NADA Curated by Daonne Huff

Like a child
or I go on the playground swings when no one’s around
or giggle is such an embodied word (For Eloise Greenfield)
November 8 – January 2, 2023

Curatorial Statement:
As my great-grandmother Ma Bessie told it, when I was a little thing in the late 1980s, likely no more than five and not pleased with being placed in the back row for a dance recital, I pushed my way to the front and proceeded to do in her words, “the funky chicken.” I have no recollection of this, and fact-checking feels disrespectful. But her repeated storytelling imprinted the tale into me. That action became a marker of who I was and must still be in parts, traces, or essence, under and within the patinas of time. I have made intentional efforts to strengthen my tie to that chubby-cheeked, gap-toothed, natural haired little Black girl in tutu, leotard, and ballet shoes. More than thirty years later, after seeing me front row and centered in a fantastical handmade costume performing within a collective of experimental musicians and artists, my mom said, “I’m glad she found friends to play with.”
Like a child was an outreach search for ultimately twenty-one artists who embrace, respond to, or collaborate with their own or another child-self in spite of or because of the acknowledgement that we can learn a thing or two from children about being in the moment, letting go, and seeing the magic in the everyday. 
Like a child who dresses themselves in whatever color, pattern, or texture combination that strikes their fancy, the works on view embrace the full array of the Crayola box, the junk drawers and the stock of JoAnn’s while pushing to the back of the closet the uniform of black, black, and more black. 
Like a child who is amused for hours by a cardboard box, if the world didn’t look the way they wanted it, in the way they needed it, the selected artists created ones that did on paper and canvas, in their bedroom, on a soundstage, in the great outdoors.
But also like a child, sometimes a time out is necessary to sit, process, and heal from the trials and tribulations that life throws their way. It seems to only get harder with age to make that space.
I hope you feel in these offerings something familiar, and will permit your own inner funky chicken, rabbit, pony to come out and play sometime. And here’s a playlist to help reset.

–Daonne Huff, Director of Public Programs at The Studio Museum in Harlem