Press preview November 3rd, 10am
Opening reception Wednesday, November 4th, 6-9 PM
November 4th - November 28th
Robert Blumenthal Gallery is pleased to present a timely site-specific installation by Derek Fordjour.
The third floor of Derek Fordjour's childhood home was dedicated to a prayer room where his mother, a Ghanaian immigrant, would retreat to sing hymns and pray for her three sons' safety growing up in Memphis, Tennessee. They called it "the Blue Room," but lots of families have an Upper Room, a safe space for the fear and vulnerability not often expressed in the streets.
Fordjour recreates that psychic space by transforming Robert Blumenthal Gallery, which will be filled with a large hand sewn patchwork tent constructed of African fabric and burlap, a dirt floor, and dead trees which recreate Fordjour’s memories of the outdoor church revival: both a spiritually potent event and a nerve-racking experience of being in the woods at night in the deep south. Inside, remnants from the tired circus of violence: hundreds live flowers evocative of sidewalk memorials hang from the ceiling, while overhead a police scanner broadcasts into the gallery live from the New York City streets. Elvis– whose nearby Graceland mansion saved Fordjour’s neighborhood from urban blight– sings various hymns, some by African American composers. A bodega style sign hangs above the entrance like a busted marquee advertising aspirations, like a casino where guests are set to lose. The Upper Room offers a futile, but vital, hope.
Derek Fordjour studied at Pratt Institute. He is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta Georgia, earned a Master’s Degree in Art Education from Harvard University and is currently completing an MFA in painting at Hunter College. His work has appeared in group shows at Papillion and Roberts & Tilton Gallery in Los Angeles, Sotheby's S2 Gallery in New York and Jack Bell Gallery in London. His work has been reviewed in the L.A. Times, Huffington Post and Brooklyn Rail. His work appears in several collections throughout the US and Europe. He lives and works in New York City.
Robert Blumenthal Gallery
1045 Madison Avenue
New York, NY, 10075
T. (646) 852-6332