DPI Professor Bayete Ross Smith Included In Uptown Triennial Group Exhibition

Monday, Jul 24, 2023

Spray painted boombox against a purple background.

Uptown Triennial 2023

See Bayete Ross Smith's piece, Got the Power: Boomboxes included in the 2023 Uptown Triennial. In collaboration with local residents, this ongoing project creates community portraits through music and oral histories that are given physical form as sculpted boom boxes that honor the boom box as a symbol of pride, power, and autonomy. 

Uptown Triennial 2023 is a visual arts tribute to the sonic world—in the realms of music, soundscapes, and spoken word—that resonates with the spirit of Harlem. The Triennial was originally conceived in 2017 as a survey of works by artists who live or practice north of 99th Street in Manhattan. The 2023 edition expands on the original conception with work by 22 studio, media, post-graffiti, interdisciplinary, and performing artists, from both upper Manhattan and beyond, whose work engages with the sonic inspirations of Harlem’s myriad histories, cultures, and pressing contemporary issues. 

Over the course of the twentieth century, Harlem became synonymous with urban musical culture inspired by the richly diverse populations of the neighborhood inclusive of African Americans with roots in the American south, Africans, Latine from the Caribbean, and beyond. As a result, the depth and range of sonic sources available to contemporary visual artists–from jazz to merengue to soundscapes to hip-hop and mixtapes—are representative of the rich cultural clashes and fusions that are creating new dialogues across the artistic disciplines. 

Included are works that deeply engage with the formal aspects of music and sometimes speech, honor musical traditions, embody the pulse of urban life, and that pay tribute to family legacies. Harlem as a crossroads of cultures and art’s ability to generate connections across difference are evident throughout Uptown Triennial 2023, intentionally engaging the senses and awakening a sense of possibility. Together, the works create an exchange of ideas that transcend any one concept of what is possible when visual artists account for the significance of the sonic sphere.

The exhibition is on view from June 23 - September 17, 2023.