Detail of an outline drawing for Ulrike Mueller’s mural-in-process, “The Conference of the Animals” (2020) at the Queens Museum, New York, approximately 40 x 100 feet (© Ulrike Mueller, image courtesy the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, NY)

Another week of awkward family Zoom calls, weird pantry cooking, and pretending to still feel motivated. Getting through the weekly grind, while we continue to navigate a pandemic, can feel like a lot. Luckily, this week there are a number of fascinating-looking talks taking place online, meaning you can join an exciting range of artists, historians, and curators for conversations about art and culture — all from the very same couch where you’ve been falling asleep after one too many deep dives into YouTube conspiracy theories.

The talks below all loosely focus on the intersections between public space, artistic practice, and memory — topics whichThis week, join an exciting range of artists, historians, and curators for conversations about art and culture — all from the very same couch where you’ve been falling asleep after one too many deep dives into conspiracy theories. remain extremely important to keep in mind as we all continue to process and consider what the future can (and should) look like.

So, pause the streaming and hit the couch (again) — in the name of culture!

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The Conference of the Animals: An Artist’s Talk With Ulrike Müller

Just a few years after the end of WWII, Erich Kästner published the classic children’s book The Animals Conference, a delightful story about a group of animals that rally for peace as (human) government leaders conspire to go to war. Inspired by the story, and more generally by the art of children which has played roles in both the history of modern art and international diplomacy alike the multi-disciplinary artist Ulrike Müller was recently commissioned to create an eponymous mural at the Queens Museum. The mural was meant to be presented in conjunction with the exhibition, 120 Years of Children Drawing New York City, curated by Amy Zion. (Both site-responsive projects reference the building’s history as the home of the United Nations from 1946 to 1950, as well as the museum’s long-term “Panorama of the City of New York.”)

For this talk, co-presented by Cooper Union, where Müller is the Alex Katz Chair in Painting, the artist will discuss her commission and the histories of public art and muralism that inspired it.

When: April 29, 7–8pm
Where: Zoom

More info here.

The second of three vandalized memorials to Emmett Till, which can be viewed at the Emmett Till Interpretive Center (image courtesy the Emmett Till Interpretive Center)

“Bulletproofing America’s Public Space: Race, Remembrance, and Emmett Till,” a Lecture by Mabel O. Wilson 

For this year’s Eleanore Pettersen Lecture, Cooper Union has invited the incisive architectural historian Mabel O. Wilson to discuss the fraught subject of how to commemorate histories of racial violence in the US. Focusing on recent architectural designs like the “Memorial to Peace and Justice” in Montgomery, Alabama, her lecture will consider the need to physically and publicly remember heinous acts throughout this country’s history. An esteemed professor of architecture at Columbia University, Wilson will consider the complicated nature of memorialization amid attacks on tributes to slain figures like Emmett Till and the resurgence of vociferous white nationalist groups like Unite the Right, which in 2017 organized a violent and hateful protest at the University of Virginia.

When: April 29, 6:30–8:30pm
Where: Zoom

More info here

Artist Tasha Dougé with her work “This Land is OUR Land” (image courtesy the artist, photo by Anthony Lewis)

Artist Talk and Conversation With Tasha Dougé

In 2017, artist Tasha Dougé sat down with the New York Times to talk about her work “This Land is OUR Land,” an American flag she created in the wake of racist dog whistles propagated by the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. (Case in point: “Make America Great Again.”) Constructed of synthetic hair and cotton, the Bronx-based artist’s flag critiques the omission of Black achievements and contributions from mainstream histories of the US. As she describes herself, her practice generally focuses on using “issues of social injustice, activism, racism and those that overall speak to the Black experience.”

Join her for an artist talk about her recent projects, and the influences of Haitian history and culture on her art, followed by a conversation with Saundra Alexis Heath, owner of Harlem’s Heath Gallery.

When: April 29, 6pm
Where: Instagram Live

More details here

Left to right: Laurie Simmons and Jasmine Wahi (image courtesy Art at a Time Like This, photo of Simmons by Sebastian Kim)

A Conversation With Laurie Simmons and Jasmine Wahi

Earlier this year, the two-part exhibition Abortion is Normal opened on the Lower East Side, reminding us that even amid fervent political attempts to ensure otherwise, exerting the right to control one’s own body should not only be seen as crucial but — duh — literally just normal [lol yes!], especially in a country where resistance to government “overreach” is so strong that we refuse to provide free healthcare for all during a pandemic. (I’ll refrain from pointing out further ironies.) Luckily, as part of the online exhibition How Can We Think of Art at a Time Like This?, curators Barbara Pollack and Anne Verhallen have invited curator Jasmine Wahi and artist Laurie Simmons (co-curator and co-organizer for Abortion is Normal, respectively) to discuss the framework of their exhibition and current fundraising efforts for Planned Parenthood. During a time when conservative legislators are increasingly weaponizing COVID-19 to crack down on access to life-saving abortion care, this is a conversation especially worth checking out.

When: Friday, May 1, 4pm EST, Zoom
Where: Zoom

Note: interested participants must email for the Zoom password. More info here

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Dessane Lopez Cassell

Dessane Lopez Cassell is a New York based editor, writer, and film curator, as well as the former reviews editor at Hyperallergic. You can follow her work here.