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Paul Stephen Benjamin, Let Freedom Ring, (2017). TV video installation (3 channel color and sound), 6:00 minute loop. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist

History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do. 

—James Baldwin “The White Man’s Guilt.” Ebony, 1965

Great Force addresses the force of whiteness, the counter-force of black resistance, and the persistence of the color line in the United States. With new commissions and recent work by twenty-four artists, the exhibition presents painting, sculpture, photography, video, and performance that examine race in the United States. Great Force extends throughout three galleries at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, in Richmond, Virginia.

Exhibiting artists include: Radcliffe Bailey, Benae Beamon, Kevin Beasley, Alexandra Bell, Paul Stephen Benjamin, Sedrick Chisom, Tony Cokes, Bethany Collins, Aria Dean, Tomashi Jackson, Richard Kennedy, Pope.L, Charlotte Lagarde, Glenn Ligon, Mores McWreath, Troy Michie, Shani Peters, Robert Pruitt, John Lucas & Claudia Rankine, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Xaviera Simmons, Sable Elyse Smith, Carrie Mae Weems, and The Racial Imaginary Institute

For more information, visit icavcu.org/exhibitions/great-force.

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