February 3, 2020 - MIT List Visual Arts Center - Christine Sun Kim: Off the Charts / Colored People Time
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February 3, 2020

MIT List Visual Arts Center

(1) Left: Christine Sun Kim, Why My Hearing Daughter Signs, 2018. Charcoal on paper 49 × 49 in., framed size: 49 ½ × 49 ½  in. Courtesy the artist and private collection. Photo: White Space Beijing and Yang Hao. Right: Christine Sun Kim, Why I Work with Sign Language Interpreters, 2018. Charcoal on paper 49 x 49 in., framed size: 49 ½ × 49 ½  in. Courtesy the artist and White Space Beijing, Beijing. Photo: White Space Beijing and Yang Hao. (2) Sable Elyse Smith, Coloring Book 33, 2019. Screen printing ink and oil stick on paper. Courtesy the artist, Cal Siegel, and JTT, New York. Sable Elyse Smith, Pivot I, 2019. Powder coated aluminum. Courtesy the artist and JTT, New York. Installation view: Colored People Time: Banal Presents, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania. Photo: Constance Mensh.

Christine Sun Kim: Off the Charts
Colored People Time
February 7–April 12, 2020

Opening Reception: February 6, 6:30–8:30pm

MIT List Visual Arts Center
20 Ames Street, Building E15
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 12–6pm,
Thursday 12–8pm

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Christine Sun Kim: Off the Charts
In works spanning performance, video, drawing, and installation, Christine Sun Kim (b. 1980, United States; lives and works in Berlin) uncovers the politics of voice, listening, and language. She considers the sonic as a multi-sensory phenomenon, which is comprised of properties that are not only auditory, but also spatial, visual, and socially determined. Kim, whose first language is American Sign Language (ASL), deconstructs conventional perceptions that equate sound solely with hearing, and instead conceives of the sonic as both a series of conceptual relationships and a form of social currency.

The exhibition presents a recent seven-channel audio installation alongside two distinct groups of the artist’s charcoal and oil pastel drawings. For One Week of Lullabies for Roux (2018), Kim invited a group of friends to compose alternative lullabies for her hearing daughter. Each track omits speech and lyrics and instead emphasizes low frequencies. They follow a score the artist devised in accordance with what has she termed a “sound diet” for her child, an approach designed to place equal weight on signed and spoken communication.

Kim’s text-based works on paper, emphatically expressive and sometimes conveying a deadpan sense of humor, are a key mode through which she troubles the implicit authority of spoken over signed language.  Often funny, they pivot on the absurdity of capturing complex choices and their cultural, social, and historical underpinnings in diagrammatic shorthand. Here, and throughout her work, Kim parses the materiality of sound, while making visible its impacts on the social realities of both hearing and non-hearing individuals. 

Christine Sun Kim: Off the Charts is organized by Henriette Huldisch, Chief Curator & Director of Curatorial Affairs, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (former Director of Exhibitions & Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center).

Colored People Time
Colored People Time (CPT), is a traveling group exhibition structured in three distinct chapters—"Mundane Futures," "Banal Presents," and "Quotidian Pasts." The exhibition’s sequential framework roots itself within a malleable and fluid concept of time and builds new narratives and public discourse around the everyday experiences of black people in the United States. The exhibition was organized by Meg Onli, Andrea B. Laporte Associate Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.

"CPT builds on my ongoing curatorial investigation of how black Americans use language as a tool to navigate a society marked by inequality and racism. The title of the exhibition is drawn from the vernacular phrase ‘Colored People’s Time,’ which is simultaneously perceived as a joke within the black community and as a performance that allows an individual to exist within a temporality created by themselves. The phrase comes to function as a linguistic tool for people of color to control their own temporality even when placed within the construct of Western time." –Meg Onli

Each chapter of Colored People Time makes unexpected connections between contemporary art, historical objects, and archival materials fostering innovative dialogue between the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and a wide range of media and new commissions created by emerging and established artists, including Aria Dean, Kevin Jerome Everson, Matthew Angelo Harrison, Carolyn Lazard, Dave McKenzie, Cameron Rowland, Martine Syms, and Sable Elyse Smith.

Colored People Time is organized by Meg Onli, Andrea B. Laporte Associate Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.  Quotidian Pasts is co-curated with Monique Scott, Director of Museum Studies, Bryn Mawr College.

Original support for Colored People Time has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Additional support has been provided by Dorothy & Martin Bandier, Arthur Cohen & Daryl Otte, Cheri & Steven Friedman, and Brett & Daniel Sundheim.

Exhibitions at the List Center are made possible with the support of Fotene & Tom Coté, Audrey & James Foster, Idee German Schoenheimer, Joyce Linde, and Cynthia & John Reed.

General operating support is provided by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; the Council for the Arts at MIT; Philip S. Khoury, Associate Provost at MIT; the MIT School of Architecture + Planning; the Mass Cultural Council; and many generous individual donors. In-kind media sponsorship provided by 90.9 WBUR. The Advisory Committee Members of the List Visual Arts Center are gratefully acknowledged.

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