BlackMass is a New York-based collective and independent press promoting publishing material by Black artists and cultural producers. Guided by an improvisational process informed by jazz poetics and various Black aesthetic modalities, their books and zines place archival images and texts in affective proximity to facilitate conversation and foster community.
Yusuf Hassan and Kwamé Sorrell, co-founders of the artist collective, will lead a critical walkthrough of the exhibition Unnamed Figures: Black Presence and Absence in the Early American North which offers a window onto Black representation and narratives of early African American history. Challenging the physical and poetic boundaries of historical materials, this tour will meditate on the past and present’s significance of the objects on view.
About the Speakers
At once a structure of coherent units and a collection of disjointed parts, BlackMass invokes an aggregate of Blackness, of matter in resistance. Combining archival photographs and found print material with poetry and jazz music, BlackMass grapples with the blurred lines and idiosyncrasies which make up the collective improvisation of African diasporic culture.
Space is very limited; advance registration is required. Please consider making a donation when you register to support ongoing virtual programming.
Left: Moses Williams (1777-c.1825) or Raphaelle Peale (1774-1825), Moses Williams, Cutter of Profiles, Philadelphia c. 1803, white laid paper on black stock, 4 x 5 in. Library Company of Philadelphia, (3) 5750.F.153b. / Right: Prudence Punderson (1758-1784), The First, Second, and Last Scene of Mortality, Preston, Connecticut c. 1776-1783, embroidery, 12 3/4 x 16 3/4 in. Connecticut Historical Society, gift of Newton C. Brainard, 1962.28.4
Major support for this exhibition is provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art, with additional support from, the American Folk Art Society, Citi, the David Davies and Jack Weeden Fund for Exhibitions, David and Dixie De Luca, Susan and James Hunnewell, the Robert Lehman Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and Elizabeth and Irwin Warren.