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Collection Highlight Houston Conwill's

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Houston Conwill
The Joyful Mysteries (1984–2034 A.D.), 1984
The Studio Museum in Harlem; Gift of the artist 91.6a–g

 

Also pictured (on wall):
Tom Lloyd
Narokan, 1965
The Studio Museum in Harlem; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Darwin K. Davidson 88.3

Photo: Adam Reich

Houston Conwill
The Joyful Mysteries (1984–2034 A.D.), 1984
The Studio Museum in Harlem; Gift of the artist 91.6a–g

The Joyful Mysteries (1984–2034 A.D.) (1984) are seven bronze time capsules created by Houston Conwill (b. 1947) and contain confidential testaments by seven distinguished black Americans: visual artist Romare Bearden (1911-1988); historian Lerone Bennett, Jr. (b. 1928); the first African-American mayor of Gary, Indiana, Richard Gordon Hatcher (b. 1933); attorney, activist and current United States Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (b. 1937); writer Toni Morrison (b. 1931); and opera singer Leontyne Price (b. 1927). The capsules will be opened in September 2034, fifty years after their creation. The time capsules were originally buried in the Studio Museum’s sculpture garden on August 12, 1984 with the assistance of ten New York City school children and were moved to their current location on the Museum's lower level in March 2013.

Houston Conwill was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He received a BFA from Howard University in 1973 and an MFA from the University of Southern California in 1976. He is the recipient of various commissions and awards, including the 1984 Prix de Rome and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in 1987. He is best known for large-scale sculptures and installations that he created in collaboration with poet Estella Conwill Majozo (b. 1949) and architect Joseph DePace (b. 1954), including Rivers (1991), the Langston Hughes Memorial at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.


Overall, Conwill’s artistic practice is concerned with notions of African-American space. In his words, he was “especially drawn to myth, ritual and the transmission of wisdom and culture across continents and generations.”


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