Colored People Time
Where: The Cooper Union
7 E. 7th St. | 41 Cooper Sq.
212-353-4100 Price: Free
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Organized by Meg Onli and divided into three distinct chapters–Mundane Futures, Quotidian Pasts, and Banal Presents–Colored People Time used the black vernacular phrase “Colored People’s Time” (CPT) to explore the ways that dominant notions of time have been used to control and condemn black people across times and spaces. CPT names a political performance by black people to evade, frustrate, and ridicule the enforcement of punctuality and productivity, key disciplinary structures of capitalism. In addition, CPT challenges and disavows the predominant opinion that being “on time” is the only way of being “in time.” Over the course of one year, the ICA staged three consecutive exhibitions, allowing the artists and Onli to build and respond to one another’s ideas over time. The project commenced with an installation by artist Martine Syms, grounded in her text The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto, and approaching the subject of black futures as one inevitably tied to the past.
Meg Onli is the Andrea B. Laporte Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania. She has curated the exhibitions Speech/Acts (2017) and Colored People Time (2019). Onli is the recipient of a 2012 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant; a 2014 Graham Foundation Grant; a 2019 Transformation Award from the Leeway Foundation; and is currently a Warhol Foundation Curatorial Fellow. In the summer of 2020, she founded the initiative, Art for Philadelphia, which raised over $100,000 for comm-unity-led abolitionist organizations. Currently, she is working on the solo exhibition Jessica Vaughn: Our Primary Focus is to be Successful (2021); co-curating, with Erin Christovale, a retrospective of Ulysses Jenkins work, Ulysses Jenkins: Mass of Images (2021); and is a Visiting Professor at Williams College.