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Brooklyn Museum awards John Edmonds inaugural UOVO Prize
The Brooklyn-based photographer will receive a solo exhibition, public installation, and cash award. Photo: Hudson Bohr.

BROOKLYN, NY.- The Brooklyn Museum awards photographer John Edmonds the inaugural UOVO Prize for an emerging Brooklyn artist. As the awardee, Edmonds receives a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, a 50x50-foot public art installation on the façade of UOVO: BROOKLYN—the forthcoming Bushwick location of the art storage and services company that sponsors the prize—and a $25,000 unrestricted cash grant. Edmonds was selected by a team of curators from the Brooklyn Museum. His public installation will debut in fall of 2019, concurrent with the opening of UOVO: BROOKLYN, and the exhibition will follow at the Museum in 2020. Curated by Ashley James, Assistant Curator, Contemporary Art, and Drew Sawyer, Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator, Photography, the exhibition will be the artist’s first solo museum show.

“We’re so pleased to offer the UOVO Prize to John Edmonds, an artist whose gorgeous photographs negotiating the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, and spirituality have been captivating us over the past several years,” says Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director, Brooklyn Museum. “We can’t wait to share his ambitious body of work with Brooklyn, both inside the Museum and outside on the UOVO: BROOKLYN façade.”

Best known for his sensitive depictions of young Black men, Edmonds uses photography and video to create sumptuous portraits and still lifes that challenge art historical precedents and center Black queer desire. He often uses a large-format camera to heighten the staging of his subjects and explore their sculptural potential, making reference to religious paintings and modernist photography. Highlighting markers of Black self-fashioning and community—hoodies, du-rags, and more recently, African sculptures—his formal photographs point to individual style and a shared visual language across time. Edmonds is included in the current group exhibition, Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall, on view at the Museum through December 8, 2019. The artist is also featured in this year’s Whitney Biennial.

“Living and working in Brooklyn has deeply impacted and inspired my practice,” says John Edmonds. “I’m thrilled to work with the staff at the Brooklyn Museum and have my first solo museum presentation in the borough I call home. Moreover, the public artwork with UOVO is an opportunity to examine themes central to my work, including the relationship between public and private perceptions. The way viewers encounter an image as a physical thing in time and space, instead of something reduced to the screen, has always been important to me, and I’m excited to engage with these concerns on a large scale.”

“We are delighted by the Brooklyn Museum’s selection of John Edmonds,” says Steven Guttman, founder and chairman of UOVO. “The UOVO Prize is designed to support the borough’s remarkable emerging artists. It is an honor to work with the extraordinary team at the Brooklyn Museum, and we are grateful for their time, knowledge, and thoughtful consideration throughout this process. We hope the solo museum exhibition, the public installation on the UOVO: BROOKLYN façade, and the cash award will significantly contribute to Mr. Edmonds’s career.”

John Edmonds (b. 1989, Washington, D.C.) earned his M.F.A. in Photography from Yale University and his B.F.A. at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. Recent group exhibitions include the 79th Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; God Made My Face: A Collective Portrait of James Baldwin at David Zwirner, New York; Family Pictures at the Columbus Museum of Art; and Face to Face at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles. Residencies and fellowships include the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program in Brooklyn, New York; Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, Maine; and the Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta. The artist’s work is in numerous public and private collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Brooklyn Museum. Edmonds is on the faculty at Yale University and the School of Visual Arts. He is represented by Company Gallery, New York.

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