Envisioned as a new and innovative space in which to showcase the finest contemporary art from Africa and the African Diaspora, the Kyle Kauffman Gallery is breaking ground with exhibitions by emerging, highly-skilled, young African artists, as well as by world-renowned, contemporary masters.
The newest addition to the red-hot art scene in New York City, the Gallery mounts tightly focused group exhibitions as well as solo exhibitions by some of Africa's most gifted artists. The Kyle Kauffman Gallery opened September 2007 in its first location, between the Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen neighborhoods. After a year and half at our 39th street gallery, we moved to a larger space in Chelsea, at our current location at 150 West 25th street.
The inaugural exhibition, â€˜Not So Black and White: South African Contemporary Art', drew on works by both artists who are represented by the Kyle Kauffman Gallery and other artists whose work the Gallery also promotes and exhibits. Many of the works in the show explore the nuanced realities of memory and history in South Africaâ€TMs racially charged past. Other works in the exhibition deal with more universal issues, such as racial and gender identity.
None of these overarching themes lend themselves to easy analysis. Instead, subtle interpretations remain key to understanding the cultural, social, and economic fabric of the â€œNewâ€ South Africa. The extremes of Apartheid, while still visible in many areas of society, are increasingly being blurred. Regardless, if one is trying to understand poverty, the cause and spread of HIV/AIDS, the high murder rate, or the massive flight of skilled workers from the country, neither the questions nor the answers are black and white, but instead, many shades of grey.
The focus of this space is to exhibit the highest quality artwork by both established and emerging artists from Africa and the African Diaspora. By doing so, the Kyle Kauffman Gallery provides a unique perspective on the vast and ever-emerging contemporary art scene by presenting new and exciting examples of the cultural and aesthetic production of Africa, the area of the world almost completely neglected by other art galleries and cultural institutions.
Prior to shifting his energies to the development of a contemporary art space in New York, Dr. Kauffman was a highly successful tenured economics professor in Boston. The recipient of numerous awards for his teaching and for his research, he was most recently the Jaan Walther Whitehead Professor of Critical Thought and Associate Professor of Economics at Wellesley College and Research Fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University. He has also been affiliated with the London School of Economics, the University of Cape Town (South Africa), and the University of Chicago. He has written widely on contemporary and historical economic issues in Africa, the United States, and Europe. His most recent work looked at how the HIV/AIDS pandemic is affecting various aspects of the South African economy, such as unemployment, exchange rates, and inflation which resulted in a book, Aids and South Africa: The Social Expression of a Pandemic (Palgrave-Macmillan).
In addition to Dr. Kauffmanâ€TMs work in economics, he has curated several exhibitions on contemporary African art in a number of countries and has lectured and written extensively on contemporary African art for outlets ranging from museum catalogs to Flash Art magazine. In 2003, he co-curated AIDSART/SOUTH AFRICA at the South African National Gallery in Cape Town. The exhibition was one of the first group shows in Africa to confront the subject of AIDS. The Kyle Kauffman Gallery will continue this tradition, by mounting a body of work that in addition to being meaningful aesthetically and culturally, explores themes that are socially, economically and politically relevant.