Unlearning Dystopia: Black Utopias

Public Program
Mar 17, 2018
Steffani Jemison, Black utopia (Sol 2), 2017. Mixed media. Courtesy of the artist.

Saturday, March 17, 4–6pm
“Black Utopias” with Steffani Jemison

Three events this fall led by Sreshta Rit Premnath and Avi Alpert as part of the exhibition Zach Blas: Contra-Internet

Art in General
145 Plymouth Street (Map)
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Unlearning Dystopia is a public program series elaborating on the utopian ideals present in Art in General’s New Commission by Zach Blas: Contra-Internet . The publication Shifter invites the artist and special guests to present three participatory workshops that explore ideas of ecotopias, black utopias, and queer utopias.

Unlearning Dystopia is the second installment of Learning and Unlearning, an experimental discussion series organized by Shifter. Shifter’s aim is to use shared gatherings to unlearn the assumptions and prejudices we hold about each other. In Unlearning Dystopia, we will focus on how we can unlearn the projected dystopias associated with ecology, blackness and queerness, and ask what possible futures can emerge through this process of unlearning. The series will unfold as three events that think beyond the academic lecture or seminar as a format.

Artists facilitate each event, featuring: Terike Haapoja on Ecotopias, Steffani Jemison on Black Utopias, and Zach Blas on Queer Utopias. The organizers Rit Premnath and Avi Alpert will guide us to ask, what other possible futures might emerge merely by unlearning dystopia?

Note that during these events the exhibition Zach Blas: Contra-Internet will be on limited view. Visitors are welcome to experience the full exhibition directly before or after each event.

Shifter is a topical publication that aims to illuminate and broaden our understanding of the intersections between contemporary art, politics, and philosophy. Shifter remains malleable and responsive in its form and activities, and represents a diversity of positions and backgrounds in its contributors. The publication is edited by Sreshta Rit Premnath and Avi Alpert. www.shifter-magazine.com

Steffani Jemison is an artist based in Brooklyn. She uses time-based, photographic, and discursive platforms to examine “progress” and its alternatives. Jemison’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her work has been presented at the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, The Drawing Center, LAXART, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, Bridget Donahue, Laurel Gitlen,Team Gallery, and others. Her work is in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Kadist Foundation. www.steffanijemison.com

General Support of Art in General is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the Toby D. Lewis Donor Advised Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland; and by individuals. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

The New Commissions Program is made possible by the Trust for Mutual Understanding; National Endowment for the Arts; Jerome Foundation; Ruth Ivor Foundation; and the Milton and Sally Avery Foundation. Support has also been provided by: Commissioners’ Circle leaders Elaine Goldman, Richard Massey, Jeffery Larsen and Joseph Bolduc; Commissioners’ Circle supporters John and Andrea Nylund and David Solo; and Commissioners’ Circle members Nader Ansary, Rob Colangelo, Don Erenberg, Taymour Grahne, Roya Khadjavi-Heidari, Mary Lapides, Eric Nylund, Leslie Ruff, Steve Shane, and Diana Wege.

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Project Descriptions:

Zach Blas: Contra-Internet
Unlearning Dystopia:
In collaboration with Shifter