"'New York Transit Queen' kicks down the door with its craggy garage guitars and bratty chant of a chorus about a 17-year-old subway fare skipper" - Billboard
"Black Rainbows, her first album in seven years, promises to be more wide-ranging, foreshadowed by the piano-laden 'Peach Velvet Sky' and the trashy punk kick of 'New York Transit Queen.'" - Los Angeles Times
"This punky intro to the project is a joyous celebration of Audrey Smaltz, who was the first Black woman to be named Miss New York Transit in 1954." - The Philadelphia Inquirer
"the beginning of a new era for Bailey Rae." - Rated R&B
Today, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae releases her highly anticipated new album, Black Rainbows, via Thirty Tigers. Listen/Share here.
In conjunction with the album's release, a book, REFLECTIONS/REFRACTIONS AT THE STONY ISLAND ARTS BANK photographed by Koto Bolofo, is also out today. Order/share here.
Wide ranging in its themes, Black Rainbows' subjects are drawn from encounters with objects in the Arts Bank, a curated collection of Black archives comprising books, sculpture, records, furniture and problematic objects from America's past. From the rock hewn churches of Ethiopia to the journeys of Black Pioneers westward, from Miss New York Transit 1957 to how the sunset appears from Harriet Jacobs' loophole, Black Rainbows explores Black femininity, Spell Work, Inner Space/Outer Space, time collapse, ancestors and music as a vessel for transcendence.
Inspired by her transcendent experience at the Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago, the project marks a new direction for the artist. She notes, "I knew when I walked through those doors that my life had changed forever."
Singles "New York Transit Queen" and "Peach Velvet Sky" were released to critical acclaim in advance of the album. On the juxtaposition of the tracks, Bailey Rae explains "The giddy girl group fizz enlivening 'New York City Transit Queen'-all handclaps and joyous gang vocals-contrasts with the spare piano balladry of 'Peach Velvet Sky.'"
In celebration of the new project, Bailey Rae is touring select U.S. cities this fall, including Yale University's Schwarzman Center, New York's National Jazz Museum in Harlem, University of Chicago's Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, Nashville's CMA Theater, New Orleans' Orpheum Theater and more. Bailey Rae will also make an appearance at the 35th Annual Chinati Weekend in Marfa, TX. See the full U.S. and international tour routing here.
English singer/songwriter/musician Corinne Bailey Rae shot to stardom with her self-titled #1 U.K. debut album in 2006, featuring the global hits "Put Your Records On" and "Like A Star." Over the course of her career she has released three critically acclaimed studio albums-Corinne Bailey Rae, The Sea and The Heart Speaks in Whispers-and earned two Grammy Awards, two MOBOS, and has been nominated for multiple awards including the BRIT Awards, Mercury Music Prize and BET Awards. Her work for film and television includes the theme to Stan Lee's Lucky Man (SKY1), "The Scientist" for Universal Pictures' Fifty Shades Darker opening title and soundtrack which charted globally, and in 2020 her song "New to Me" was performed in the film The High Note by Tracee Ellis Ross. Bailey Rae has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Mary J. Blige, Al Green, Herbie Hancock, KING, Paul McCartney, Kele Okereke (Bloc Party), Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Questlove, Salaam Rami, RZA, Tyler The Creator, Paul Weller, Richard Hawley, Stevie Wonder, Tracey Thorn, Pharrell, Logic, Mick Jenkins and many more.
Theaster Gates lives and works in Chicago. He creates work that focuses on space theory and land development, sculpture and performance. Drawing on his interest and training in urban planning and preservation, Gates redeems spaces that have been left behind. Known for his recirculation of art-world capital, he creates work that focuses on the possibility of the "life within things." Gates smartly upturns art values, land values and human values. In all aspects of his work, he contends with the notion of Black space as a formal exercise-one defined by collective desire, artistic agency and the tactics of a pragmatist. Gates has exhibited and performed at Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France; Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany (2018); Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2018); National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., USA (2017); Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada (2016); Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy (2016); Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK (2013); Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy (2013) and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012). He was the winner of the Artes Mundi 6 prize and was a recipient of the Légion d'Honneur in 2017. He was awarded the Nasher Prize for Sculpture 2018, as well as the Urban Land Institute, J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. Gates is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Visual Arts and the College and also serves as the Senior Advisor for Cultural Innovation and Advisor to the Dean. Gates is Director of Artists Initiatives at the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College Museum of Art and the 2018/2019 Artist-in-Residence at the Getty Research Institute (GRI).
Designed by William Gibbons Uffendell and built in 1923, the bank at 68th and Stony Island was once a vibrant community savings and loan. Today, the restored Stony Island Arts Bank provides the South Side of Chicago with 17,000 square feet of space for innovation in contemporary art and archival practice. At the time of its construction, the bank was a symbol of the growing prosperity of the South Side, which was experiencing a building boom in the early decades of the 20th century. In 1979 the Bank was closed and it fell into disrepair. In 2012, upon threat of demolition, artist Theaster Gates purchased the building from the City of Chicago for $1. Gates, whose practice harnesses the power of space, objects and the spirit within them, saved the landmark from destruction. Gates sold marble from the original Bank build as "bank bonds" on the commercial art market to finance the renovation and remediation of the building. Today, the Stony Island Arts Bank is a vibrant hub of artistic, archival and cultural activity on the South Side of Chicago. In addition to serving as a gallery, institution and cultural space, the Arts Bank also hosts a variety of events including exhibitions, performances, film screenings and lectures.