NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire V. 16.1 - Page 63

I moved to New York in 1970 and spent two years of five evenings per week studying and making abstract paintings with Theodoros Stamos at the Art Students League. There I became more aware of the work of Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Helen Frankenthaler, and many other highly significant artists. Plural Pathway 2, 2012 61 r The artists Robert Morris, Sol Lewitt, Dorothea Rockburn, Eva Hesse, and conceptual art, along with musician Phillip Glass and his Ensemble were my predominant influences then. Robert Morris selected my conceptual work for a solo show at Artist Space in 1975. I tried other forms of expression, including photographs as well as performance pieces that were sometimes photographed and sometimes performed without audience. In 1980, theatre director Jerzy Grotowski invited me to Poland to participate in his Tree of People project. It was a week of much silence; “conversation” happened by nonverbal expression and movement. It was not far from Auschwitz, so I went there after the Tree of People was finished. I have no words about how tragic that was. BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE I won a McDowell Travelling Scholarship that took me to Europe for a year in 1972-73, which enabled me to delve more deeply into art history. I learned as much as I could about these ancient and contemporary societies, while also learning Greek and Italian. Instead of making lots of work, I travelled to numerous Greek archaeological sites and to Italy to see High Renaissance paintings and architecture. I was so intrigued by history and archaeology that several years after I returned to New York, I chose to get a bachelor’s degree in Classical Studies of the Mediterranean with a minor in ancient Greek at Hunter College.