April 22, 2019 - Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA) - Colored People Time
April 22, 2019

Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA)

[1] Amandus Johnson in Angola. At encampment with natives and other explorers. University of Pennsylvania Museum Photographic Archives; standard size prints; Africa, box AF 4: Amandus Johnson in Angola; Penn Museum. [2] Matthew Angelo Harrison, polygon mesh of Batetela Statue 30-55-1 2019, original sculpture purchased circa 1930 from J. Noble White. Courtesy of Matthew Angelo Harrison, Jessica Silverman Gallery, and the University of Pennsylvania. [3] WHAT IN THE WORLD 4, c. 1952, digital video transfered from 16mm film, color, sound, 28:28 minutes. Courtesy of the Penn Museum. [4] Pacific and Atlantic Photos Ltd, W.O. Oldman with masks and headdresses, c.1920, Te Papa O.027326.

Colored People Time
Quotidian Pasts
April 26–August 11, 2019

Public opening celebration: April 26, 6:30–9pm
Film screening: June 5, 6:30–9pm, with Maori Karmael Holmes
Curator-led tour: June 19, 6–7pm

Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA)
118 S. 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

#quotidianpasts / Facebook / Instagram

On April 26, 2019, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA) will launch Colored People Time: Quotidian Pasts, the second chapter in the experimental three-part exhibition series Colored People Time that re-envisions the traditional exhibition format to build new narratives and public discourse around the everyday experiences of black Americans.

Quotidian Pasts reconsiders the trafficking of blackness through the colonial practices of collecting, commodifying, and exhibiting people and objects from the African continent. This exhibition, produced in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, turns its lens toward early-20th-century anthropological displays. The long history of the exploitation of both African people and their cultures is told through the configuration of a few small objects—a photograph, a journal entry, a letter. Featuring a newly commissioned work by the artist Matthew Angelo Harrison, Quotidian Pasts questions: What confers authenticity? How does an object change when dislocated from its time and place within the context of the museum? It is through these works that we are invited to reconsider the singularity of Western time and bear witness to the everyday disruptions that restructure and reorganize black being in the past, present, and future.

Broken into three distinct chapters opening over the course of 2019—Mundane Futures, Quotidian Pasts, and Banal Presents—the yearlong exhibition offers a profound exploration into how the history of chattel slavery and colonialism in America not only shaped the foundations of our country but exists in our present moment and impacts our future. The title of the exhibition draws from the black vernacular phrase “Colored People’s Time” which has functioned as a linguistic tool for people of color to control their own temporality even when placed within the construct of Western time. Conceived by Meg Onli, assistant curator at ICA, the format of Colored People Time will root itself within this malleable and fluid concept of time, enabling a new and responsive curatorial approach that will build on new ideas and discoveries from previous chapters, challenging the conventional exhibition structure.

This exhibition will be accompanied by a series of dialogues with scholars, critics, and artists, on colonialism, restitution and repatriation, and the role of contemporary art institutions and museums in addressing these issues.

Colored People Time: Quotidian Pasts is organized by Meg Onli, ICA Assistant Curator and Monique Scott, Director of Museum Studies at Bryn Mawr College. A fully illustrated catalog will be published in early 2020. Exhibition dates are Mundane Futures (February 1-March 31, 2019), Quotidian Pasts (April 26-August 11, 2019), and Banal Presents (September 13-December 22, 2019).

Major support for Colored People Time: Quotidian Pasts has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Additional support has been provided by Arthur Cohen & Daryl Otte, Cheri & Steve Friedman, and Brett & Daniel Sundheim.

Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA)
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