Cultbytes features Kenya Hanley’s work in an overview of the 2019 Outsider Art Fair.
Amidsts cutesy boutiques, and tree-lined streets, a small gallery gets ready for an intimate opening night. The artists and their families slowly fill up the space to celebrate an exciting night of collaboration. Located in DUMBO, Brooklyn, LAND Gallery provides a place for artists normally designated as "outsiders" to develop their craft, integrating them into the community as working artists.
Priscilla Frank introduces our new exhibition, Blackboard, for The Huffington Post:
The ethos of LAND Gallery is not a mawkish, put-your-feelings-on-the-paper, everything-is-art vibe. Everyone making work under LAND’s guidance is a serious artist who devotes his or her days to creating serious work. Yet LAND’s ungrudging openness toward the artists they foster embodies a constructive spirit that more places ― schools, galleries, or just individuals hovering over their laptops ― should embrace. LAND is a space for outsiders and insiders, which is to say, such distinctions do not hold within its doors.
Cartoonish yet elegant drawings of delicious cakes in neat piles and meticulously organized bowls of fruit: this is the work of artist Kenya Hanley. For the past 10 years, Hanley has been a resident at LAND (League Artists Natural Design) Gallery, a studio that has dedicated itself to providing a space for artists, such as Hanley, with developmental disabilities. Hanley has been independently making work since he was a child, exploring notions of unhealthy vs. healthy foods, lists, music, and TV.
Even in the sea of galleries that populate New York City, it's hard to find rosters that feature artists with disabilities. The entire roster of the Dumbo based LAND—League, Artists Natural Design—Gallery, however, consists of artists with developmental delays. The 15 adult artists who are currently a part of LAND's program use the gallery’s studio space to produce drawings, paintings, and sculptures that explore through both abstraction and figuration a myriad of cultural concerns.
When visiting LAND Gallery in DUMBO Brooklyn, you will invariably be greeted at the door by artist Michael Pellew who will say, “Hello, we are LAND. We are artists with developmental disabilities. I am Michael Jackson’s best friend. What is your favorite heavy metal band?”
Now in its tenth year of operation supporting artists with autism and other disabilities, the studio and gallery celebrates its anniversary, 10 Years in 1 Day, at Christian Berst Art Brut, exhibiting over 25 pieces made by LAND’s core artists who attend the studio daily. The expansive show sheds light on the extraordinary lens through which the artists see the world, a rare and intimate opportunity for the general public.
Kenya Hanley's works on paper have the feeling of both aspiration and interpretation. Bold, decisive drawings describe a world of abundance, encoded in color and imagined connections between realms of fiction and reality.
MoMA's Associate Educator Carrie McGee introduces Masters of Puppets:
LAND (League Artists Natural Design) is a unique studio and gallery program of the League Education & Treatment Center in DUMBO, Brooklyn. At LAND, adult artists living with disabilities develop their skills in a nurturing environment, while their work is marketed to the community in a vibrant and inclusive manner. The work of LAND artists has been shown at the Outsider Art Fair, featured in The New York Times, and entered many private collections. Since 2009, Access Programs at MoMA and LAND have engaged in a creative collaboration that aims to connect LAND artists with MoMA’s collection and exhibitions, and also to challenge them to create work in new media.