J.J. McCracken, The Mouth of the Scold: Lifecast of the mouth of the only woman exonerated of the common scold charge, 2015. Alpha-hemihydrate gypsum cement with lipstick residue. Courtesy the artist and CONNERSMITH.

September 23, 2020
September 17–November 15, 2020
1013 O Street, NW
20001 Washington, D.C.

T 202 588 8750
Instagram / Facebook

CONNERSMITH celebrates messages of equality, free speech, social justice and economic parity in powerful works by five artists of the Washington, DC region: Jessica Maria Hopkins, Benjamin Kelley, J.J. McCracken, Sheldon Scott and Wilmer Wilson IV. In this moment, more than ever, we honor their artistic visions and encourage their voices to resonate in the future of our society.

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Sheldon Scott:
“It would be irresponsible, harmful, to think of what we’re dealing with as novel. It erases the very history that built this present. Our souls are hoarse as Black people in this country who have been shouting this for over 400 years.”

Sheldon Scott (b. 1976) mines his early life in the Gullah/Geeche South to examine the Black male form in relation to constructs of race, economics and sexuality. Exhibitions include: National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; National Museum of African Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; American University Art Museum, Washington, DC; National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, DC.

J.J. McCracken:
“Women imprisoned after protesting for the right to vote practiced hunger strikes, starved, and were force-fed raw eggs and milk. Women legally convicted as ‘common scolds’ were punished for voicing social criticisms. These works are in themselves testimonies: I am an evolved form of woman mindfully eating the fruits of earlier struggles.”

J.J. McCracken (b. 1972) creates sculptures, performances and immersive installations focused on free speech, social justice and resource equity. Exhibitions include: National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; Smithsonian Institution, Freer & Sackler Galleries; Washington, DC; San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo, Texas; Accademia di Brera, Milan, Italy.

Jessica Maria Hopkins:
“Each figure I paint narrates my physical growth as a woman and I believe each portrait can represent the faces of others. Though we are perceived based on physical appearance, we should not follow the norm, but continue to discover who we are without worrying about being accepted or judged.”

Jessica Maria Hopkins (b. 1983) is a painter whose Howard University training aligns her with the legacies of Alma Thomas and the AfriCOBRA movement. Hopkins draws deeply from her personal experiences to create vibrant portrayals of human vulnerability, strength and renewal. Collections include the University of the District of Columbia and numerous private collections.

Benjamin Kelley:
“Strewn about the landscape, these objects have histories that cannot be ignored. They have been created, used, and abandoned by violent means. The automobile, the iphone, and the ancient bone tool, are the products of the human hand in pursuit of power, technology, and immortality.”

Benjamin Kelley (b. 1984) incorporates industrial relics and natural objects to create works of art, in small- and large-scale, that explore contemporary functionality. Exhibitions include: Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; American University Museum, Katzen Arts Center, Washington, DC; Rueff Gallery, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN; Space Studios, Midland, MI.

Wilmer Wilson IV:
“It is our job, not just as ‘artists’ but also as people, to imagine new ways of regarding one another, new ways of being together, and to work to hold those spaces for imagining open for each other within the scope of our daily lives.”

Wilmer Wilson IV (b. 1989), a graduate of Howard University, is critically recognized for investigations into the marginalization of, and the care for, Black bodies in everyday social relation. Exhibitions include: The New Museum, New York, NY; Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston, MA; Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR; Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD; American University Museum, Washington, DC; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; In Flanders Fields Museum, Ieper, Belgium. 

September 23, 2020

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