Jan 21, 2021, 6:30PM–8PM

In Conversation: Rhea Combs + Greg Tate

Image courtesy David Mellins.

Milford Graves’s visual and sonic transmissions have shaped and been influenced by Black traditions rooted in Afro-Caribbean culture. Each aspect of his performances, from the guttural sounds that emerge from his diaphragm to the elastic ways he bends and shifts his lithe body, function as gestural forms of communication with the ancestors. Ars Nova Workshop and ICA are honored to present Rhea Combs and Greg Tate in dialogue to provide further context on how Graves’s work is situated within Black aesthetics.


Rhea Combs is Curator of Film and Photography at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. She also serves as the head of the museum’s Earl W. and Amanda Stafford Center for African American Media Arts. Combs has curated film exhibitions nationally and abroad for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, the National Black Programming Consortium, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, to name a few.

Greg Tate has been a leading voice on contemporary Black music, art, literature, film, and politics since launching his career at the Village Voice in the early 1980’s. Through his signature mix of vernacular poetics and cultural criticism, Tate elucidates how race, gender, and class shape popular culture, and why visionary Black aesthetics, philosophies, and politics help define 21st-century America. He is also a musician, leading the experimental soul-jazz-hip hop ensemble Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber.

This program is co-presented by Ars Nova Workshop.

Live captioning will be provided for this program by Caption Access. Please contact Natalie Sandstrom, Program Coordinator, at nsand@ica.upenn.edu with any questions.

This program is free and open to the public. It will be conducted virtually via Zoom. To register, click here.


Major support for Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Joseph Robert Foundation. Additional support has been provided by Nancy & Leonard Amoroso, Cecile & Christopher D’Amelio, Carol & John Finley, Amanda & Andrew Megibow, Norma & Larry Reichlin, and by Caroline & Daniel Werther.

Programming at ICA has been made possible in part by the Emily and Jerry Spiegel Fund to Support Contemporary Culture and Visual Arts and the Lise Spiegel Wilks and Jeffrey Wilks Family Foundation, and by Hilarie L. & Mitchell Morgan.


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