Beyond Representation: Reimagining the Way Ahead
To celebrate the release of the newest book from the UBS Art Collection, Reimagining: New Perspectives, UBS was proud to host a panel of inspiring artists to discuss the status of equality and inclusivity in the art world, and imagine its future in an optimistic and expansive way.
About the panelists
Managing Director, Head of Multicultural Strategic Client Segments
An accomplished strategist with a commitment to inclusive growth, Melinda (Mel) currently heads the UBS Multicultural Strategic Client Segments within Wealth Management USA. In this role, Mel leads the firm’s strategy to engage multicultural communities, cultivate an inclusive investor experience, and support the growth of multicultural and allied financial advisors. Her team develops strategic marketing initiatives, champions product and solutions innovation, and identifies new business opportunities. Mel has a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and a Bachelor of Science from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. A Detroit native, she currently lives in San Francisco.
Curator and Co-Founder of ARTNOIR
Larry Ossei-Mensah uses art as a forum to redefine how we see ourselves and the world around us. He has organized exhibitions globally featuring artists such as Firelei Baez, Ebony G. Patterson, Arthur Jafa and Amoako Boafo. Ossei-Mensah recently curated Boafo’s debut museum solo exhibition, Soul of Black Folks, at MoAD in San Francisco and CAMH in Houston. Ossei-Mensah has co-curated with Rehema Barber the exhibition Unmasking Masculinity for the 21stCentury, which is currently on view at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art. Ossei-Mensah is also the co-founder of ARTNOIR. ARTNOIR is a nonprofit whose mission is to drive racial equity in the art world by centering creatives, curators, collectors and communities of color. artnoir.com
Amanda Williams is a visual artist who trained as an architect. Her creative practice employs color as an operative means for drawing attention to the complex ways race informs how we assign value to the spaces we occupy. Williams's installations, sculptures, paintings and works on paper seek to inspire new ways of looking at the familiar and, in the process, raise questions about the inequitable state of urban space and ownership in America. Her breakthrough series Color(ed) Theory, a set of condemned South Side of Chicago houses, painted in a monochrome palette derived from racially and culturally codified color associations, has been named by the New York Times as one of the 25 most significant works of postwar architecture in the world. Her ongoing series, What Black Is This, You Say?, is a multi-platform project that explores the wide range of meanings and conceptual colors that connote Blackness. Using her Instagram account as an initial platform to challenge the 2020 rush to celebrate Black lives, the work has evolved into paintings, soundworks and a multiyear public installation in New York. Amanda’s work is in the permanent collection of the MoMA, the Art Institute, the Smithsonian and the UBS Art Collection, to name a few. Her accolades are many; most recently, she was named a 2022 MacArthur Fellow. Williams lives and works in Chicago.
Tunji Adeniyi-Jones was born in London in 1992 and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. In 2014 he received his Bachelor's in fine arts from The Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University, UK, and in 2017 he was awarded an M.F.A. in painting and printmaking from Yale School of Art, Connecticut, USA. Recent solo exhibitions include Emergent Properties, Nicelle Beauchene, New York (2022); Voix Intérieures, White Cube Paris (2022); Astral Reflections, Charleston, East Sussex, UK (2021); That Which Binds Us, White Cube, Bermondsey St., London (2021), Melodic Virtues, Morán Morán, Los Angeles (2021); 39 Great Jones Street, New York (2020); Patterns & Rituals, Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, New York (2020); Dreams Through Seasons: New Paintings, The Cabin, Los Angeles (2018); and Flash of the Spirit, Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, New York (2017). Selected group exhibitions include Out of the Fire: The 14th Dakar Biennale, Dakar, Senegal (2022); All Things Bright and Beautiful, Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama (2022); Fire Figure Fantasy: Selections from the ICA Miami’s Collection, ICA Miami, Florida (2022); Citizens of Memory, The Perimeter, London (2021); A Chance Encounter (curated by Tunji Adeniyi-Jones), Parts & Labor, Beacon, New York; Young, Gifted and Black: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection, OSilas Gallery at Concordia College, Bronxville, New York (2019); Lehman College Art Gallery, Bronx, New York (2020). His work will be included in the forthcoming group exhibition When We See Us, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town, opening 19 November 2022.
Born in Palo Alto, California in 1980, Hugo McCloud is one of the most prolific young artists working today. In a career that has now spanned 15 years, McCloud's work has quickly evolved through a process of restless experimentation, bringing inventiveness and fearlessness to the act of making. The artist is engaged in an ongoing quest to elevate and master diverse methodologies and the array of subjects his work addresses. An abiding, unifying theme is Hugo's preoccupation with finding beauty in the everyday. Self-taught with a background in industrial design, McCloud's practice is unrestricted by classical, academic tenets. He has gravitated toward materials that could be considered abject—roofing materials, solder, and presently, single-use plastic bags. Drawing inspiration from the rawness of the urban landscape, McCloud creates rich, large-scale abstract paintings by fusing unconventional industrial materials with traditional pigment and woodblock printing techniques. McCloud's newest body of figural work is based on notions of class, particularly through his use of plastic bags. His investigation into plastic began approximately five years ago after traveling to India and seeing multicolor polypropylene plastic sacks everywhere. Observing the downcycle of these bags from their creation, to the companies that purchased them for the distribution of products, to the trash pickers in the Dharavi slums, McCloud saw how this ubiquitous material passed through the hands of individuals at every level of society. These representational works address issues concerning the economics of labor, geopolitics and the environmental impact of plastic. McCloud continues his practice of incorporating industrial materials using plastic as a tool to better understand our similarities and differences as a human race, to connect to our environment, and to contribute to reversing the negative impact of our carbon footprint. McCloud has been the subject of solo exhibitions at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, The Arts Club, London and Fondazione 107, in Turin, Italy. He has also been featured in group exhibitions at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, and The Drawing Center, New York. His work is in the collections of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of the Arts, The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, the Brooklyn Museum, the Mott-Warsh Collection and The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection. McCloud lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and Tulum, Mexico.