May 20, 2023

46pm (closing reception), 5pm (performance)

"Curtis Cuffie" Closing with Joe McPhee

Free, please RSVP below

Blank Forms and Galerie Buchholz present a performance by Joe McPhee to mark the closing of “Curtis Cuffie,” an exhibition curated by Scott Portnoy. The event looks ahead to the August 8 release of Curtis Cuffie, the first book dedicated to the artist’s work. Limited advanced copies of the book will be for sale at the closing reception or pre-order your copy here.

Joe McPhee has been a deeply emotional composer, improviser, and multi-instrumentalist since his emergence on the creative jazz and new music scenes in the late ’60s. Inspired by the music of Albert Ayler, he taught himself the saxophone and proceeded to cut two records that remain defining monuments to the civil rights movement: the outré free jazz of Underground Railroad (Bo'Weavil Recordings, 1969) and avant-funk of Nation Time (CjRecord Productions, 1971). His odyssey since has taken McPhee through Deep Listening collaborations with Pauline Oliveros and countless left-field improv sessions both within and way outside of the jazz tradition.

Born in Hartsville, South Carolina, Curtis Cuffie (1955–2002) moved to New York as a teenager, first residing with his brothers in Brooklyn. In his adult life, Cuffie spent time unhoused in the streets of Manhattan where he found both inspiration and materials for his work as an artist. Cuffie’s sculptures interpret material street culture in the 1990s and early 2000s, using discarded and found objects assembled and transformed into collaged figures that speak to both the abject reality of urban surplus as well as the magical alchemy of artistic creation. Built by Cuffie outdoors, primarily on the sidewalks around Astor Place and along the Bowery, his sculptures were subject to the whims of weather, police interference, and the sanitation department, as well as Cuffie’s own continued interventions into his work. Despite their transience, Cuffie’s constructions occupied a memorable space within the neighborhood landscape and the minds of those who encountered them. Friends and lovers, fellow artists, and students, particularly around Cooper Union, engaged intimately with his work. Public recognition also ensued, with photographers documenting his ephemeral practice and gallerists and curators presenting his work in more traditional commercial and institutional venues.


Galerie Buchholz New York is located on the ground floor of a residential building, with four steps leading up from the street. Wheelchair ramps are available upon request from the gallery. If you require help accessing the space, please contact in advance of the event.