Institute of Contemporary Art - ICA
118 South 36th Street (University of Pennsylvania)
215 8987108 FAX 215 8985050
Two exhibitions
dal 22/4/2009 al 1/8/2009

Segnalato da

Jill Katz

calendario eventi  :: 


Two exhibitions

Institute of Contemporary Art - ICA, Philadelphia

Sun Ra: Pathways to Unknown Worlds / Tavares Strachan: Orthostatic Tolerance

comunicato stampa

Pathways to Unknown Worlds
Sun Ra, El Saturn & Chicago's Afro-Futurist Underground, 1954-1968

curated by John Corbett, Anthony Elms and Terri Kapsalis for the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago and is coordinated at the ICA by Whitney Lauder Curatorial Fellow Stamatina Gregory.

Jazz pioneer, bandleader, mystic, philosopher, and consummate Afro-Futurist, Sun Ra, (born Herman Poole Blount 1914, Birmingham, Alabama, died 1993) and his personal mythology have grown increasingly relevant to a broad range of artists and communities. "Pathways to Unknown Worlds: Sun Ra, El Saturn & Chicago's Afro-Futurist Underground, 1954-1968" presents a collection of paintings, drawings, prints, manuscripts, ephemera, and video produced by and about Ra and his associates—much of it previously unseen. This exhibition examines how Ra and his dynamic, continually-evolving ensemble, the Philadelphia-based Arkestra, crafted both their otherworldly image and fiercely independent approach to self-production.

Highlights of the exhibition include original drawings for their 1960's albums Art Forms of Dimensions Tomorrow and Other Planes of There, and five newly discovered typed and annotated broadsheets. Until recently, only one such broadsheet was known to exist—the one that Ra gave saxophonist John Coltrane in 1956. The show will also include the unpublished manuscript, The Magic Lie, a book of Ra's poetry, which has become influential in the nascent Black Islamic movement. In addition to these documents, the film Spaceways, by Edward English, will be on view. The film documents Ra and his Arkestra (a deliberate re-spelling of "orchestra"), in 1968, as they prepare to perform at Carnegie Hall.

Early in his career, Sun Ra spent virtually all of his time and energy on Chicago's south side, identifying with broader struggles for black power and identity, and saw his music as a key element in that struggle. As well as Sun Ra's connection to the incipient grass-roots Afro-Futurist movement in Chicago, he also has a connection to Philadelphia. In 1968, Sun Ra brought the Arkestra to Philadelphia, where his band mate Marshall Allen inherited a house on Morton Street in Germantown. The house served as band headquarters until Sun Ra's death in 1993. The Arkestra continues to perform under the leadership of Marshall Allen, who still resides at the Germantown house.

Long admired among fans of progressive jazz, Ra and his personal mythology have grown increasingly relevant and influential to a broad range of artists and communities. His music touched on the entire history of jazz, but he was also a pioneer of electronic and space music, and free improvisation.

Sun Ra developed a complicated persona of cosmic philosophies and lyrical poetry that made him a pioneer of Afro-futurism (a term coined by cultural critic Mark Dery in his 1994 essay "Black to the Future.")


Tavares Strachan
Orthostatic Tolerance

The surf surrounding Tavares Strachan's (b. 1979, Nassau, Bahamas, lives New York) hometown of Nassau, is the site of an experimental rocket launch. Made of glass from island sand, and powered by sugarcane, the rockets mark a primary phase of the artist's Orthostatic Tolerance project (orthostatic means to stand upright, and tolerance refers to the ability to withstand pressure): to explore the heights of space and the depths of the ocean. Video, drawings, photography, and sculpture document the launch and allow a glimpse into the future. Through the rubric of scientific exploration, he engages both the resources and community of his home country, and investigates environmental, cultural, historical, and postcolonial issues.

The most recent stage of the Orthostatic Tolerance project—launching miniature rockets off the waters near Nassau, Bahamas—will be documented through an installation of drawings, photographs, video, and sculpture (including a compact equipment transport vehicle). Engaging both the resources and community of his home country, the artist investigates environmental, cultural, historical, and postcolonial issues through the rubric of scientific exploration.

Strachan holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA from Yale University. His work explores physical displacement and the juxtaposition of natural extremes: past projects include The Distance Between What We Have and What We Want (2006) which involved extracting a 4.5 ton block of ice from an Alaskan river and shipping it to Nassau, where it was kept frozen by solar energy, and Glo-Our Rain Maker (2006), which periodically created a miniature, artificial cumulus cloud. Strachan has had solo exhibitions at Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh; The Luggage Store, San Francisco; Pierogi Gallery, Brooklyn; Ronald Feldman Gallery, New York; and Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles.

This exhibition is organized by Whitney Lauder Curatorial Fellow Stamatina Gregory, and will be accompanied by a brochure publication.

Image: Tavares Strachan, from Orthostatic Tolerance project, 2009, photographs. Courtesy of the artist.

Press contact
Jill Katz, Director of Marketing & Communications tel 215.573.9975 e-mail

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 23 @ 6-8 pm

Institute of Contemporary Art University of Pennsylvania
118 S. 36th St. Philadelphia, PA 19104-3289
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dal 3/4/2012 al 11/8/2012

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