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This spring, BlackStar Projects and Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA) present Terence Nance: Swarm, the first solo museum exhibition dedicated to the genre-defying and innovative practice of Terence Nance. Curated by Maori Karmael Holmes and on view from March 10 through July 9, 2023, Terence Nance: Swarm highlights Nance’s experimentation in film, television, sound, and performance through the presentation of six large-scale, multi-channel videos and installations that the artist has reimagined specifically for the exhibition.
As a filmmaker, writer, actor, and musician, Nance brings an interdisciplinary approach to his practice, offering unexpected and alternative paths for creating work that layers video, sound, printed matter, and live performance in contemporary environments. He first gained national recognition for his semi-animated feature film, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. He also attended the first edition of the BlackStar Film Festival in 2012, which Holmes, the exhibition’s curator and BlackStar’s chief executive and artistic officer, founded that year. He debuted another seminal work, Random Acts of Flyness, at the BlackStar Film Festival in 2018. The Peabody Award-winning HBO series examines contemporary Black life in America, and it returned for a second season on HBO this past December.
Nance draws much of his influence from the communities in which he creates work, including his birth city, Dallas, his current home, Baltimore, and Brooklyn. His career emerged in the wake of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s; its enduring creative lineage and kinship reveals itself in the work of Nance, which imagines a future that incorporates Black needs, desires, and spirit. The exhibition’s title, Swarm, refers to a Brooklyn-based group of artists with whom he built a community in the early to mid-2000s. Holmes further describes this community in the exhibition catalog, writing: “Terence thrives in community, and I felt it was important to place that ethos at the forefront of this show. I’d read about and heard him speak about “The Swarm” in the early to mid-aughts often; in a 2019 interview with Simran Hans, Terence defines this as “Black or Black-adjacent people who find themselves in fractal, interlocking social networks in different cities.”
To read the full press release, click the link above.