The Last Place They Thought Of (April 27-August 12, 2018), organized by Whitney-Lauder Curatorial Fellow Daniella Rose King, brought together works by Torkwase Dyson, Jade Montserrat, Lorraine O’Grady, and Keisha Scarville to explore how geographical, ideological, and spatial paradigms determine and reproduce uneven social relations. The title was borrowed from a chapter in Katherine McKittrick’s seminal text Demonic Ground: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle
in reference to Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
, an autobiographical narrative of Harriet Jacobs’s protracted escape from bondage by hiding in “the last place they thought of”; the crawl space of her grandmother’s attic. McKittrick argues that literal and rhetorical marginalization – being in the last place – is an experiential geography of black gendered bodies. This exhibition and accompanying publication explore the possibility of different, critical engagements with geography through the lens of black female subjectivities and feminisms.
This full-color catalog includes views of the exhibition, an introduction by the curator with in-depth readings of the works, a commissioned text by Treva Ellison, scholar of gender studies and black geographies, and excerpts from Katherine McKittrick’s text Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle
(2006) which particularly inspired and informed the project. Illuminating histories of black women’s liberation, resistance, and concealment throughout the black diaspora, this exhibition and publication create a discursive locus to reconsider geographic space as it pertains to the environment and our changing climate; how it regulates the production and performance of identity; and how it upholds material and metaphorical borders and boundaries.