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RAP NEWSLETTER  //  No. 10  //  November 30, 2018


WHAT'S INSIDE


Welcome to the tenth edition of the RAP Newsletter, an occasional publication from RAP USC, an interdisciplinary research collaborative funded by the Provost at the University of Southern California looking at the intersection of race, arts, and placemaking. About every 2-3 weeks, expect to receive info about the many exciting things we and our friends are up to, are excited about, and opportunities that we have found. For more information about us visit the RAP Website and to submit newsletter items for inclusion email us. —The Editors

RAP COVERED


Hank Willis Thomas and Viet Thanh Nguyen
We are delighted to highlight the fact that last week’s Time magazine cover features two RAP affiliated artists, Hank Willis Thomas and Viet Thanh Nguyen.

The cover image, a collage of diverse faces, was created by Thomas, along with Emily Shur, to reinterpret the iconic Norman Rockwell illustration titled “Freedom of Worship” in 1943. Rockwell’s piece is one of a series of the artist’s paintings featured in The Saturday Evening Post that rendered the “Four Freedoms” listed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in a speech made in 1941. These are the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to worship in one’s own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear. Over the last 75 years or so, the images have gained a secure place in the American national psyche, but Thomas felt that they do not reflect the true diversity of American culture, and he set out to offer “a portrait of the America we live in.” Time's current cover image is one of several of these reinterpretations, and is part of a larger project titled “For Freedoms” connecting artists to civic engagement.

Time’s cover story, “I Love America. That’s Why I have to Tell the Truth About It,” was written by Nguyen and traces the USC professor and novelist’s life as it is situated at the intersection of multiple cultures – French, Vietnamese and American – each of which he describes as both beautiful and brutal based on histories of conquest. Describing his disdain for the phrase “love it or leave it,” often said to him in a threatening way, as well as his lack of connection to iconic symbols of American nationhood, Nguyen writes that he loves the principles of American culture, especially “the freedom to write and to think whatever I want,” but qualifies that love, noting that these principles “have all been nurtured by the blood of genocide, slavery, conquest, colonization, imperial war, forever war.” The piece beautifully captures Nguyen’s nuanced relationship to the country where he lives. Taken together, Thomas’ image and Nguyen’s story remind us as we celebrate a national holiday that we would do well to remember America’s complex history, its beauty as well as its brutality.

As a reminder, Hank Willis Thomas will visit USC in January in association with a Visions and Voices event titled RAP Lessons: Bridging Race, Arts and Placemaking, which includes a video exhibition January 14 - February 28, 2019, based on Question Bridge, a project by artists Chris Johnson, as well as Thomas, Bayeté Ross Smith and Kamal Sinclair. The project uses video to facilitate conversations among Black men from diverse backgrounds. The event will include an opening reception and discussion on Wednesday, January 16, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m., with artists Chris Johnson and Hank Willis Thomas and led by RAP member and Annenberg associate professor Taj Frazier; Frazier and RAP member Suzanne Lacy of the USC Roski School of Art and Design organized the event. It is free and RSVPs open December 4, 2018.


RAP CLASSES


DESIGNING MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION PROJECTS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
COMM 366
Instructor: Alison Trope
Date & Time: Mondays, 2:00 - 4:50 p.m.
Instructor: François Bar
Date & Time: Tuesdays, 2:00 - 4:50 p.m.

Alison Trope’s section will investigate and analyze the ways in which issues of gender are communicated through various media platforms, with a focus on Viceland’s documentary series WOMAN.

RAD IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
ART 599
Instructor: Suzanne Lacy
Date & Time: Thursdays, 2:00-6:00 p.m.

In partnership with the California African American Museum, graduate students will work to produce a weekly after-school visual arts and design program for students from Ánimo Jackie Robinson High School.

READINGS IN AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES
AMST 530
Instructor: Francille Rusan Wilson
Date & Time: Tuesdays, 5:00-7:50 p.m.

This seminar will explore crucial theoretical, methodological and historical issues in the development of African American Studies.

COMMUNICATION RESEARCH PRACTICUM, BREAKING’  ’N’ ENTERIN’: EARLY LOS ANGELES HIP HOP & THE ARCHIVE
COMM 494
Instructor: Robeson Taj Frazier
Date & Time: TBA, contact Professor

In this course, students will take part in a research investigation that examines early Los Angeles hip hop culture. This research will contribute to an evolving research project and exhibition that explores histories of hip hop music and culture in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas from the early 1980s to mid-1990s, with a specific focus on the spaces, organizations, people and intergenerational relationships that helped nurture early Los Angeles hip hop culture. 

GLOBAL CIPHAS: HIP HOP CIRCLES AROUND THE WORLD
FREN 499
Instructor: Edwin C. Hill
Date:  May 14 - June 15, 2019

This Maymester class will be taught in Paris (in English) by RAP faculty member Professor Edwin Hill and will analyze the formation of hip hop circles around the world, focusing especially on local scenes in Los Angeles and Paris.

CIVIC MEDIA AND PARTICIPATORY POLITICS
COMM 576
Instructors: Sangita Shresthova, Colin Maclay
Date & Time: Tuesdays, 2:00 - 4:50 p.m.

As part of this course, students will explore a wide range of theories, conceptual tools, case studies and hands-on applications of civic media – from participatory politics to the civic imagination. Students will also have a unique opportunity to collaborate and learn with civic media practitioners and makers from the AnnLab's Participatory Civic Media Fellowship, funded by the MacArthur Foundation.


CALENDAR


SAT, DEC 1 // BEYOND CAGES: AN ABOLITIONIST SUMMIT

Join  Beyond Cages: An Abolitionist Summit and learn about the movements to end policing and incarceration, discuss the role of art and culture within them, and build with the gallery toward abolition. Performances and discussions by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Noé Olivas, Jasmine Nyende, Climbing Poetree, Brianna Mims and more. 

SAT, DEC 1 // DAY WITH(OUT) ART 2018: ALTERNATE ENDINGS, ACTIVIST RISINGS

Alternative Endings, Activist Risings, the 29th iteration of Visual AIDS’ longstanding Day With(out) Art project, seeks to reflect the persisting urgencies of today’s HIV/AIDS epidemic by pointing to pressing political concerns. In their commissioned videos screening at The Broad, organizations address intersecting issues, including anti-Black violence, HIV criminalization, homelessness and the disproportionate effects of HIV on marginalized communities. At a moment of growing interest in the histories of AIDS activism, Alternative Endings, Activist Risings foregrounds contemporary engagements among activists, artists and cultural workers on the front lines. 

 

SUN, DEC 2 // ROXANE GAY AND FIRELEI BÁEZ: UNRULY BODIES

The Getty Center presents Unruly Bodies, a conversation featuring artist Firelei Báez and author and cultural critic Roxane Gay, who will discuss the representation of bodies in art. Gay has garnered wide critical and popular acclaim for her insightful and witty observations on contemporary society. Her books include Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body and Bad Feminist, which NPR named one of the best books of the year for 2014. Earlier this year, Gay brought together 25 writers in an online magazine, Unruly Bodies, to expand on the conversation she started in Hunger. Báez investigates identity through her visually striking paintings, collages and drawings, which depict strong female protagonists. 

SUN, DEC 2 // GYOPO HOLIDAY PARTY + INAUGURAL BENEFIT PRINT BY GALA PORRAS-KIM

GYOPO, a coalition of diasporic Korean artists, curators, writers, cultural producers and art professionals based in Los Angeles, kicks off the festive season with drinks, hors d’oeuvres and plenty of good cheer. The GYOPO Holiday Party also features the launch of an inaugural benefit print, an exquisite halftone screenprint by artist Gala Porras-Kim. Hosted at Commonwealth and Council, the party helps GYOPO celebrate a rich year of diverse programming, new friends and much appreciated support from community members.

 

THURS, DEC 20 // MY STORY, YOUR STORY, OUR STORY 

dA Center for the Arts, a multi-disciplinary nonprofit dedicated to supporting the arts in Pomona, is excited to present My Story, Your Story, Our Story, and to be pARTnering with She Story and My Story LA to continue to provide an accessible, safe, inclusive and equitable place to share stories. 

 

FRI, JAN 11 // BUNRAKU NINGYO AWAKENINGS: A PERFORMANCE BY KANROKU AND MOKUGU-SHA

Don’t miss an opportunity to see this Visions and Voices event featuring an example of bunraku ningyo, a form of traditional Japanese puppet theater rarely seen outside of Japan. Renowned bunraku ningyo performer Kanroku and his company, Mokugu-sha, will present Awakenings, a performance that explores the tension between social obligations and personal desire – a conflict at the heart of the bunraku repertoire – and highlights the expressive possibilities for storytelling with non-human puppets and creative experimentation by bunraku ningyo practitioners past, present and future.
 

ART ON VIEW



TUES, DEC 4 // USC ROSKI SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN MFA OPEN STUDIOS
IFT Graduate Fine Arts Building, 3001 South Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007
Roski Open Studios is free and open to the public.


DEC 8 - MAR 9 // WANG XU: GARDEN OF SEASONS
Vincent Price Art Museum, 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez, Monterey Park, CA 91754
Wang Xu's Garden of Seasons features a new monumental sculpture and a video that reflect on the history of Heritage Falls Park, located near the Vincent Price Museum in Monterey Park, and more generally on humanity’s utilization of monumental figurative sculpture through the ages. 


THRU DEC 29 // Jennifer Moon: Familial Technologies  
Commonwealth & Council, 3006 W 7th Street, Suite 220, LA, CA 90005
Familial Technologies is a collaboration between LA-based artist Jennifer Moon and her family that explores trauma, emotions, identity and the feedback loops that keep all of these circulating in a dynamic system. Through avatars and virtual world intra-actions, the Moon family enters the gallery-as-platform each week to refigure their relationships in an alternate reality, experimenting with identity and emotions and discovering different modes of intimacy. 

THRU FEB 25 // RITUALS OF LABOR AND ENGAGEMENT:
CAROLINA CAYCEDO AND MARIO YBARRA JR.
The Huntington Library, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108
As part of its contemporary arts initiative, The Huntington Library invited LA artists Carolina Caycedo and Mario Ybarra Jr. to create new works in response to the institution’s library, art and botanical collections. Rituals of Labor and Engagement shows the results and features a video installation produced by Caycedo that reconceptualizes iconic Huntington spaces through Afro-Latino and indigenous spiritual practices and dance. The show also includes 24 prints and drawings by Ybarra that bridge past and present through technique and subject matter, mixing his own iconography with imagery drawn from medieval and Renaissance works in The Huntington’s collections.

THRU MAR 17 // OUTLIERS AND AMERICAN VANGUARD ART
LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, LA, CA 90036
Curated by Lynne Cooke, this expansive exhibition featuring more than 250 works explores key moments in American art history when avant-garde artists and outliers – folk and self-taught artists – intersected. It also examines how this intersection ushered in new paradigms based on inclusion, integration and assimilation. Divided into three sections covering nearly 75 years, Outliers and American Vanguard Art makes an argument for adopting a more inclusive view of American art history.
Copyright © 2018 RAP at USC (c/o SLAB, the Spatial Analysis Lab), All rights reserved.

RAP is sponsored by the USC Office of the Provost Collaboration Fund.
Visit the USC RAP website by clicking here.

Our mailing address is:
RAP at USC (c/o SLAB, the Spatial Analysis Lab)
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626

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