Online Art Event – ART • WORK • PLACE: Emergency Session III

ART • WORK • PLACE: Emergency Session III

Tuesday,  June 16, 2020, 7:00PM to 9:00PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Free Registration here.

Radical imagination and speculative futures animate this third and final emergency session of Art • Work • Place. The coronavirus continues to stalk society, but the fear has broken—and something like possibility has emerged. Monuments are toppling. Minneapolis is dismantling its police department. Theaters, closed for months, are opening their doors to shelter the protesters who have taken over the streets.

The museum-industrial complex is now scrambling to claim solidarity with Black communities—mere months after mass firings and furloughs. MoMA announced a commitment to “equity and justice,” while it continues to profit from prisons. The New Museum offered sympathy (“our hearts break”), then quietly boarded up its windows. If the Guggenheim supports “collective action,” it might begin by negotiating with its union.

Most of the art world remains a self-congratulatory sphere for white liberals, with limited diversity and little politics, where their beliefs are never challenged. Museums are founded on white privilege and wealth, their collections accumulated via colonial and neoliberal extraction. They benefit from, and extend, structural inequality.

Black Lives Matter is not a magical incantation. Black Lives Matter is a movement, and it calls for action. Four speakers will discuss how to build an art world that centers Black, Indigenous, and People of Color voices, tears down racist structures, and works toward decolonization.


Speakers include:

Kemi Ilesanmi is the executive director of the Laundromat Project, in New York, a POC-centered organization that connects artists and communities.

Tavia Nyong’o is a professor of African-American Studies, American Studies, and Theater and Performance Studies at Yale University. He is the author of Afro-Fabulations: The Queer Drama of Black Life (2018).

Shani Peters is an artist based in New York. She co-founded the Black School, an experimental art school that teaches radical Black history and art through workshops, public projects, design services, and exhibitions.

Michael Rakowitz is an artist based in Chicago. He is an associate professor in the department of Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern University.


The forum will be chaired by Nikki Columbus.


The organizers have allocated  funds to provide modest stipends to organizations and individuals in need. For more information or to make a request, please click here.


A description and video documentation of the first two Emergency Sessions can be found here and here.