Above: Sable Elyse Smith, Coloring Book 33, 2019. Screen printing ink and oil stick on paper. Courtesy the artist, Cal Siegel, and JTT, New York. Sable Elyse Smith, Pivot I, 2019. Powder coated aluminum. Courtesy the artist and JTT, New York. Installation view: Colored People Time: Banal Presents, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania. Photo: Constance Mensh.
MIT List Visual Arts Center presents Colored People Time(CPT) opening February 7, is a traveling group exhibition structured in three distinct chapters—”Mundane Futures,” “Banal Presents,” and “Quotidian Pasts.” The exhibition’s sequential framework roots itself within a malleable and fluid concept of time and builds new narratives and public discourse around the everyday experiences of black people in the United States. The exhibition was organized by Meg Onli, Andrea B. Laporte Associate Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania.
“CPT builds on my ongoing curatorial investigation of how black Americans use language as a tool to navigate a society marked by inequality and racism. The title of the exhibition is drawn from the vernacular phrase ‘Colored People’s Time,’ which is simultaneously perceived as a joke within the black community and as a performance that allows an individual to exist within a temporality created by themselves. The phrase comes to function as a linguistic tool for people of color to control their own temporality even when placed within the construct of Western time.” –Meg Onli
Each chapter of Colored People Time makes unexpected connections between contemporary art, historical objects, and archival materials fostering innovative dialogue between the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and a wide range of media and new commissions created by emerging and established artists, including Aria Dean, Kevin Jerome Everson, Matthew Angelo Harrison, Carolyn Lazard, Dave McKenzie, Cameron Rowland, Martine Syms, and Sable Elyse Smith.