Tony Cokes (b. 1956, Richmond, VA), received a B.A. from Goddard College, Vermont; participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program; and gained an M.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond. Cokes's video and multimedia installation works have been included in exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, New York; Documenta X, Kassel, Germany; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and others. Recent solo exhibitions and screenings have taken place at REDCAT, Los Angeles; the Gene Siskel Film Center at the Art Institute of Chicago; and Greene Naftali Gallery, New York. Cokes lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and is a Professor of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University.
B4 and After the Studio 1, 2019, was made by Tony Cokes for an exhibition of his work at The Shed, a venue for contemporary art and performance at Hudson Yards. This complex opened in 2018 on the site of former rail yards on the West Side of Manhattan and is mainly composed of luxury housing, retail outlets, and a monumental, climbable tourist attraction.
Cokes’ video work is based in text but has music at its heart. Combined, it opens up and makes the experience of reading, and therefore thinking, profound. B4 and After the Studio 1 repurposes two texts on art’s role in the "revalorization" of New York City neighborhoods. The excerpt below refers to the avant-garde’s embrace of the former factory and warehouse district now known as Soho; Sharon Zukin’s 1979 Loft Living is the source. In the context of its original venue, an artwork that meditates on art’s role as a high-class amenity that adds value to real estate development takes on special meaning.