A Site of Struggle: American Art against Anti-Black Violence: Opening Performance: Mendi + Keith Obadike – Numbers Station 2 [Red Record]
@ Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University
40 Arts Cir Dr, Evanston, IL 60208
Opening Saturday, January 29th, from 1PM - 1:45PM
On view through Sunday, July 10th
How has art been used to protest, process, mourn, and memorialize anti-Black violence within the United States?
Originating at Northwestern University’s Block Museum of Art, A Site of Struggle explores how artists have engaged with the reality of anti-Black violence and its accompanying challenges of representation in the United States over a 100 + year period.
In this piece, artists Mendi + Keith Obadike sonify data from Ida B. Wells’ 1895 publication, The Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States, with chants and sounds generated from the dates of lynching contained in Wells’ text. This is the second work in Mendi + Keith’s Number Series (2015-present), a series of performances and sound installations that use numerical databases of violence (police harassment, lynchings statistics, and slave ship manifests) to generate sonic information.
Visitors are invited to view A Site of Struggle before or after the performance of Numbers Station 2 [Red Record] by Mendi + Keith Obadike, and the Opening Conversation. The Block Museum will be open from 12-5pm CST.
This program is presented by The Block Museum of Art in partnership with the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts.
Originating at Northwestern’s Block Museum of Art A Site of Struggle explores how artists have engaged with the reality of anti-Black violence and its accompanying challenges of representation in the United States over a 100 + year period.
Images of African American suffering and death have constituted an enduring part of the nation’s cultural landscape, and the development of creative counterpoints to these images has been an ongoing concern for American artists. A Site of Struggle takes a new approach to looking at the intersection of race, violence, and art by investigating the varied strategies American artists have used to grapple with anti-Black violence, ranging from representation to abstraction and from literal to metaphorical. The exhibition focuses on works created between the 1890s and 2013—situating contemporary artistic practice within a longer history of American art and visual culture. It foregrounds African Americans as active shapers of visual culture and highlights how art has been used to protest, process, mourn, and memorialize anti-Black violence.
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