Artist explores lynchings in exhibit at UCSD gallery
The UCSD University Art Gallery (UAG) at the Mandeville Center will present a panel discussion, “The Fruit of Sorrow: A Dialogue on Violence and Representation,” with artist Ken Gonzales-Day, Luis Alvarez of the History Department, Luis Martín-Cabrera of the Literature Department, and Cauleen Smith of the Visual Arts Department at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14.
The related exhibition, “Silent Witness: Recent Work by Ken Gonzales-Day,” features selections from two of his projects: “California Hang Trees” and “Erased Lynchings.” An opening reception is 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31; hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 1-3. UAG hours are typically 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday.
In the “Erased Lynchings” series, Gonzales-Day uses enlargements of postcards and photographs created to commemorate and publicize lynchings. Such images became so pervasive that the U.S. Postal Service had to ban their circulation in 1908. Lynchings were often seen as festive occasions and a form of entertainment, especially in rural communities, so these images frequently included enthusiastic crowds of on-lookers.
The re-presentation of this material raised a number of compelling questions for Gonzales-Day: How do you overcome historical amnesia surrounding America’s racist and violent past without at the same time reigniting the voyeuristic fascination that accompanied the original circulation of these images? What is the pedagogy of suffering, and what lessons do these images carry with them today?
The discussion will be moderated by UAG director Grant Kester. The exhibit runs through May 20. For more details, call (858) 534–0419 or visit http://universityartgallery.ucsd.edu
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