Shared Language was a community classroom and exhibition that used the topic of language as a way to investigate communication and the transfer of knowledge through experimental learning. This six-week school allowed me to give critical thought to the value that can be found in different kinds of cultivated and experiential knowledge and who can be defined as teacher, all while giving me the chance to design a curriculum around the expressed interests of neighborhood residents.
Alongside the classes, the Shared Language exhibition featured work by teaching artists who incorporate their relationship to educational systems within their work or actively teach in local arts organizations, museums, grassroots organizations, and Chicago Public Schools.
Artists: Carris Adams Alex Bradley Cohen Reginald Eldridge Jr. David Anthony Geary Gloe James Jankowiak Trisha Oralie Martin Victoria Martinez Grace Needlman
Teachers: Alberto Aguilar Paola Aguirre Assata’s Daughters Black Youth Project 100 (BYP 100) Camille Brewer Aquil Charlton Aymar Jean Christian with Rebecca Kling & Andre Perez Isis Ferguson Maria Gray James T. Green Mejay Gula Skylah Hearn Ronia Holmes Emily Lansana Maya Lori Devin Mays Jamal “Litebulb” Oliver & Wills Glasspiegel Race and Pedegogy Working Group Rebirth Poetry Ensemble Sarah Beth Woods & Fatimata Traore
September 18 - January 8, 2016 at the Arts Incubator Chicago, IL Co-curated by Paola Aguirre
Forms of Imagination reveals the ways that the Arts + Public Life Initiative creates ambitious public design and architecture projects that foster creative communities in Chicago's mid-South Side. The exhibition and related programs shift the gaze from design product to design process, giving audiences and visitors the opportunity to examine how Arts + Public Life uses its spaces, programs and other resources, as well as its unique partnerships with local artists, designers, students, youth, business owners to enhance the built environment, cultural landscape and livability of Washington Park. The exhibition included projects by Carlos Rolón/Dzine, PORT Urbanism, Mikel Patrick Avery, as well as the leading architects’ visions for the Green Line Art Center, a future arts space on Garfield Boulevard.
Featured Artists Mikel Patrick Avery PORT Urbanism Carlos Rolón/Dzine
Presented by Arts + Public Life with additional support from Theaster Gates, Eric McKissack, the Office of the Provost, Amy and John Phelan, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP, and Arts + Public Life’s Place Lab.
This exhibition takes its title from a 1974 blaxploitation classic in which three action heroes, Fred Williamson, Jim Kelly, and Jim Brown must save the race from a neo-Nazi organization bent on black genocide. The exhibition features the 2014/2015 Arts + Public Life/Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture artists-in-residence Ayana Contreras, James T. Green, and David Leggett, all squarely post-Civil Rights children born after Williamson, Kelly, and Brown saved the world. Although we may breathe a collective sigh of relief, the work of these artists suggests there is much to account for since then culturally, politically, and socially. The exhibit begs us to consider how we square nostalgia for a Black Nationalist period with recent events.
Presented by Arts + Public Life, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture, and Logan Center Exhibitions.
Photos courtesy of Tom Van Eynde and Logan Center for the Arts.
Windy City Breakdown
May 8 - 29, 2015 at the Arts Incubator Chicago, IL
Collaborative curatorial project with Ayana Contreras.
This exhibition is an exploration of locally-sourced vintage vinyl records and paper ephemera from the collection of Ayana Contreras. The items document facets of life in Black Chicago during a time in which Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Black Power collided. Ayana is particularly interested in the art of documentation, as well as in what we choose to 'save' (from a cultural and anthropological standpoint). She is also interested in items that have not made the "digital leap" from paper to pixel or from groove to gigabyte. Contreras asks "What bits of knowledge live on these physical artifacts, beyond their native media? And what happens when these formats degrade?"
Presented as part of the Arts + Public Life/Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture artist-in-residence program.
Lost In Trans is an exhibition that explores the intersections between viewer interpretation and artist intention, using as the primary vehicle artworks from the Lending and Permanent collections at the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design. In response to the circumstantial nature of the lending and permanent collections, which have varying amounts of information on the artworks and artists who made them, this exhibition embraces erasure by limiting the amount of didactic information provided and pairing works in a way that encourages the viewer to create new narratives for the artworks.
This exhibitionindulges the curator's curiosity in the malleability of meaning and what happens when the provenance and context of art is removed. By design, this exhibition becomes a celebration of the limitless story-making capabilities of the CVAD collections and privileges the viewer's individual and experiential intelligence above all.
Lost In Trans is the result of a ten-month research project that stemmed from an invitation from the University of North Texas to guest curate an exhibition as part of their Collections, Cultures and Collaborations series. Part of this exhibition included a collaboration and series of conversations with art history students at UNT around methods of research as they were applied to works included in the exhibition.
Featured Artists: Jeffrey Michael Austin Derric Clemmons Annette Lawrence
Featured Collection Artists: John T. Biggers David Blow Patrick Caulfield Chryssa Henri Chopin Warrington Colescott Rudolpho Contreras Willem de Kooning Vernon Fisher John Furnival Benito Huerta Patrick Hughes E.D.X. Klepper Ronald King Richard Linder Carlos Merida Billy Miles Susan Miller Robert Motherwell Graham Ovenden Eduardo Paolozzi Lucy Qinnuayuak Ed Schutz Deana Thomas
Special thanks to Victoria DeCuir, Tracee Robertson, Dr. Jennifer Way, James Thurman, Robert Jennings, Allie Biddle, Max and Drew.
Each year the University of North Texas invites curators to jury and curate their Annual Voertman Exhibition, a competitive show that includes submissions from hundreds of artists in the departments across the College of Visual Art and Design. Started in 1960 by Mr. Paul Voertman, founder of Voertman’s store, this show marks 54 years of Denton business support for the arts. Since 1960, thousands of artists have exhibited their works and hundreds have received cash prizes.
Featured Artists: Fernando Alvarez Justin Atkinson Ty Bishop Lynné Bowman Bruce Breaux Justin Burns Mick Burson Denver Christiansen Roxanne Cottongame Moriah Craney Daniela Cruz Trent Dickson Jonathon Flores Ben Gutmann Lauren Hensens Robert Jennings Chase Kahn Dani Manning Kyle Mitchell Evangelina Palacios Austin Queen Sally Rabun Zachary Raper Andy Rolfes Abby Sherrill Zac Travis Mariah Tyler Morgan Underwood Jon Vogt Reina Waller
Read the reflection on the exhibition, published in AreaChicago.
Recess was a group exhibition that used images associated with youth and play to provide a much needed respite from the weight of everyday reality. Bringing together contemporary artists working across mediums with historic works from the South Side Community Art Center's eighty year old collection, these works created a space that provoked the act of daydreaming and encourages one to tap into the recesses of the imagination in order to create new mythologies, narratives, and histories that are unencumbered by those often tethered to the Black experience.
Featured Artists: Caitlin Cherry, Krista Franklin, James T. Green, David Leggett, Christina A. Long, Cecil McDonald Jr. & avery r. young
Featured Collection Artists: Archibald Motley Jr., Al Price, Charles Davis, Rosalie Davis, Jon Jones, William McBride, Eric W. Anderson, Maurice Benson & Ben Bey
Photos by Tempestt Hazel.
Founded in 1940 through President Franklin Roosevelt’s Work Progress Administration, the South Side Community Art Centeris the only surviving art center of the original 110 Federal Art Project’s centers and is the oldest African American art center in the country.
The Salon Series is an exhibition and discussion project by artist JC Steinbrunner that emphasizes participation between guests and artists to explore meaning, context and craft of new work.
As a guest curator, I invited Diana Gabriel to install Tropisms, a site-specific installation that is an extension of her ongoing Formalities series. Using organic and recycled materials, Gabriel's work appears calculated when in reality it is largely subject to the impulses of improvisation as she responds to the space.
Food for the night was provided by Pleasant House in Bridgeport and craft beers came from Milagros and Andres of 5 Rabbit Cerveceria, the first Latin American themed microbrewery in the US.
Serenade was an exhibition that tapped into the history of chimes as tools for healing, meditation and communication. In this sound-based exhibition artists and musicians were invited to re-think and re-structure these ancient instruments to extend their tonal and symbolic range, pushing beyond traditional scales, forms and materials. Serenade was intended both to seduce and to console anyone within earshot of Terrain Exhibitions.
Featured Artists: Jeff Austin, Rob Frye, Ramah Jihan Malebranche, Michael and Yhelena Hall and Stephen Lieto
Terrain Exhibitions 704 Highland Ave. Oak Park, IL 60304. terrainexhibitions.tumblr.com
Chicago is a city characterized by boundaries and our interactions with them–embracing them, dismantling them, testing them and questioning them. Pulling from the artifacts and residue of the past and present history of the Fulton Market District while simultaneously pushing the limits of their current practice, these artists are challenged to draw parallels between the locality of the Chicago Artists Coalition and themes at the heart of their own individual artistic inquiries.
Featured Artists: Barbara Blacharczyk, Angela Davis Fegan, Alexandra Lee (ATYL), and Erik L. Peterson
The Tipping Point of Me and We
June 1, 2012 - July 6, 2012 at Little Black Pearl Chicago, IL
Words from the Curator: Locally and globally, we are in the middle of a new yet familiar epoch defined by the personal conflicts, shared experiences, and movement of critical masses. Woven with threads of uncertainty about what will happen next yet charged with the necessity of a "do or die" urgency, individual and communal revolutions are happening all around us with a commanding ripple effect.
Cultural producers have historically been found in the thick of these paradigm shifts, standing side-by-side with those who physically mobalize the masses. While the tools and strategies used to propel us forward may have become more sophisticated, today the position of the artist has not changed. Through the work and words of a Chicago-connected group rooted in the city and sprinkled across the country and globe, The Tipping Point of Meand We explores the anxieties of individual struggles, the tensions of unwanted globalization, the dismantling of roadblocks to revolutionary and progressive thought, the damaging and redeeming potential of technology, and the things which bring us to the edge of ourselves.
_ The Tipping Point of Me and We was the 2012 award exhibition of the Contemporary Arts Council, an independent not-for-profit organization founded in 1994 by a group of art enthusiasts devoted to supporting Chicago-area contemporary art and artists, and expanding members’ appreciation of the diversity of Chicago’s arts scene.
This exhibition brought together seasoned and ascending artists and writers then asked them to speak to what they were seeing, living and experiencing in the tumultuous moments of the present human experience.
Featured Artists: Michael Dinges, EJ Hill, Honey Pot Performance, Peter Kepha, Nicolas Lampert & Paul Kjelland, Kenrick Mcfarlane, Mark Moleski, Sarah Ross, South Side Projections and Jabari Zuberi
Featured Writers: Allison Glenn, Joseph D. Jordan, Patrick Lichty, Jennifer Patiño Cervantes, and Rebecca Zorach
October 7, 2011 at Blanc Gallery and sites along King Drive Chicago, IL
The Future’s Past was a pilot curatorial project that consisted of several public window installations and a collaborative exhibition completed as part of a Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC) Fellowship with the University of Chicago. It combined new technology and new media to create an introductory glimpse into the histories of Chicago’s Black Metropolis using the archives of the member institutions of the BMRC. Artists Stephen Flemister, Krista Franklin and Amanda Williams created a collaborative installation of their distinct styles using my research as their point of departure.
The purpose of this project was to introduce the youth and current community to the history within the streets, buildings and spaces in which they live their everyday lives through a language they can understand–technology. Doing this will simultaneously introduce the archives of the BMRC and other resources to a new audience, showcase the rich history found in these collections and promote their use.
Featured Artists: Stephen Flemister, Krista Franklin and Amanda Williams