Event - Underside, Underbelly, Undertow: A Conversation with Jamal Cyrus, Charisse Pearlina Weston and Cosmo Whyte

Underside, Underbelly, Undertow: A Conversation with Jamal Cyrus, Charisse Pearlina Weston and Cosmo Whyte

03.04.23, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

A composite of three headshot photographs of the three artists who will join the conversation: Jamal Cyrus, Charisse Pearlina Weston and Cosmo Whyte.

From left to right: Jamal Cyrus, Cosmo Whyte and Charisse Pearlina Weston.

Please join us for a conversation featuring Jamal Cyrus, Charisse Pearlina Weston, and Cosmo Whyte organized in conjunction with Weston’s exhibition “of [a] tomorrow: lighter than air, stronger than whiskey, cheaper than dust”. The artists will discuss the significance of Black archives within their work, how their artistic methodologies animate histories of Black resistance, and how this translates into critiques of the contemporary landscape.


This conversation takes place on the closing weekend of Weston’s exhibition and presents a final opportunity to see the show before it closes the next day. There will be a reception after the conversation from 4-4:45 in the cafe. Alcohol has been generously provided by Queens Museum’s Beer Sponsor – EBBS.


REGISTRATION REQUIRED: Please register here.


About the Artists


Jamal Cyrus (born 1973, Houston, TX) Cyrus’ expansive practice draws on the languages of collage and assemblage, and explores the evolution of African American identity within Black political movements and the African diaspora. He is engaged with an aesthetic practice that aims to transform the most mundane materials into objects with rich, densely packed networks of meaning and purpose. Since 2019, the artist has been utilizing denim as a raw material, transforming old jeans and their cotton thread into rich painterly abstractions. In the artist’s words, he is attempting “to use the materials and format of the quilt to document aspects of black political history.” Whether mining FBI files of Black activists and artists, or exposing underknown corners of the Black American experience, Cyrus’ project acknowledges how loss, failure, tragedy and hardship function to fuel hope, resistance, and progress within Black American culture, presenting the viewer with an expanded understanding of American history. Cyrus received his BFA from the University of Houston in 2004 and his MFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2008. He has won several prestigious awards, most recently the Driskell Prize, awarded by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA (2020). Cyrus’ mid-career survey, The End of My Beginning, opened at the Blaffer Museum of Art in 2021 before continuing on to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Mississippi Museum of Art. Cyrus was also a member of the artist collective Otabenga Jones and Associates, active from 2002 to 2017.


Charisse Pearlina Weston (b. 1988, Houston, TX) is a conceptual artist and writer whose work emerges from deep material investigations of the symbolic and literal curls, layerings, and collapses of space, poetics, and the autobiographical. Her work contends with the dynamic interplay of violence and intimacy through repetition, enfoldment, and concealment. She received a BA from the University of North Texas, a MSc in Modern Art: History, Curating and Criticism from the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh College of Art and a MFA in Studio Art, with Critical Theory emphasis, from the University of California-Irvine in 2019. She is an alumna of Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program. She has exhibited in group shows at Contemporary Art Museum, Houston (2020); Jack Shainman Gallery’s The School, Kinderhook, New York (2022); and the Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York (2022). She exhibited in solo exhibitions at Abrons Art Center, New York (2020); Project Row Houses, Houston (2014, 2015); Recess, Brooklyn (2021); and the Moody Center of the Arts at Rice University, Houston (2021) and the Queens Museum (2022). She has received awards and fellowships from Artadia Fund for the Arts (2015); the Dallas Museum of Art (2014); the Dedalus Foundation (MFA Fellowship, 2019); the Harpo Foundation (2021); the Graham Foundation (2021); and the Museum of Art and Design (Artist Fellow, 2021), Bard Graduate Center (2022) among others. In 2021, she received the Museum of Art and Design’s 2021 Burke Prize. She is currently an artist in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem.


Cosmo Whyte (b. 1982, St. Andrew, Jamaica) employs drawing, sculpture, and photography to explore the intersections of race, nationalism, and displacement. Whyte received a BFA from Bennington College, a post-baccalaureate at Maryland Institute College of Art, and a MFA from University of Michigan. Whyte has been the recipient of the Harpo Award (2021), the Art Matters Award (2019) and The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2019), the Working Artist Project Award (2018), The Drawing Center’s Open Sessions Fellowship (2018), Artadia Award (2016), the International Sculpture Center’s “Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award” (2015) and the Edge Award (2010). In 2020 he had solo exhibitions at MOCA Georgia and ICA San Diego. Whyte has exhibited in biennial exhibitions including Prospect.5 New Orleans (2022) 13th Havana Biennial, the Jamaica Biennial (2017), and the Atlanta Biennial (2016). His work has been included in exhibitions at The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; The Drawing Center, New York, NY; The Somerset House, London, UK; Museum of Latin American Art, Los Angeles, CA; Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, GA; and the National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica. His work is in public museum collections including the High Museum, Atlanta; Museum of Contemporary Art Georgia; National Gallery of Jamaica; and the Pérez Art Museum Miami. In 2022 he joined the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture as an assistant professor. Whyte lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.


Alcohol has been generously provided by Queens Museum’s Beer Sponsor – EBBS.