Show Don’t Tell: A Symposium with The Fellowship for Utopian Practice
Presented by Culture Push
10 Years of Practicing Utopia:
Panel Discussion with Olaronke Akinmowo, Chloë Bass,
and Alicia Grullón, Moderated by Sarah Dahnke
Monday, April 29, 2019
6 to 8pm
On Monday, April 29, Show Don’t Tell featured a celebration of Culture Push’s tenth anniversary of Practicing Utopia with a conversation among alumni of the Fellowship for Utopian Practice including Olaronke Akinmowo (2014), Chloë Bass (2013), and Alicia Grullón (2013). Moderated by Sarah Dahnke of Dances for Solidarity (2015), the participants reflected on how they have since expanded on the ideas they explored during their Fellowship: Bass through an ongoing investigation of scales of intimacy; Grullón through diverse work with environmental justice in the Bronx; and Akinmowo through her Free Black Women’s Library. Together, they discussed how the Fellowship has impacted their respective practices.
OlaRonke Akinmowo (Panelist) is an interdisciplinary artist, Black Feminist Scholar, set decorator, mother, and world traveling witch from Brooklyn, New York
Chloë Bass (Panelist) is a multiform conceptual artist working in performance, situation, conversation, publication, and installation. Her work uses daily life as a site of deep research to address scales of intimacy: where patterns hold and break as group sizes expand. She began her work with a focus on the individual (The Bureau of Self-Recognition, 2011 – 2013), has recently concluded a study of pairs (The Book of Everyday Instruction, 2015 – 2017), and will continue to scale up gradually until she’s working at the scale of the metropolis. Chloë has held numerous fellowships and residencies; 2018’s included a residency at Denniston Hill, the Recess Analog Artist-in-Residence, and a BRIC Media Arts Fellowship. She is a 2019 Art Matters Grantee. Her projects have appeared nationally and internationally, including recent exhibits at the Knockdown Center, the Kitchen, the Brooklyn Museum, CUE Art Foundation, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space, The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, the James Gallery, and elsewhere. Reviews, mentions of, and interviews about her work have appeared in Artforum, The New York Times, Hyperallergic, The Brooklyn Rail, BOMB, Temporary Art Review, and Artnews among others. Her monograph was published by The Operating System in December 2018; she also has a chapbook, #sky #nofilter, forthcoming from DoubleCross Press. Her short-form writing has been published on Hyperallergic, Arts.Black, and the Walker Reader. She is an Assistant Professor of Art at Queens College, CUNY, where she co-runs Social Practice Queens with Gregory Sholette.
Sarah Dahnke (Moderator) is the director and founder of Dances for Solidarity. She is a Brooklyn-based choreographer, multimedia artist, and arts educator. She creates performance experiences that often feature non-performers, highlighting and celebrating the nuances of natural, untrained human movement. She works with public school students to facilitate the creation of their own choreography and video projects, makes giant group dances to teach to the general public, and films instructional videos to disseminate dance sequences widely. Through Dances for Solidarity, Dahnke has been a guest lecturer/teacher at Tulane University, Princeton University, UCLA and New York University and a presenter at conferences such as Create Justice, Prison Outside, and NCA - Policing, Prisons & New Public Voices. Dances for Solidarity has received commissions from PEN America and A Studio in the Woods, and has been in residence at Abrons Arts Center and Brooklyn Studios for Dance. Dahnke is currently a fellow in the Target Margin Theater Institute, is the inaugural recipient of First Person Plural's artist grant, and is a former awardee of the Fellowship for Utopian Practice by Culture Push.
Alicia Grullón (Panelist), directs her interdisciplinary practice towards critiques of the politics of presence, arguing for the inclusion of disenfranchised communities in political and social spheres. She is co-organizer and co-author of the People’s Cultural Plan, a coalition of artists, cultural workers, and activists responding to New York City’s first ever cultural plan in 2017. Her work has been shown at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, El Museo del Barrio, Columbia University’s Wallach Art Gallery, BRIC Arts, Spring/Break Art Show, and Performa 11, among others. Grullón is also a contributing author to Rhetoric, Social Value and the Arts: But How Does it Work?, ed. Nicola Mann and Charlotte Bonham-Carter (Palgrave Macmillan, London). Recent activities include, Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University, the Shandaken Project inaugural artist residencies on Governors Island, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts AIM Alum program at 80 White Street Fall 2019. Grullón is an adjunct professor at The School of Visual Arts and City University of New York (CUNY).
Culture Push is an artist-run organization that creates programs to nurture artists and other creative people who are approaching common problems through hands-on civic participation and imaginative problem-solving. The mission of Culture Push is to create a home for ideas based in curiosity and interaction that have a positive impact on the world, and to create a lively exchange of ideas between many different communities; artists and non-artists, professional practitioners and laypeople, across generations, neighborhoods, and cultures. Culture Push supports the process of creating new modes of thinking and doing and serves a diverse community of creative people. The programs of Culture Push focus on collaboration and group learning through active, participatory experiences. Culture Push created the Fellowship for Utopian Practice in 2012 to nurture artists and lend institutional support to ideas that are in the development stage and/or may fall outside the purview of mainstream support. The Fellows work on projects that collaborate with the public to find new modes of civic engagement, and are encouraged to think big and engage deeply with their local communities as they take on issues such as sustainability, social justice, and the historical record, working with imaginative forms of social and political activism. Culture Push was founded in 2009 as the shared vision of three multidisciplinary artists, and is celebrating its tenth anniversary with events and publications throughout 2019.