Category Archives: LITERATURE/POETRY

MATTILDA BERNSTEIN SYCAMORE IN CONVERSATION WITH ALEXANDER CHEE

There’s nothing like an election to make you feel hopeless about the possibility for political change. I pick up a magazine promising America’s Essential Recipes, and open it right up to “pork schnitzel.” I’m laughing so hard that everyone at the co-op turns around to see if they can be part of my laughter. And then I’m walking through a field of dandelions. Even if it’s really just the grass between the sidewalk and street I will take this field while I can get it.

The news is always its own trauma, but when the news of the trauma echoes into our lives, past and present at once, the open door never quite closes. Trauma as a curtain that billows around us, a wall we never quite break through. I mean trauma as a weapon. How to make oppression realize its redundancy. But oppression can never realize. Anything but oppression. How saying that something is structural means we need to take it apart or else it’s a weapon we become. — Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, The Freezer Door

On the occasion of the publication of her new book The Freezer Door, Sycamore will join Alexander Chee—author of the essay collection How to Write an Autobiographical Novel—in conversation.

See link below to register for the online discussion.

MATTILDA BERNSTEIN SYCAMORE IN CONVERSATION WITH ALEXANDER CHEE

McNally Jackson

Tuesday, November 24.

4 pm on the West Coast; 7 pm East Coast.

From top: Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, photograph by Jesse Mann, courtesy and © the author and the photographer; Sycamore, The Freezer Door, cover image courtesy and © the author and Semiotext(e); Alexander Chee, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, cover image courtesy and © the author and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Chee (foreground left) and Ggreg Taylor at an AIDS demonstration in San Francisco, October 1989, photograph by Marc Geller, courtesy and © the author and the photographer.

CAULEEN SMITH AND BRENT HAYES EDWARDS

Anticipating the LACMA exhibition of her touring ICA, University of Pennsylvania show Give It or Leave It, Cauleen Smith will join Brent Hayes Edwards—author of Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination—in conversation.

Curator Rita Gonzalez will introduce the online talk. See link below to register for the webinar.

CAULEEN SMITH CONFABULATIONS SERIES—BRENT HAYES EDWARDS

LACMA

Thursday, November 19.

6 pm on the West Coast; 9 pm East Coast.

Cauleen Smith, Give It or Leave It, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, curated by Anthony Elms, September 14, 2018–December 23, 2018, from top: I Appreciate You in Advance, 2018, fiberglass screen, woven metallic polyesters, woven two-tone silk; Epistrophe, 2018, multichannel video, color, sound, four CCTV cameras, four monitors, projection, custom wood table, taxidermy raven, wood figures, bronze figures, plastic figures, books, seashells, minerals, jar of starfish, Magic 8-Ball, manekineko, mirror, metal trays, plaster objects, wood objects, wire object, fabric, glass vase, plants; Cauleen Smith, Give It or Leave It (2019) exhibition catalog images (5), courtesy and © the artist and the ICA, University of Pennsylvania; Pilgrim, 2017, still; Give It or Leave It installation view, photograph by Constance Mensh for the ICA. Images © Cauleen Smith, courtesy of the artist, Resnicow and Associates, and the ICA, University of Pennsylvania.

LYNELL GEORGE ON OCTAVIA BUTLER

I had been making up stories and telling them to myself since I was five or six. Because my mother, in an effort to make me read, refused to tell them to me. I did read. We were lucky enough not to be able to afford a television at the time, so I read everything…Octavia Butler

Lynell George—author of the new book A Handful of Earth, a Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler—will join Los Angeles Times reporter Julia Wick for an online discussion of Butler’s work, life, and legacy.

See link below to register.

THE WORLDS OF OCTAVIA E. BUTLER, WITH LYNELL GEORGE

Wednesday, November 18.

7 pm on the West Coast; 10 pm East Coast.

From top: Octavia Butler, photograph by Patti Perret, image © the photographer, courtesy of the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens; Lynell George, A Handful of Earth, a Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler (2020) cover image courtesy and © Angel City Press; Lynell George, photograph courtesy of the author; George, No Crystal Stair: African Americans in the City of Angels (1992), cover image courtesy and © Verso.

CEDAR SIGO, OSCAR TUAZON, AND ARIANA REINES — INVISIBLE COLLEGE

From Ariana Reines:

“PUBIC SPACE, an online reading and conversation, features one of my favorite poets in the world, Cedar Sigo, and the mind-boggling sculptor Oscar Tuazon. Oscar and I collaborated on a major exhibition in 2016 that combined poetry and monumental sculpture in unusual ways.  We all know what a portentous year 2016 was.  It was also a time I was healing from severe PTSD.  (Long story—which we will go into in due time.)  Oscar and Cedar have known each other since childhood and are longtime collaborators. 

“I thought it would be useful for us three, and all of you, to talk about just what constitutes public space on stolen land, about the true function and meaning of monuments, about the sexuality of totalitarian and anarchist aesthetics, about grief and its relationship to objects, about the speed of poetry and the slowness of space, about what language builds, about poetry’s relationship to structure, and more.”

PUBIC SPACE—CEDAR SIGO, OSCAR TUAZON, and ARIANA REINES

Sunday, November 15.

4 pm on the West Coast; 7 pm East Coast.

From top: Cedar Sigo;, photograph by Alan Bernheimer, courtesy of Sigo and the photographer; Oscar Tuazon, image courtesy of the artist; Cecilia Dougherty, Kevin & Cedar (2002), video still (Kevin Killian and Sigo), image courtesy and © Cecilia Dougherty; Ariana Reines, image courtesy of the author.

ANGELA DAVIS, ISAAC JULIEN, AND SARAH LEWIS

One of the things that some of us said over and over again is that we’re doing this work. Don’t expect to receive public credit for it. It’s not to be acknowledged that we do this work. We do this work because we want to change the world. If we don’t do the work continuously and passionately, even as it appears as if no one is listening, if we don’t help to create the conditions of possibility for change, then a moment like this will arrive and we can do nothing about it. As Bobby Seale said, we will not be able to “seize the time.” This is a perfect example of our being able to seize this moment and turn it into something that’s radical and transformative.Angela Davis

Join Angela Davis and Isaac Julien for an online discussion about the influence of Frederick Douglass on contemporary movements for racial justice.

The talk will be moderated by Sarah Lewis—associate professor of history of art and architecture and African and African American studies at Harvard University—and coincides with Julien’s exhibition Lessons of the Hour at the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts in San Francisco.

See link below to register for the Zoom event.

ANGELA DAVIS and ISAAC JULIEN IN CONVERSATION

Wednesday, November 11.

6 pm on the West Coast; 9 pm East Coast.

Top: Angela Davis: Seize the Time, edited by Gerry Beegan and Donna Gustafson (Munich: Hirmer, 2020), cover image courtesy and © the publisher.

Above: Isaac JulienLessons of the Hour—Frederick Douglass (2019), McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, October 14, 2020–March 13, 2021, ten-screen installation, 35mm film and 4k digital, color, 7.1 surround sound, installation view photographs (2) by Henrik Kam, images courtesy the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts. The North Star (Lessons of the Hour), 2019, framed photograph on Gloss inkjet paper mounted on aluminum; Helen Pitts Class of 1859 (Lessons of the Hour), 2019, digital print on Gloss inkjet paper mounted on aluminum. Artwork images © Isaac Julien, courtesy of the artist, Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, Metro Pictures, New York, and Victoria Miro, London and Venice.

Below: Commemorative posters (2 of 3) with Douglass’ messages of action and equality celebrate a continuing history of protest movements for racial and social justice. The text is drawn from the abolitionist’s public and private writings, some of which are excerpted in Julien’s Lessons of the Hour—Frederick Douglass (2019). Design and © MacFadden & Thorpe, images courtesy of the designers and McEvoy Foundation for the Arts.