Live Culture with Martha Willette Lewis
Live Culture 64: How to Make a Scaffolding of Care…
This month on Live Culture Martha Willette Lewis is in conversation with Curator/Activist La Tanya S. Autry, and Artist/Activist Amanda D. King. La Tanya is Gund Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, where the exhibit she curated – Temporary Spaces of Joy and Freedom – is now on view. Amanda is an Artist, Activist, Founder and Creative Director of the groundbreaking art and advocacy initiative Shooting Without Bullets.
They will discuss a recent upheaval at The Museum of Contemporary Art (moCA) Cleveland, where an exhibition of drawings by noted artist Shaun Leonardo, depicting police violence, was canceled after concern over the content was voiced. This resulted in an outcry from the artist, subsequent apologies to him from the museum and the director stepping down. Both Amanda and La Tanya were involved in raising objections to showing the work in the museum, along with Miss Samaria Rice, the mother of Tamir Rice, who was the subject of one of the drawings.
Much has been written about the artist being censored, but there is more to it. This is a complex story in which the two help untangle as we discuss institutionalized racism, community, and the impact of images. At the center of it all is the heartbreaking issue: what rights do family members of victims of violence have over the images of their loved ones? How do we sensitively navigate the line between public and private? And more broadly, what can we do about institutionalized racism in museums and the art world?
About my guests:
Amanda D. King is a Cleveland-based artist, activist, and educator. Her civically engaged practice utilizes arts education, cultural production, and cultural organizing to spread progressive ideas and messages of social justice.
Amanda is the Founder and Creative Director of Shooting Without Bullets, a for-impact organization utilizing cultural production, artist education and development, activism and advocacy to model an alternative arts ecosystem that accelerates movement Black and Brown youth and their communities need to thrive.
Amanda holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Bryn Mawr College and a Juris Doctor Degree from Case Western Reserve University where she received the Martin Luther King Jr., Diane Ethics, and Dean’s Community Service Awards.
As a cultural organizer in the visual arts, La Tanya S. Autry centers collective care in her decolonial, abolitionist curatorial praxis. In addition to co-creating The Art of Black Dissent, an interactive program that both promotes public discussion about the Black liberation struggle and engenders fighting antiblackness through the collective imagining of public art interventions, she co-produced #museumsarenotneutral, an initiative that exposes the fallacies of the neutrality claim and calls for an equity-based transformation of museums and the Social Justice and Museums Resource List, a crowd-sourced bibliography.
La Tanya has curated exhibitions and organized programs at moCA Cleveland, Yale University Art Gallery, Artspace New Haven, and other institutions. Through her graduate studies at the University of Delaware, where she is completing her Ph.D. In Art History, La Tanya has developed expertise in the art of the United States, photography, and museums. Her dissertation The Crossroads of Commemoration: Lynching Landscapes in America, which analyzes how individuals and communities memorialize lynching violence in the built environment, concentrates on the interplay of race, representation, memory, and public space.
More about the Temporary Spaces of Joy and Freedom exhibition: https://www.mocacleveland.org/exhibitions/temporary-spaces-joy-and-freedom
More about The Art of Black Dissent: https://theartofblackdissent.wordpress.com/who-are-we/
More about Museums Are Not Neutral:https://artstuffmatters.wordpress.com/
More about The Social Justice & Museums Resource List: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PyqPVslEPiq0Twnn4YYVXopk3q426J95nISRxvkQI_Q/edit
Further reading here:
About the Tamir Rice Afrocentric Cultural Center: https://www.tamirericefoundation.org/
About the canceled exhibition:
The Live Culture Logo features Large and Small Thoughts, an image by artist Joan Fitzsimmons. I thank her for her generous permission to use her photograph.
Live Culture is a monthly discussion about the arts, Hosted by visual artist Martha Willette Lewis and airing on WPKN, Radio 89.5 fm Bridgeport, available online at Wpkn.org. The show airs on the final Saturday of each month from 11-12 noon and is available for two weeks on ARCHIVES and *EVER AFTER* as a PODCAST, for ON-Demand Listening.