(b. 1993, St. Paul, Minnesota; lives and works in New York, New York)
A Great Day in Harlem, 2020. Acrylic and coffee on cotton canvas. Courtesy of Chase Hall Studio.
A Great Day in Harlem is a rendition of a photograph by Art Kane, made in 1958, of 57 Jazz musicians gathered in front of a brownstone on 126th Street in Harlem. I was 13 when this image served as my introduction to the humanity behind Jazz, not just the sound of humanity. The strokes of paint and coffee on cotton that I used in this work create representations that are coded in improvisation and empathy. Redefining colonial instruments and re-working their function, creating Jazz is a reminder of the malleability of sound, life and history.
Chase Hall is a participant in Art on the Grid, a citywide, open-air exhibition presented by Public Art Fund. Conceived in the spring of 2020, the exhibition features 50 artists’ reflections on the converging crises of the coronavirus pandemic and systemic racism in our country.