathan Weinberg will also be on view.  Serving as a commemorative installation to those who were killed at the Pulse nightclub on June 12th, this exhibition underscores the significant work that still remains to be done to accept, honor, defend and protect those living in our most vulnerable communities.

Wardell Milan (b. 1977, Knoxville, Tennessee) is a Brooklyn based artist whose practice includes drawing, painting, photo-diorama and collage. He received his MFA in photography from Yale University in 2004, and his BFA from the University of Tennessee in 2001.  His recent exhibitions include The Charming Hour at David Nolan Gallery in NYC, Greater New York at P.S.1 MoMA,  Kingdom or Exile: Parisian Landscapes at the Savannah College of Art and Design and Body Language at The Studio Museum in Harlem. From 2006-07, Milan was a resident at The Studio Museum. His work can be found in various public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Denver Art Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Studio Museum in Harl­­em, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Artspace wishes to thank TD Bank, The Seymour Lustman Fund, and generous individuals including:

Bill Aseltyne & Jeff Stryker
Robert Bienstock & Eder Errechin
Ed Bottomley & Tom Griggs
Bob Buckholz & LizAnn Fontaine
Grace Brady
Johanna Bresnick
The Carolans
David Carter & Bob Parker
Joan Channick & Ruth Hein Schimitt
Lynn Fiellin
Joan Fitzsimmons
Greg Futoma & Cathy DeMeo
John Stuart Gordon & Justin Zaremby
Bill & Jean Graustein
Linda Lindroth
The Marber Family
Susan McCaslin
Ruby Melton & Gail McAvay
Michael Morand & Frank Mitchell
Phil Muzio
David Newton
Maryann Ott
Sam & Martha Peterson
Chris Pettker & Hope Metcalf
Jason & Christina Price
Claire Ruud & Jonas N.T. Becker
Ronnie & Tori Rysz
Gerry Saladyga & Daniel Pardy
Colin & Amy Sheehan
Staci & Cutter Smith
Len Suzio
Jason Stanley & Njeri Thande
Amy Wrzesniewksi & Anthony Law
Timothy Young & John Hill