By Susan Jedrzejewski, McColl Center for Visual Art
During Open Studio Saturday on July 14 from noon to 1:30 PM, McColl Center for Visual Art is pleased to present a free lecture and reading with author and Knight Artist-in-Residence, Dr. Kellie Jones. The presentation will feature selections from her book EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art (Duke University Press 2011), which has been named one of the top art books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly. Reflecting Jones’s curatorial sensibility, this collection is structured as a dialogue between her writings and works by her parents, her sister Lisa Jones, and her husbandGuthrie P. Ramsey Jr.. EyeMinded offers a glimpse into the family conversation that has shaped and sustained Jones, insight into the development of her critical and curatorial vision, and a survey of some of the most important figures in contemporary art. A brief Q&A will follow the reading and lecture.
A daughter of the poets Hettie Jones and Amiri Baraka, Kellie Jones grew up immersed in a world of artists, musicians, and writers in Manhattan’s East Village and absorbed in black nationalist ideas about art, politics, and social justice across the river in Newark. The activist vision of art and culture that she learned in those two communities, and especially from her family, has shaped her life and work as an art critic and curator. Jones’ brings attention to the work of African American, African, Latin American, and women artists who have challenged established art practices. Included are interviews that Jones’ has conducted with the painter Howardena Pindell, the installation and performance artist David Hammons, and the Cuban sculptor Kcho appear along with pieces on the photographers Dawoud Bey, Lorna Simpson, and Pat Ward Williams; the sculptor Martin Puryear; the assemblage artist Betye Saar; and the painters Jean-Michel Basquiat, Norman Lewis, and Al Loving.
Dr. Kellie Jones is Associate Professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. Her research interests include African American and African Diaspora artists, Latino/a and Latin American Artists, and issues in contemporary art and museum theory. Dr. Jones was named an Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellow in 2008 for her lifetime of writing on visual art. The fellowship commemorates the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling of 1954 which struck down legal segregation; it recognizes candidates whose work honors and furthers the spirit of the statute. In 2005 she was the inaugural recipient of the David C. Driskell Award in African American Art and Art History from the High Museum of Art, Atlanta and a Scholar-in-Residence, at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy.
On Friday, July 27, musician and Knight Artist-in-Residence, Dr. Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. will introduce his most recent project, “The Colored Waiting Room,” at 7 PM. Including Jazz, Hip Hop, Neo Soul, Classical, Gospel, Latin, R&B, stories, and poetry, the CD project features artists from New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Memphis. “The Colored Waiting Room “is comprised of Ramsey’s arrangements and compositions from his band Dr. Guy’s MusiQology, and includes collaborations with poet Elizabeth Alexander, song writer Jerry Thompson, singer June Townes, pianist Greg Payne, as well as Ramsey’s daughter and son. Kathy Lou Schultz, poet and critic, has written poems for Ramsey’s project and also performs on the CD. This event will be held during an opening reception from 6 to 9 PM that marks the Center of the residency period for seven artists-in-residence.
“The Colored Waiting Room” is both a “remembrance and a recovery, recalling a time when black passengers were confined to segregated waiting rooms before they travelled by bus or by rail.” Ramsey notes that these waiting rooms were spaces of containment, but also a place where one was free to be one’s self. On this CD, the colored waiting room is actually a night club that tries to recover musically some of the positive social energy that circulated throughout those cultured spaces. The CD is performed by Ramsey’s band, Dr. Guy’s Musiqology. In a short film, Ramsey explains the project (see above).
Dr. Guy’s MusiQology was formed and 2003 and released their critically acclaimed debut album, Y the Q? in 2007. Their music incorporates a clever mixture of R&B, funk, soul, Latin, and hip hop. To find out more about the Dr. Guy’s MusiQology and their new project The Colored Waiting Room, check out musiqology.com/
Both events are free and open to the public. For more information call 704-332-5535.