Nancy Lane, Spirit Behind Studio Museum of Harlem, dies at 88


In an interview with The The story makers digital archive in 2016, Ms Lane said she first discovered the Studio Museum while watching a TV show on its Artists in Residence program. She decided to visit.

“I’m not sure I’ve ever been to Harlem until I came up at that time,” she said.

As head of its building committee, Ms Lane helped inaugurate plans to replace the current museum building with one designed by the Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye in joint venture with the New York architecture firm Cooper Robertson. The new building will cover the museum’s current site at 144 West 125th Street near Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and adjacent land.

The Studio Museum, Ms Lane told the International Journal of African-American Art“has been a powerful force in transforming the global art world, launching and advancing the careers of hundreds of artists of African descent and exposing generations of audiences to powerful experiences with art and artists” .

Among these artists, many of whom have been personally championed by Ms Lane, are Mark Bradford, Awol Erizku, Sam Giliam, Wangechi Mutu, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems and Kehinde Wiley. Another was Elizabeth Catlett, who died in 2012.

Alvin Hall, who shared the chairmanship of MoMA’s Black Arts Council with Ms Lane, recalled: “As an art collector and patron, Nancy was truly thrilled to see works of art in her own home and in institutions that made him see and think differently.

“The art also lifted Nancy’s spirit,” Mr Hall added. “She said of a large photo she hung at the foot of her bed, ‘When I wake up in the morning, I want to see a strong black woman.’ This daily elevation was what art gave to Nancy, and she gave it back by tirelessly supporting many artists and museums.

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