Saturday, September 15, 2007

Open For Business

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Kenya Evans, Michelle White, Jamal Cyrus, Robert Pruitt, Jabari Anderson, and Franklin Sirmins @ Lessons From Below

Otabenga Jones' proxy exhibition is on view at the Menil right now; perpetrators Kenya Evan, Jamal Cyrus, Robert Pruitt and Jabari Anderson showed up dressed as their favorite protagonist from the past four evolutions of African-American martial identity. Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Afrika Bambaataa and Ice Cube spoke with curators Michelle White and Franklin Sirmins about the long history of anti-diasporic and self-empowering thought in the Black community, and Melanie Lawson tried to corner the group by saying that the Freedom Riders were the last group of non-African Americans to sympathize with the civil rights cause (is that the case?). Be sure to check out Pruitt's favorite piece, a signed stock certificate for the Black Star Line with "Africa: The Land of Opportunity" printed on a map of the world.

In certain spots of the museum Otabenga has placed monitors where Amiri Baraka- in his former incarnation as Leroi Jones- speaks at TSU in 1970. The intervention is at its best when it comes across as aural graffiti, when one is walking through a quiet room of Yves Klein's paintings and the sound infiltrates your whole perception.

The exhibit's classroom atmosphere is not just for show, there are five Saturday sessions of lectures scheduled (with more to be announced) but at any time the bank of art history and history books on the shelf is there for your perusal, there's some good stuff!