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Talk | On Thinking and Being Caribbean: A Roundtable Discussion

November 19, 20222:00 pm - 3:30 pm

ASL interpretation, CART captioning, and Spanish language translation provided

About the Event

What is the Caribbean? What does Caribbeanness mean to artists of the Caribbean diaspora?

On opening day of the MCA exhibition Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora 1990s-Today, join Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator Carla Acevedo-Yates and artists Christopher Cozier, Teresita Fernández, and María Magdalena Campos-Pons for a roundtable discussion. Building upon an in-depth conversation included in the catalog accompanying this exhibition, the curator and artists explore ideas behind the exhibition, how they see themselves as artists, and how they work within certain parameters, frameworks, and structures of the art world.

MCA Talks highlight cutting-edge thinking and contemporary art practices across disciplines. This presentation is organized by Daniel Atkinson, Manager of Learning, Adult Interpretive Programs, and the MCA’s Visual Art and Learning teams.

About the Speakers

Art Professor Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons in her studio office and outside Ingram Fine Arts Center. (John Russell/Vanderbilt University)

María Magdalena Campos-Pons. Photo: John Russell.

María Magdalena Campos-Pons is an artist who works across an array of media, including photography, painting, sculpture, video, and performance. Addressing issues of history, memory, gender, and religion, her work investigates how each of these themes influences identity formation. Recalling dark narratives of the transatlantic slave trade, her practice honors the labor of Black bodies on sugar plantations, renews Catholic and Santerían religious practices, and celebrates revolutionary uprisings in the Americas. Campos-Pons has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Canada, among other institutions. She has presented more than 30 performances commissioned by institutions like the Guggenheim and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery (both in collaboration with sound artist Neil Leonard). She also participated in the 49th Venice Biennial (in collaboration with Leonard), the 55th Venice Biennial, and Documenta 14. Her works are held in more than 50 museums around the world. Campos-Pons is currently the Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Fine Arts at Vanderbilt University and lives and works in Nashville, Tennessee.

Christopher Cozier. Photo: Mark Lyndersay.

Christopher Cozier is an artist living and working in Trinidad. Through notebook drawings and installations derived from staged actions, he investigates how historical and contemporary Caribbean experiences inform understandings of the wider world. Cozier is also the codirector of Alice Yard, a contemporary art space and collective based in Port of Spain. He was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2004 and is a Prince Claus Award laureate (2013). Exhibitions include Experiences of Oil, Stavanger Art Museum, Norway (2021–22); Fragments of Epic Memory, Art Gallery of Ontario (2021–22); Más Allá, el Mar Canta, Times Art Center, Berlin (2021); The Sea is History, Historisk, Oslo (2019); Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago, Museum of Latin American Art, Los Angeles (2017); Entanglements, MSU Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, MI (2015); Afro Modern: Journeys through the Black Atlantic, TATE Liverpool (2010); and Infinite Island, Brooklyn Museum (2007). Cozier also exhibited in the 11th Liverpool Biennial (2021); the Industrial Art Biennial, Croatia (2020); the 14th Sharjah Biennial (2019); and the 5th and 7th Havana Biennials.

Teresita Fernandez, an olive-skinned woman with brown hair pulled into a tight bun a top her head, sits in front of a bronze and dark brown colored work in her studio in Brooklyn, NY. She wears a black turtleneck and dark, round earrings, both of which highlight her face.

Teresita Fernández. Photo: Natalia Mantini.

Teresita Fernández’s immersive, monumental works are inspired by a rethinking of landscape and place, as well as by diverse historical and cultural references. Often drawing inspiration from the natural world, Fernández’s practice unravels the intimacies between matter, places, and human beings while exposing the history of colonization and the inherent violence embedded in how we imagine and define locations. Her work questions power, visibility, and erasure in ways that prompt reflective engagement. Fernández is a 2005 MacArthur Foundation Fellow and the recipient of numerous awards including a Creative Capital Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Artist’s Grant, and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award. Appointed by President Obama, she is the first Latina to serve on the US Commission of Fine Arts, a hundred-year-old federal panel that advises the president and Congress on national matters of design and aesthetics. Fernández’s works have been exhibited both nationally and internationally at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Smithsonian Museum of American Art; MASS MoCA; and Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy, among others. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Video Documentation


Lead support for the 2021-22 season of MCA Talks is made possible by The Richard and Mary L. Gray Lecture Series through a generous gift to the Chicago Contemporary Campaign.

Generous support is provided by The Antje B. and John J. Jelinek Endowed Lecture and Symposium on Contemporary Art; the Kristina Barr Lectures, which were established through a generous gift by The Barr Fund to the Chicago Contemporary Campaign; The Gloria Brackstone Solow and Eugene A. Solow, MD, Memorial Lecture Series; and the Allen M. Turner Tribute Fund, honoring his past leadership as Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Lead individual sponsorship for Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990’s–Today is generously contributed by Kenneth C. Griffin.

Lead support is provided by the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris; Zell Family Foundation; Cari and Michael Sacks; the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Jana and Bernardo Hees; Mellon Foundation; Gael Neeson, Edlis Neeson Foundation; and Karyn and Bill Silverstein.

Major support is provided by Julie and Larry Bernstein, Robert J. Buford, Citi Private Bank, Lois and Steve Eisen and the Eisen Family Foundation, Marilyn and Larry Fields, Nancy and David Frej, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, Anne L. Kaplan, Charlotte Cramer Wagner and Herbert S. Wagner III of the Wagner Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

Generous support is provided by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation and by Marisa Murillo.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

This exhibition is supported by Etant donnés Contemporary Art, a program from Villa Albertine and FACE Foundation, in partnership with the French Embassy in the United States, with support from the French Ministry of Culture, Institut français, Ford Foundation, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, CHANEL, and ADAGP.

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