Abolition Then and Now
w/ Isaac Julien and Robin D.G. Kelley
December 1, 2020, 12-1:30 p.m.
UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences and McEvoy Foundation for the Arts invite you to a conversation with historian Robin D.G. Kelley and artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien, the latest event in the Visualizing Abolition series. From the image campaigns of anti-slavery movements to the visuals emerging around the current uprisings against policing and prisons in the United States, the wide-ranging conversation will delve into the history and present relationships between art, aesthetics, and abolition.
Registration to this event will also include limited access to an online single-screen version of Isaac Julien, Lessons of the Hour, 2019, filmic artwork exploring the legacy of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. A link and password to the online screening will be emailed to registrants 24-hours prior.
Lessons of the Hour, 2019, the full ten-screen film installation, is currently on view at McEvoy Foundation for the Arts through March 13, 2021.
Visualizing Abolition is a series of online events organized by Dr. Rachel Nelson, Director, Institute of the Arts and Sciences and Professor Gina Dent, Feminist Studies. The events feature artists, activists, and scholars united by their commitment to the vital struggle for prison abolition. Originally, Visualizing Abolition was being planned as an in-person symposium. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the panels, artist talks, film screenings, and other events will instead take place online. The events accompany Barring Freedom, an exhibition of contemporary art on view at San José Museum of Art October 30, 2020-March 21, 2021. To accompany the exhibition, Solitary Garden, a public art project about mass incarceration and solitary confinement is on view at UC Santa Cruz.
Isaac Julien, Distinguished Professor of the Arts at the University of California Santa Cruz, is a British artist whose work draws from and comments on a range of artistic disciplines and practices (film, dance, photography, music, theatre, painting and sculpture) and uniting them in dramatic audiovisual film installations, photographic works and documentary films. Born in London in 1960, Julien was a founding member of the Sankofa Film and Video Collective formed to expose the racialised unconscious of British Society in the Thatcher years, and subsequently of Normal Films established to produce queer cinema in a UK context. Julien is represented in museum and private collections throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Tate, the UK Government Art Collection, Centre Pompidou, the Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and the Brandhorst Museum.
Robin D.G. Kelley is a Professor in the Department of African American Studies at UCLA and Distinguished Professor of History & Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in United States History. His research has explored the history of social movements in the U.S., the African Diaspora, and Africa; Black intellectuals; music; visual culture; contemporary urban studies; historiography and historical theory; poverty studies and ethnography; colonialism/imperialism; organized labor; constructions of race; Surrealism, Marxism, nationalism, among other things. His essays have appeared in a wide variety of professional journals as well as general publications, including the Journal of American History, American Historical Review, Black Music Research Journal, African Studies Review, New York Times (Arts and Leisure), New York Times Magazine, The Crisis, The Nation, The Voice Literary Supplement, Utne Reader, New Labor Forum, Counterpunch, to name a few.
Visualizing Abolition is organized by UC Santa Cruz Institute of the Arts and Sciences in collaboration with San José Museum of Art and Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery. The series has been generously funded by the Nion McEvoy Family Trust, Ford Foundation, Future Justice Fund, Wanda Kownacki, Peter Coha, James L. Gunderson, Rowland and Pat Rebele, Porter College, UCSC Foundation, and annual donors to the Institute of the Arts and Sciences.
Partners include: Howard University School of Law, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, Jessica Silverman Gallery, Indexical, The Humanities Institute, University Library, University Relations, Institute for Social Transformation, Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery, Porter College, the Center for Cultural Studies, the Center for Creative Ecologies, and Media and Society, Kresge College.