The Ford Foundation will open its doors to the new exhibition, Utopian Imagination. Curated by Jaishri Abichandani, the show brings together works by 14 diverse artists from around the world, and closes out the inaugural year of exhibitions at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice’s beautiful new gallery.
Using science fiction to frame this interrogation, Utopian Imagination presents objects, bodies, vessels, and fragments created by artists over time that when pieced together offer futuristic narratives that inspire hope for our existence.
The above image, which is a self-portrait by Lola Flash, encapsulates the spirit of the exhibition. Viewed from below as one would look up at a deity, Lola’s ambiguously gendered tattooed body is clad in an orange prison jumpsuit with a pair of unshackled handcuffs dangling from her wrist. Head ensconced in an astronaut’s helmet, she is framed against a landscape of blue sky and water, a perfect embodiment of the dream of liberation of her ancestors.
Collectively, these artworks evoke a sense of wonder and magic through fictional landscapes, transformed bodies, and space and flight as a metaphor for liberation.
The exhibition brings together works by artists who are imagining our existence on an imperiled planet. With the understanding that (radical) love is the answer to the violence presented in Perilous Bodies, this exhibition recognizes the difficulties of the task ahead. Utopias are increasingly hard to imagine in a world torn asunder by conflict. Using science fiction to frame this interrogation, this exhibition presents objects, bodies, vessels, fragments created by artists over time that when pieced together, offer a vision of a future that includes all of us.
The participating artists represent a wide array of lived experiences and identities, including indigenous, LGBTQIA+, and feminist voices. They include: Saks Afridi (Pakistan/United States), Morehshin Allahyari (Iran/United States), Sue Austin (England), Firelei Báez (Dominican Republic/United States), Beatriz Cortez (El Salvador/United States), Lola Flash (United States), Juliana Huxtable (United States), farxiyo jaamac (Somalia/Canada), Lee Bul (Korea), Cannupa Hanska Luger (United States – Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota), Mariko Mori (Japan), Zak Ové (England), Mikael Owunna (United States), and Yinka Shonibare MBE (England/Nigeria).
Utopian Imagination, curated by Jaishri Abichandani, will be on view from September 17 through December 7, 2019 at The Ford Foundation, 320 East 43rd Street, NYC. An Opening Reception will be held on Tuesday, September 17 from 6:00-8:00pm. The gallery is free and open to the public with hours from Monday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm.