Pew Fellows News: Rennie Harris’ New Work for Alvin Ailey Praised, James Ijames and Major Jackson Featured in New York Times, Alex Da Corte Named to “Most Influential Artists of 2018”

21 Dec 2018


Rennie Harris, Rennie Harris Puremovement, photo courtesy of the artist.


Tayarisha Poe, 2017 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.


Pew Fellow Major Jackson. Photo by Erin Patrice O’Brien.

Alex Da Corte Portrait

Alex Da Corte, 2012 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.


Andrea Clearfield, 2016 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.


Jennifer Kidwell. Photo by Ian Douglas.


Dan Blacksberg, 2012 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.


Orrin Evans, 2010 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.

As 2018 comes to a close, our Pew Fellows remain active with public art, exhibitions, performances, residencies, and national press coverage. See the latest news updates in our roundup below.

In the News

Playwright James Ijames (2015) and poet Major Jackson (1995) are among 32 “Black Male Writers for Our Time,” featured in The New York Times Style Magazine. These artists are “producing literature that is essential to how we understand our country and its place in the world right now,” writes Ayana Mathis. Read More>>

Variety magazine names filmmaker Tayarisha Poe (2017) among its “10 Directors to Watch” in 2019. Poe joins a list of acclaimed directors and actors such as Olivia Wilde, Bradley Cooper, Alejandra Márquez Abella, Lulu Wang, and more. Read More>>

Theater artist Jennifer Kidwell’s (2016) Underground Railroad Game, created with Scott R. Sheppard, is included in The Washington Post’s “Best of theater 2018.” The “clever, disturbing and gut-grabbing performance piece” played at Woolly Mammoth Theatre this past April. Read More>>

Visual artist Alex Da Corte (2012) makes Artsy’s list of “The Most Influential Artists of 2018.” This year, the artist showcased his work at New York’s Karma gallery, David Zwirner gallery, Art Basel in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and at the 57th Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, PA. Watch Art21’s video on the installation and read more about Da Corte’s work in Artsy.

Honors and Awards

Jazz musician Orrin Evans (2010) and The Captain Black Big Band have been nominated for a Grammy Award for their album Presence in the “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album” category. Read More>>

Musicians Dan Blacksberg (2012) and Diane Monroe (2018) received jazz residencies with the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Beginning in January, Blacksberg’s residency with Yosef Goldman will fuse connections between jazz, klezmer music, and Jewish and non-Jewish music from the Middle East and North Africa. Monroe’s residency with David Allen and Raquel Salas Rivera focuses on Philadelphia as a multi-cultural “safe haven” and sanctuary city. Read More>>

Environmental artist Stacy Levy (1992) received the Henry H. Meigs Award for environmental leadership from the Schuylkill Center at the opening of her latest gallery show. Her exhibition, Braided Channel, is on view at the Center through February 2019. Read More>>

New Work

Choreographer Rennie Harris’ (1996) Lazarus, a new two-act work created for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s 60th anniversary, surveys the civil rights movement and choreographer Alvin Ailey’s life. The New York Times published a feature story on the Philly-based choreographer and a subsequent review of the performance. Read an additional review of Lazarus in The New Yorker and learn more about upcoming performances through February 2019.

Musician Andrea Clearfield’s (2016) first opera, Mila, Great Sourcerer, is presented as a work-in-progress at the PROTOTYPE festival. Produced by New Vision for Opera NYC, the performance takes place at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater on January 12 and 13. Read More>>

Writer and choreographer Andrew Simonet’s (2006) debut novel, Wilder, was released on November 13, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux’ Books for Young Readers. "Simonet's plotting is superb, and he sharply writes two unique characters, whose sparring will be as exciting to readers,” reports Booklist. Read More>>

In Print, On Stage, and On View

Visual artist Michelle Angela Ortiz’ (2018) installation Karen’s Story was temporarily installed on the steps of the Pennsylvania Capitol building in Harrisburg as part of her Familias Separadas project, October 26–November 18. The project brought attention to the ongoing detention of immigrant families at The Berks County Family Detention Center in Pennsylvania. Read More>>

Poet and writer Frank Sherlock’s (2013) poem “The Next Last One” was featured in the November issue of Poetry magazine from the Poetry Foundation. Read More>>

Artist Kukuli Velarde’s (2003) latest exhibition, The Complicit Eye, is on view at Taller Puertorriqueño through April 30, 2019. In an interview with WHYY, she describes the work as a retrospective of the last fourteen years. Read More>>

A series of four exhibitions at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center features a show based on visual artist Virgil Marti’s (1995) studio practice. Hothouse: Virgil Marti— on view through February 2019—is described by the Arts Center as a “meditation on the fertile ground between the conception and the creation of a work of art.” Read More>>

Visual artist Robert Matthews’ (2009) work was on display in the exhibition, Everything is a Nail, at David Lusk Gallery in Nashville, TN. As described by the gallery, Matthews “layers bodies in mythic proportions on abstracted, saturated fields of color,” influenced by Cubism and Renaissance portraiture. Read More>>