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Apr 27–Aug 12, 2018

The Last Place They Thought Of

Lorraine O'Grady, Landscape (Western Hemisphere), 2010/2011, Single channel video for projection. Courtesy of Alexander Gray Associates, New York. © 2018 Lorraine O'Grady/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
About

Organized by Whitney-Lauder Curatorial Fellow 2017-19, Daniella Rose King, The Last Place They Thought Of explores how geographical, ideological and spatial paradigms determine and reproduce uneven social relations. Four artists – Torkwase Dyson, Lorraine O’Grady, Jade Montserrat, and Keisha Scarville – take very different approaches to this phenomenon, deeply considering how histories of racial, sexual, and economic exploitation have shaped our understanding of geography, and the realities of our environment. Through abstraction, performance, and fiction, this intergenerational group of artists conspire with a cadre of writers, including Katherine McKittrick, from whom the exhibition title was borrowed. Illuminating histories of black women’s liberation, resistance and concealment throughout the black diaspora, this exhibition creates 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 upholds material and metaphorical borders and boundaries.

McKittrick herself was referencing Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, an autobiographical narrative of Harriet Jacobs’s protracted escape from bondage, hiding in “the last place they thought of”; the crawl space of her grandmother’s attic. Literal and rhetorical marginalization, being in the last place is an experiential geography of black gendered bodies. This exhibition and accompanying publication seeks to explore the possibility of different, critical engagements with geography through the lens of black female subjectivities and feminisms.

Featured Works

Installation Views

Books & Editions
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. This publication is available for a limited time at the reduced price of $15.00.
Dimensions
5.7 x 8.7 inches
ISBN
978-0-88454-145-5
Pages
108
Binding
Softcover
Publisher
Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
Year
2020
$20.00
ISBN 978-0-88454-145-5
Publication Date
2020
Authors
Texts by Treva Ellison, Daniella Rose King, and Katherine McKittrick
Designer
Paige Hanserd
Authors
Texts by Treva Ellison, Daniella Rose King, and Katherine McKittrick
Publisher
Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
Price
$20.00

Support for this exhibition and for ICA’s Whitney-Lauder Curatorial Fellow Program has been provided by the Leonard & Judy Lauder Fund of The Lauder Foundation.