• Josephine's
    Sharmyn Cruz Rivera & Danny Giles

Model of Baker House by Adolf Loos, 1927. Courtesy Albertina Museum, Vienna, Inv. ALA2034

In 1927, architect Adolf Loos (1870–1933) designed a house that was never realized for the legendary entertainer Josephine Baker (1906–1975). This project offers a critique of how the modernist regime was compelled by desire for and aversion to the Black figure. Loos’s design is exemplary of the persisting aspirations and anxieties of this attitude. The house provides the conceptual basis to consider the legacies of modernism in current experiences of race, space, gender, and aesthetics through explorations of historical narratives and their lasting influence on contemporary culture. This research delves deeper into these topics and gathers materials in preparation for the production and presentation of installations, designed objects, and performances.

Sharmyn Cruz Rivera (researcher and curator of Josephine’s) is a Puerto Rican curator and writer based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Her research departs from meditations on human geography, radical manifestations of identity, and methodologies of collaboration. Most recently, Cruz Rivera served as project manager at Volume Gallery and as associate curator at The Green Lantern Press based at Sector 2337 in Chicago. She is currently the coordinator of the theory programs at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. Cruz Rivera holds a master’s in arts administration and policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a bachelor’s in art history from the University of Puerto Rico. Recent projects include the group exhibition, Corrosive Like Salt Water, at the Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College Chicago and the publication, This may or may not be a true story or a lesson in resistance (de Appel, 2021).

Danny Giles (artist and researcher of Josephine’s) is an artist and educator based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. His work uses varied material and performative approaches to address the possibilities and dilemmas of representing and performing identity to reveal hidden languages of power within mundane objects and spaces. Giles received his master of fine arts from Northwestern University in 2013 and a bachelor’s from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2013. Giles’s work has been exhibited, performed, and screened at venues including the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum, El Museo Tamayo, and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. Giles serves as course director of the Master Fine Art at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam.