Alt-Archives: Bri Murphy & Belle-Pilar Fleming | April 2021 |Bunker Center for the Arts, 1014 E. 19th St, KCMO | Art Exhibition
Statement from the Artists: We are so excited to share the work in these exhibits with the Bunker Center for the Arts and its viewership. The generosity of the space provided has enabled us to present each of our respective solo work, as well as debut a brand new collaborative series. Each of these three exhibits employ the use of archival and historical subject matter as both inspiration and raw material. While conceptually related in this way, each is individual in its specificity and form. Please read on about each exhibit, and thank you for your attention. -Bri and Belle-Pilar Q̶u̶i̶x̶o̶t̶i̶c̶, Bri Murphy & Belle-Pilar Fleming Charity Benefit Event What if Shirley Chisholm had won her historic bid for president in 1972? In this collaborative body of work we interrogate the notion of electability in both historical and contemporaneous contexts by recasting the victor of the 1972 presidential race. Chisholm was the first black woman elected to Congress, and the first to seek a major party nomination for the presidency. Her campaign (and general ambition) was dubbed “quixotic,” in other words, too idealistic to succeed. In reviewing the landscape of contemporary American politics it is clear that the tendency to classify marginalized candidates in this way still stands in the way of true progress. Thus, our endeavor to communicate with an alternate past exemplifies both a space of defiance and one of dreaming. These efforts are inspired by a host of historical material, including iconic imagery of Nixon, anonymous vintage dinnerware, industrial commemorative ceramics, handmade signature quilts, and actual ephemera of Chisholm’s campaign. With this work we invite viewers to question their own assumptions about electability and the standards by which one is dubbed worthy of leadership. 100% of profits from Quixotic will be split between Black Voters Matter and the Higher Heights Leadership Fund. Unfounded, Bri Murphy The work in this series challenges the glorification of the Founding Fathers as they are canonized in both historical contexts and contemporary applications. Washington, Jefferson, Madison…their biographies are dotted with mentions of their wives and loyal servants; their accomplishments archived in stone, oil, and ink. Within this cultural milieu, it is easy to forget that continued reverence for historical figures such as the Founding Fathers requires a forgetting of violence and/or a complete omission of other histories. The product of a collective forgetting is a new mythology, an American mythology that proliferates stories of white fathers and sons, and the visual iconography of our country is made in their image. The busts in this room, Unfounded: Washington and Unfounded: Jefferson, are 3D printed versions of the famous sculptures by Jean-Antoine Houdon, appropriated from digital scans found online. The democratization of information on the internet is a conduit to the past, a path to collaborations across time and space. These new iterations embody their own instability – their low-resolution echoes the degeneration of the single, hegemonic American narrative that every day continues to unravel. Candidly – the work in this exhibition is the result of a complicated relationship to my own American identity. I hope moments of reverence shine as brightly as the criticisms – for I am proud to live in a country where I am free to love and fight for what I believe in. My practice requires me to make space for the things that cause me despair, make me the most furious, and also challenge me to find hope and pride. Thank you for sharing it with me. Something in the Hands, Belle-Pilar Fleming This project examines lineage and identity formation within the spaces of queer archives, particularly as it pertains to the lives of queer women. Archives manifest in a myriad of different forms, from the personal collection to the institutional body, often holding a record of both struggle and triumph. At a time when our country is reckoning with a legacy of injustice, historic collections can shed light on the traumas of the past, reveal the persistence of human agency, and offer suggestions for a more equitable future. Much of this work draws on source materials found in the Ohio Lesbian Archive in Cincinnati, OH, as well as the Lesbian Herstory Archive in Brooklyn, NY, and additionally includes items of my own collecting (such as photographs, and personal testimonies). These materials straddle a line between the personal and the institutional, at once anonymous and yet deeply interpersonal. The physical space of the archive itself, as well as the subjects which its materials address, are equal points of interest in my work. Viewers are invited to consider the archive as an affective space as well as one where negotiations of visibility, personal experience, and political realities are interwoven.
2021/04/06 - 2021/04/30
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