In 1967, a year before he was assassinated, Dr. Martin Luther King published his last book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? In the text, Dr. King reflects on the social and political changes brought about by the Civil Rights movement and ponders how these could shape the future of American society. Today, more than fifty years later, we continue to revisit the meaning of the choices presented, chaos or community. Amidst recent worldwide protests against racial discrimination and police brutality sparked by the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African American man, at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis this past May, the works on view in this exhibition take on renewed meaning and urgency. In the last decade we have seen violence against African American men and women; the killings of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many others, demand that as a society we reexamine race relations. This moment asks us to reconsider our role in society, acknowledge the hard work we need to do, and do it together, to effect just and positive change.
Art Encounters: Community or Chaos presents a selection of works from CFAM’s collection by artists Hank Willis Thomas, Patrick Martinez, Sam Durant, Kota Ezawa, Pedro Reyes, and Andrea Bowers, whose practices are deeply informed by current and historical socio-political events. Flanked by Reyes’ The Protestors and Bowers’ Community of Chaos, the works on view reinforce the power of language and visual gestures to protest and denounce injustice through statements that resonate with our current context while grounded in impactful historical moments.
Together, with our campus and our community, we affirm the need to acknowledge those who have been invisible, silenced, overlooked, and killed because of their ethnic background or the color of their skin, and vow to create a space for meaningful dialogue, listening, inclusion, representation and participation.
Sam Durant, (American, b. 1961), Consider Listening, 2018, Screenprint on translucent film, light box, The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Rollins College, Gift of Barbara ’68 and Theodore ’68 Alfond. 2018.1.17 © 2018 Sam Durant. Image courtesy of Krakow Witkin Gallery, Boston