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New Exhibit to Highlight Women in Jazz

multimedia sculpture of woman holding pink violin, radio
A sculpture by Carmen Lundy will be part of the New Standards exhibit. Photo/Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice

A new multidisciplinary installation celebrating the work of women jazz musicians is coming to the Emerson Contemporary Media Art Gallery through a partnership between Emerson’s Office of the Arts and the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice (JGJ).

New Standards continues the theme outlined in the book New Standards: 101 Lead Sheets by Women Composers (Berklee Press, 2022) by Grammy Award-winning artist and JGJ founder and artistic director Terri Lyne Carrington, who is curating the exhibit. It opens Wednesday, July 12, and runs until Friday, August 4.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Terri Lyne and the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice in bringing this compelling experience to audiences in Boston this summer,” said David Howse, Vice President for Emerson’s Office of the Arts and Institutional Advancement, Executive Director of ArtsEmerson, and Stephen G. Langley Chair. “New Standards reflects our shared beliefs in equity and inclusion, and demonstrates our joint commitment to the work of systems change and social justice.”

New Standards celebrates the women composers and performers who have been under-acknowledged or rendered invisible within the male-dominated art form. The installation will feature visual arts, film, panel discussions, music, and information on classic and contemporary jazz composers, and is part of the Jazz Without Patriarchy Project (JWP), an ongoing series of initiatives established by Carrington and JGJ that aims to lead a massive cultural shift toward gender equity in jazz.

Carrington said she wrote the book out of necessity after realizing the canon of jazz standards featured far too few women. It expanded to an album project and an exhibit at Detroit’s Carr Center.

painting of a woman in purple head scarf, gold nimbus with piano keys behind her head
A painting by Monica Haslip. Photo/Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice

“I am beyond happy to be able to share this multidimensional work at home, and grateful to the Office of the Arts at Emerson College, and New Commonwealth Fund for helping to make this dream come to fruition,” she said. “The hope is that anyone who experiences the exhibition will walk away transformed and excited about different sonic possibilities, imagining what the music will sound like when gender equity with its creators is accomplished.”

New Standards will showcase works created by jazz artists including Cécile McClorin Salvant, Carmen Lundy, and Jazzmeia Horn, along with works – ranging from print and sculpture to collage, textiles, and multimedia – by award-winning visual artists Monica Haslip, Joe Diggs, Yvette Rock, and Ramsess.

The exhibit also will feature a portrait collection of 30 influential women instrumentalists by Sherry Rubel, a film by award-winning photographer and video installation artist Carrie Mae Weems, a film capturing the collaboration of Carrington and visual artist Mikalene Thomas, and a documentary on the book, New Standards.

The installation will be supported throughout its run by a series of panel discussions and artist talks, as well as a series of performances across the city, including four scheduled for the Emerson College UnCommon Stage and Trillium Garden on the Common. A full schedule of events is available at the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice.

New Standards and the performance series are sponsored by the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund.

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