Just Above Midtown: Changing Spaces is an exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Just Above Midtown (JAM) was an art gallery and Black space that welcomed artists and visitors of many generations and races in New York City from 1974 until 1986.
A hub for Conceptual art, abstraction, performance, and video, JAM expanded the idea of Black art and encouraged both critiques of and thinking beyond the commercialization of art. Linda Goode Bryant started JAM in 1974, when she was a 25-year-old arts educator and mother of two, to, in her words, “present African-American artists on the same platform with other established artists.” A self-declared laboratory for experimentation, JAM encouraged artists and visitors to challenge hierarchies within the art world and definitions of what art should be.
MoMA’s exhibition follows a loose chronological structure that references the hundreds of solo and group exhibitions, performances, and installations at JAM. The display includes a wide range of art made by key figures like David Hammons, Janet Henry, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O’Grady, Howardena Pindell, and Randy Williams, among many others. The exhibition presents archival photos, videos, and other contextual historical material to give visitors a sense of the collaborative ethos that defined the art gallery and the alternative model of art it championed to respond to a society in need. In addition to the exhibition, the project includes performances, film screenings, public programs, and an exhibition catalogue, co-published with The Studio Museum in Harlem.