KNOT combines many of the touchstones of Rashaad Newsome’s multidisciplinary practice: spinning decorative jewelry, lavish Gothic architecture, Black ballroom dancing, mathematical knot theories, and a frenetic energy that emerges from the extraordinary dancers and vocalists, as well as the artist’s surrealistic digital collaging techniques. Commissioned for the Brooklyn Museum’s 2014–15 exhibition Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe, the video heralds the legacy and longevity of Vogue Fem dance’s Black, Latinx, queer, and trans originators and innovators.
A speculative, fantastical vision of historical figures and events, Tourmaline’s Salacia follows Mary Jones, a Black trans woman and sex worker who lived in New York in the 1830s. Jones navigates brutal systems of racism and transphobia, including incarceration at Castle Williams, located on present-day Governors Island. Meditating on the intergenerational trauma of displacement, Tourmaline imagines Jones within the free Black landowning community Seneca Village, and foreshadows the village’s destruction through eminent domain to build Central Park.
Originally commissioned for the Brooklyn Museum’s 2019 exhibition Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall, Tourmaline’s film connects the past to the present. Footage from 1995 of trans activist Sylvia Rivera decrying the imminent destruction of an encampment housing her and other unhoused LGBTQ+ people along the Hudson River underscores the continued violence of gentrification and displacement.
Arthur Jafa’s akingdoncomethas is composed of a series of clips, sourced from the internet, of pastors delivering sermons as well as singers and choirs performing gospel songs for their respective congregations. Jafa uses light editing to isolate shared narratives and performative gestures. The film portrays a culture of deep faith, healing, and perseverance that offers messages of resistance and staying the course. Through Jafa’s sequencing, the viewer gets a sense of the ethics of the Black Christian (Pentecostal) church as well as its aesthetics—the undulation of voices, the slow-build tempo of testimony, the wail, the scream, and mellow moments of reflection. The viewer is left with an awareness of not only what constitutes a church program but also how it feels—and a sense that perhaps it is this feeling that matters most.
Art on the Stoop: Sunset Screenings
September 9–November 8, 2020, starts at 5 pm
Brooklyn Museum Plaza
NOTE: Screenings may be cancelled because of inclement weather.
We invite Brooklyn Museum visitors, neighbors, and passersby to an outdoor exhibition of major video artworks by artists in our collection, as well as key loans, exploring themes of power and uncertainty, distance and loss, and history’s hand in our present times. The artworks are presented in evening screenings on the Museum plaza—our “front stoop”—providing a safe place to gather, rest, and encounter art, while also acknowledging the critical role that public spaces play for idea-sharing, community-building, and democracy.
Art on the Stoop: Sunset Screenings is presented Wednesdays through Sundays, starting at 5 pm, and is approximately one and a half hours in length. Videos with captioning will be shown on a large-format LED screen placed above the tiered seating near the Museum’s fountain, allowing for socially distanced viewing. Screenings include public service announcements from Carrie Mae Weems’s RESIST COVID TAKE 6! project, which promotes known preventive measures for COVID-19.
From October 14 to November 8, screenings feature the work of Adama Delphine Fawundu, Jeffrey Gibson, Susan Janow, Lorraine O’Grady, and Howardena Pindell, as well as an excerpt from Question Bridge: Black Males, by Hank Willis Thomas and Chris Johnson with Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair. They also include a special program of videos by Sara Cwynar, Steph Foster, Ja’Tovia Gary, Glenn Ligon, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, and Ka-Man Tse, organized by UOVO Prize–winning artist John Edmonds in conjunction with his solo exhibition at the Museum, which opens October 23, 2020.
October 14–November 8 Schedule:
Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays | October 14, 15, 18, 21, 22, 25, 28, 29 | November 4, 5, 8
- Chris Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas, with Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair. Excerpts from Question Bridge: Black Males, 2011. 15 min., 22 sec.
- Howardena Pindell. Free, White and 21, 1980. 12 min., 15 sec.
- Adama Delphine Fawundu. the cleanse, 2017. 11 min., 28 sec.
- Jeffrey Gibson. She Never Dances Alone, 2020. 3 min.
- Jeffrey Gibson. I Was Here, 2018. 8 min., 40 sec.
- Susan Janow. QUESTIONS, 2018. 10 min., 4 sec.
- Lorraine O’Grady. Landscape (Western/Hemisphere), 2010/12. 18 min., 4 sec.
Fridays and Saturdays | October 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31 | November 6, 7
- Glenn Ligon. The Death of Tom, 2008. 23 min.
- John Edmonds. Shotgun, 2014. 9 min., 53 sec.
- Tiona Nekkia McClodden. an offering｜six years｜a conjecture, 2018. 12 min.
- Steph Foster. Libation, 2018. 2 min., 2 sec.
- Ja’Tovia Gary. An Ecstatic Experience, 2015. 6 min.
- Sara Cwynar. Soft Film, 2016. 6 min., 28 sec.
- Ka-Man Tse. Gahp Song, 2009–ongoing. 25 min.
From September 9 to October 11, screenings featured the work of Liz Johnson Artur, Arthur Jafa, Steffani Jemison, Ahmed Mater, Marilyn Minter, Wangechi Mutu, Rashaad Newsome, Ebony G. Patterson, Sable Elyse Smith, Tourmaline, Nari Ward with Zachary Fabri, and Sasha Wortzel. (Read about the September 9–October 11 lineup.)
Every exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum is a collaboration. Many thanks to our team members who participated in a series of cross-departmental discussions that directly shaped the development and production of Art on the Stoop: Sunset Screenings.