A Fusion of Forms: Curators Erin Christovale and Meg Onli Discuss Their Retrospective of Ulysses Jenkins
by Erin Christovale and Meg Onli
Over the past fifty years, Ulysses Jenkins, an artist born and based in Los Angeles, has produced a remarkable body of work that interrogates constructions of race and gender as they relate to ritual, history, and the power of the state. His work—documentary, public access television, music, video, performance, and other visual arts—encapsulates a fusion of forms to conjure vibrant meditations on how image, sound, and cultural iconography inform representation. From Jenkins’s work with Video Venice News, an LA media collective he founded in the early 1970s, to his involvement with the artist group Studio Z (alongside David Hammons, Senga Nengudi, and Maren Hassinger), to his individual video and performance works with Othervisions Studio, he has consistently and explicitly countered the embedding of white supremacy in popular culture.
In September 2021 at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), University of Pennsylvania, we will collaboratively stage the first major retrospective of Jenkins’s work, Ulysses Jenkins: Without Your Interpretation, which will then travel to the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, in January 2022. In this conversation, the two of us reflect on curating the exhibition and Jenkins’s impact on generations of artists.
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