Penn Today: ICA debuts first major retrospective of pioneering video artist

ICA debuts first major retrospective of pioneering video artist
by Brandon Baker

It took five decades, but Ulysses Jenkins finally has his first major retrospective.

“It’s unbelievable and frustrating,” says Meg Onli. But also, exciting.

Onli, the Andrea B. Laporte Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, co-curated the exhibit for the ICA alongside Erin Christovale, associate curator at the Hammer Museum at UCLA. The project was awarded a grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage in 2020, and Onli was further supported by the Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. While Jenkins’ work as a Los Angeles painter, muralist, and video artist has been exhibited in many shows that represent a collective of contemporary artists, he’s never been afforded his own show or retrospective.

The ICA addresses this with the curation of Without Your Interpretation, a showcase of more than 20 videos that together make up nine-and-a-half hours of footage, photographs of Jenkins, an early painting, a sculpture recreated based on archival photos, plus a collection of physical ephemera like flyers and letters.

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