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Feb 1–Mar 31, 2019

Colored People Time: Mundane Futures

Kevin Jerome Everson, IFO, 2017. Film still. © Kevin Jerome Everson. Courtesy of the artist, Trilobite Arts DAC, and Picture Palace Pictures.
About

Launching February 1, 2019

Conceived by Meg Onli, assistant curator at ICA, Colored People Time challenges the traditional exhibitions structure and format to initiate a profound exploration into the banal and everyday ways in which the history of slavery and colonialism permeates the present and impacts the future. Broken into three separate chapters—Mundane Futures, Quotidian Pasts, and Banal Presents—which will open consecutively over the course of 2019, the exhibition explores how the subjugation of black people in America was not only part of our country’s foundation, but exists within our present moment, and shapes our future. Colored People Time will feature a range of emerging and established artists including Aria Dean, Kevin Jerome Everson, Matthew Angelo Harrison, Carolyn Lazard, Dave McKenzie, Martine Syms, Sable Elyse Smith, and Cameron Rowland.

On view from February 1 – March 31, 2019, the first chapter of the exhibition, Mundane Futures, aims to develop a discourse around the future of black cultural production. Attempting to look beyond science fiction and fantasy, the exhibition will peer into a future focused on the ordinary through the lens of four contemporary artists: Martine Syms, Kevin Jerome Everson, Aria Dean and Dave McKenzie. Syms’ film The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto (2015) will create a loose framework for the exhibition that imagines a future as a continuation of the present, comprised of banal and ordinary experiences in a society that continues to struggle with white supremacy and racial injustice. The exhibition seeks to ground Sym’s thinking with two historic texts: Sutton Griggs’ 1899 black dystopian novel Imperium in Imperio, and The Ten-Point Program published in the 1972 issue of The Black Panther. Both literary works will contextualize the mundane future within the past, creating a tangible link that ties the concept to the history of blackness in America.

From April 26 through August 11, Quotidian Pasts, will examine the complexities of collecting and displaying African objects. The exhibition, co-curated with anthropologist Monique Scott and featuring new work by Matthew Angelo Harrison, is presented in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The final exhibition chapter, Banal Presents, on view September 13 – December 22, will feature new and recent work by Sable Elyse Smith and Cameron Rowland and a newly commissioned work by Carolyn Lazard.

Major support for Colored People Time: Mundane Futures has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Additional support has been provided by Arthur Cohen & Daryl Otte, Cheri & Steven Friedman, and Brett & Daniel Sundheim.

Colored People Time is organized by ICA Assistant Curator Meg Onli and will be accompanied by a catalogue published in the form of a reader.

Listen to ‘A Conversation Between Aria Dean and Meg Onli’.

Installation Views
Wed, Mar 20, 2019, 6:30PM–8PM
Performative Lecture with Dave McKenzie
Fri, Feb 22, 2019, 6:30PM–8:30PM
Reading and Conversation with Professor Saidiya Hartman
Books & Editions
Over the year of 2019, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania presented the experimental exhibition Colored People Time. Organized by Meg Onli and divided into three distinct chapters–Mundane Futures, Quotidian Pasts, and Banal Presents–the exhibition used the black vernacular phrase “Colored People’s Time” (CPT) to explore the ways that dominant notions of time have been used to control and condemn black people across times and spaces. CPT names a political performance by black people to evade, frustrate, and ridicule the enforcement of punctuality and productivity, key disciplinary structures of capitalism. In addition, CPT challenges and disavows the predominant opinion that being “on time” is the only way of being “in time.” The artists represented within this exhibition include: Aria Dean, Kevin Jerome Everson, Matthew Angelo Harrison, Carolyn Lazard, Dave McKenzie, Cameron Rowland, Sable Elyse Smith, and Martine Syms; accompanied by historical objects from the Black Panther Party, Sutton E. Griggs, the National Institutes of Health/Getty Images, and the African Collection at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. 
Doubling as a reader on the phrase that inspired the exhibition, Colored People Time includes reprints of seminal essays, newly commissioned writing, poetry, and a performance score ready to be activated in a time to come. This catalog includes text from Huey Copeland, Eve Ewing, Michael Hanchard, Matthew Angelo Harrison, Amber Rose Johnson, Carolyn Lazard, Jessica Lynne, Tausif Noor, Meg Onli, Gregory Pardlo, M. NourbeSe Philip, Monique Scott, Martine Syms, and Michelle M. Wright.
Dimensions
7 x 10 inches
ISBN
978-0-88454-149-3
Pages
320
Binding
Flexibound
Publisher
Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
Year
2020
$40.00
ISBN 978-0-88454-149-3
Publication Date
2020
Authors
Huey Copeland, Eve Ewing, Michael Hanchard, Matthew Angelo Harrison, Amber Rose Johnson, Carolyn Lazard, Jessica Lynne, Tausif Noor, Meg Onli, Gregory Pardlo, M. NourbeSe Philip, Monique Scott, Martine Syms, and Michelle M. Wright.
Designer
Studio Ella
Authors
Huey Copeland, Eve Ewing, Michael Hanchard, Matthew Angelo Harrison, Amber Rose Johnson, Carolyn Lazard, Jessica Lynne, Tausif Noor, Meg Onli, Gregory Pardlo, M. NourbeSe Philip, Monique Scott, Martine Syms, and Michelle M. Wright.
Publisher
Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
Price
$40.00
This edition of Imperium in Imperio is produced in conjunction with the 2019 exhibition series Colored People Time: Mundane Futures, Quotidian Pasts, and Banal Presents at the Institute of Contemporary Art, and features a foreword by assistant curator Meg Onli. This publication is available free of charge to visitors of ICA.
Dimensions
4.25 x 7 inches
ISBN
978-0-88454-150-9
Pages
256
Binding
Paperback
Publisher
Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
Year
2019
FREE
ISBN 978-0-88454-150-9
Publication Date
2019
Authors
Sutton E. Griggs
Designer
Studio ELLA
Authors
Sutton E. Griggs
Publisher
Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
Price
FREE