Philadelphia

Philadelphia

“COLORED PEOPLE TIME: MUNDANE FUTURES, QUOTIDIAN PASTS, BANAL PRESENTS”

Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania 118 South 36th Street
February 1–December 22, 2019

Curated by Meg Onli

First cited in the early 1900s, the phrase colored people time has been deployed to signal both a stereotype of perpetual tardiness and a defiant refusal to comply with time regulation’s primary role in Black subjugation, from the slave plantation to the present’s logic of capitalism. This three-stage exhibition will unfold over the course of nine months by examining Black futures, pasts, and presents—the ordering itself a nod to alternate temporalities. Each iteration will place recent and commissioned work from a total of eight artists (Aria Dean, Kevin Jerome Everson, Dave McKenzie, and Martine Syms in the first) in dialogue with items ranging from Sutton Griggs’s 1899 Black dystopian novel, Imperium in Imperio, to a photograph of Henrietta Lacks’s “immortal cells,” to collection ledgers for dubiously acquired African objects. Privileging the everyday over the speculative and fantastical, “Colored People Time” posits our liberatory methodologies, in the world and in the museum, as cyclical, interconnected, contingent, and, at times, ordinary.