Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
On July 20, 1964, over 1,000 people flooded the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, New York, to protest the police killing of James Powell, a Black 15-year-old. The demonstrations, part of an early wave of protests against police brutality in the United States, had originated uptown, in Harlem. But in the Brooklyn neighborhood, home to one of the city’s largest African American and Puerto Rican populations, activists amplified demands for justice, facing brutal police retaliation that left more than 100 injured and one killed.
To honor the long history of Black-led activism in Kings County, the Brooklyn Public Library’s Center for Brooklyn History (CBH) is launching Brooklyn Resists, a new “public history initiative” opening this Saturday, Juneteenth. Mounted in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black individuals who lost their lives to racist violence, the project spans exhibitions and programs curated around the CBH’s archival holdings as well as crowdsourced images.
Led by CBH Director Heather Malin and Assistant Director for Collections and Public Service Natiba Guy-Clement in collaboration with historian Dr. Brian Purnell, Brooklyn Resists will bridge the past and present of anti-racist mobilizations in Brooklyn — from abolition to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The CBH was founded last October when the BPL and the Brooklyn Historical Society (BHS) merged their collections, creating the world’s largest trove of materials related to Brooklyn history. Among the new collaborative institution’s goals are democratizing access to the archives and diversifying the way the borough’s history is told and represented.
In line with this effort toward a plurality of voices and in partnership with Urban Archive, the Center will launch an open call for images, audio, oral histories, and texts, encouraging Brooklynites from all walks of life to share their own experiences of activism. The CBH will also work with local photographers to document contemporary instances of protest and resistance in Brooklyn. These and other initiatives, says BPL President Linda E. Johnson, will enrich the CBH’s holdings to “reflect the critical narratives that formed the borough as it stands today.”
Other aspects of Brooklyn Resists seek to emphasize and illuminate the center’s substantial historical archives. As part of an interdisciplinary project with Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, creative writing students and professional playwrights will be asked to respond to materials in the collections through written poems or short monologues, to be performed next year.
“From the murder of Arthur Miller in June of 1978 to the murders of Yusuf Hawkins in 1989 and Amadou Diallo in 1999 by New York City police, and the murders of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and Tamir Rice, Brooklyn has a long history of racial protest, most recently with its amplified call for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daunte Wright,” said Dr. Purnell in a statement. “It is vital that we document, investigate, and reflect on our shared histories.”
Brooklyn Resists debuts this Saturday, June 19, with an outdoor exhibition at CBH in Brooklyn Heights (128 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn), featuring historic texts and images that will be projected on the building’s facade. The show is curated by Dr. Purnell and designed by Little Mega, and will be open to the public through September 30, 2021.
Through in-person and virtual talks, the initiative will also address urgent issues that are inextricably tied to calls for racial justice, such as gun violence, domestic abuse, and other scourges heightened by systemic racism. BPL’s 2021 Katowitz Radin Artist-in-Residence, Chloë Bass, will present her multiform installation The Parts at CBH’s Central Library.
The art world has paid attention to other artists from the same era, but we have not done the same with Sonia Gechtoff, and it is time that we did.
Wifredo Lam developed a style that dances between figuration and abstraction, but the selected compositions at Pace gallery tend to repeat.
These multimedia works debuting on Voice include a “Death Mechanism” and allow fans to collect the artist’s origin story, told specifically for the metaverse.
These four artists dig into the cultural and geologic history of the enclave of Staten Island to produce work that resonates with the core of bell hooks’s commendation to love.
As acceptance of digital art grows, there is also a need to validate quality and recognize artists who explore radical ideas and achieve creative breakthroughs.
On December 13, learn about the Sam Fox School’s graduate programs in Visual Art and Illustration & Visual Culture, as well as the university’s competitive financial aid packages.
Anthology Film Archives’ complete retrospective of the influential Canadian experimental filmmaker includes many exceptionally rare titles.
Breuer’s Bohemia is centered around the life and work of Marcel Breuer, but touches upon an entire cohort of Modernist influencers.
Located in a historic industrial manufacturing facility in Utica, New York, this sculpture-centric program is accepting applications through January 15, 2022.
A conversation with Richard Kraft about his artist book in which he created penalty flags for nearly 10,000 of Trump’s misdeeds
The guidelines are specifically meant to combat a form of online harassment known as doxing.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very New York art events this month.