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The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce it has been awarded a Project Grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage for Ulysses Jenkins: Without Your Interpretation, the first major retrospective on the work of pioneering video/performance artist Ulysses Jenkins, on view at ICA fall 2021. The exhibition is co-curated by ICA Andrea B. Laporte Associate Curator Meg Onli and Associate Curator Erin Christovale, Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles, where the exhibition will travel in winter 2022.
A pivotal influence on contemporary art for over 50 years, Ulysses Jenkins (b.1946 Los Angeles, lives Los Angeles) is a pioneering video artist who emerged in the late-1970s. His video and media work is remarkable for its fusion of forms to conjure vibrant expressions of how image, sound and cultural iconography inform representation. Using archival footage, photographs, image processing, and elegiac soundtracks Jenkins pulls together various strands of thought to construct an “other” history that consistently interrogates questions of race and gender as they relate to ritual, history, and the power of the state.
Among the many video works included in the exhibition is Mass of Images (1978), a groundbreaking video art piece considered one of the first works in the genre by a Black artist. In the video, Jenkins critiques the media’s role in perpetuating racist and harmful images of Black people in America. This and many other video works and performances included in the exhibition are grounded in the issues at the heart of conversations happening now regarding inequality and environmental devastation amplified by unchecked capitalism, governmental oppression, and systemic racism’s impact on Black cultural production.
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