Kameelah Janan Rasheed: Are We Reading Closely?
November 11, 2020–January 10, 2021
Kameelah Janan Rasheed is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist, writer, and former public school teacher who describes herself as a “learner first.” Her exploratory approach embraces unfinished, in-process thinking over easy interpretations—or “readings”—prompting the questions: Are we reading closely? Are we reading with care?
The two-part installation debuts the first artwork to grace the Museum’s historic columned façade, Are You Reading Closely? (2020), and features a 2018 installation commissioned for our interior brick arcade, A QUESTION IS A SENTENCE DESIGNED TO ELICIT A RESPONSE. TODAY, WE WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE SLOPPY FUTURE HOLDS.
Close reading is a specific way of analyzing text, such as an article, but can also be applied to an artwork or event, helping a reader to go beyond the immediate, surface meaning conveyed. Close reading can uncover and question unspoken assumptions hidden beneath stories, enabling readers to engage in careful and intentional reflection. In contrast to the exhausting patterns of thought and action caused by swirling sound bites, doom-scrolling, data harvesting, and hypervisibility, Rasheed’s interconnected, poetic visual play points to a limitless variety of individual, subjective experiences and opens a space for self-determination. For the artist, close reading is an exercise to hone attention and engagement as well as a strategy for liberation, particularly in respect to Black experiences.
Kameelah Janan Rasheed: Are We Reading Closely? is organized by Carmen Hermo, Associate Curator, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum.
Leadership support for this exhibition is provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.