As the awardee of the UOVO Prize, Edmonds receives a 50×50-foot public art installation on the façade of UOVO: BROOKLYN, the forthcoming Bushwick location of the art storage company that sponsors the prize, a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and a $25,000 cash grant.
“We’re so pleased to offer the UOVO Prize to John Edmonds, an artist whose gorgeous photographs negotiating the intersection of race, gender, sexuality and spirituality have been captivating us over the past several years,” said Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director of the Brooklyn Museum. “We can’t wait to share his ambitious body of work with Brooklyn, both inside the museum and outside on the UOVO: BROOKLYN façade.”
Edmonds is best known for his stylistic portraits of young Black men. The Washington D.C.-native uses photography and video to create still lifes that challenge art historical precedents by putting Black queer subjects in the center while making reference to religious paintings and modernist photography. Incorporating elements of Black fashion and community like hoodies, du-rags and African sculptures, his photography celebrates individual style while tapping into a shared visual language.
“Living and working in Brooklyn has deeply impacted and inspired my practice,” said Edmonds. “The public artwork with UOVO is an opportunity to examine themes central to my work, including the relationship between public and private perceptions. The way viewers encounter an image as a physical thing in time and space, instead of something reduced to the screen, has always been important to me. And I’m thrilled to work with the staff at the Brooklyn Museum and have my first solo museum presentation in the borough I call home.”
Edmonds earned his Master of Fine Arts in photography from Yale University and his Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. His recent group exhibitions include the 79th Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; “God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin” at David Zwirner, New York; “Family Pictures” at the Columbus Museum of Art; and “Face to Face” at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles.
Edmond’s public installation will debut in the fall of 2019, concurrent with the opening of UOVO: BROOKLYN, and the exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum will follow in 2020.
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