Hang the Flag

John Sims, “Transformation Proclamation,” 2017. 

Ohio University is presenting visiting artist John Sims, in conjunction with the Kennedy Museum of Art’s exhibition “Expression and Repression: Contemporary Art Censorship in America,” in a variety of contexts in the next few days.

They include an artist lecture, a panel discussion and an exhibition reception. The exhibit runs from Oct. 27 to Dec. 22.

A community sponsored performance of “Confederate Flag: A Public Hanging”also will be part of Sims’ visit.

According to a news release, John Sims is a Detroit-based interdisciplinary creator whose work encompasses areas of art, text, mathematics, performance and political-media activism. His current work is an ongoing project, “Recoloration Proclamation,” featuring re-colored and hung Confederate flag installations, a music project called “The AfroDixieRemixes” and a nationwide Confederate flag funeral performance, “Burn and Bury,” each Memorial Day.

Sims has curated several exhibitions, has been featured and has lectured internationally, and his work has been covered in the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The Guardian, The Root, ThinkProgress, Al Jazeera, Guernica, Art in America, Sculpture, FiberArts, Science News, CNN, NBC News and Nature. He has written for CNN, Al Jazeera, The Huffington Post, The Rumpus, and The Grio. 

Following are the events planned around Sims’ visit to Athens.

• Lecture: “Transformation Proclamation: Flags, Fire and Freedom – A John Sims Lecture.” Wednesday, Oct. 25, 7-8:30 p.m. Schoonover Hall 145, OU. Sims will discuss his 16-year multimedia project “Recoloration Proclamation,” according to the news release, “examining the politics of sacred symbols, social identity and visual terrorism through confrontation of the flag, music and iconography of the Confederacy.” The talk will highlight the installation, “The Proper Way to Hang a Confederate Flag,” and its role in moving discourse beyond the display issues of Confederate flags and monuments to bring the historical and present “geist” of the Confederacy to justice, the release said. This event is sponsored by the Kennedy Museum of Art.

Community Sponsored Performance: “Confederate Flag: A Public Hanging.”

Thursday, Oct. 26, noon, Scripps Amphitheater. For this community sponsored event, Sims will present for the first time “Confederate Flag: A Public Hanging,” a performance featuring the installation, “The Proper Way to Hang a Confederate Flag,” a Confederate flag hanging from a 13-foot gallows. The release states that “this symbolic hanging is an act of justice for the various crimes of white supremacy, Jim Crow segregation, and contemporary terrorism associated with this flag and the Confederacy. A potluck picnic will follow the hanging, as was customary after public executions in the 1800s. The noosed flag will join the exhibition “Expression and Repression” at the Kennedy Museum of Art, following this event. To view a live broadcast go to: www.burnandbury.org. The performance is supported by Black Life Action Coalition, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Appalachia Resist, Mountain Justice, Shagbark Seed and Mill, Athens Girls Rock Camp, the LGBT Center, Multicultural Center, United Campus Ministry, Appalachian Peace and Justice Network and Black Studies Cultural Programming Board.

• Exhibition: “Expression and Repression: Contemporary Art Censorship in America.”

Opening reception at theKennedy Museum of Art, The Ridges

is 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26. “Expression and Repression” explores the work of four contemporary artists who have been censored within the last 30 years, including Sims, Sue Coe, Kara Walker and David Wojnarowicz. Sims’ installation, “The Proper Way to Hang the Confederate Flag,” will be featured in the exhibition. This exhibition, according to the news release, “presents the artwork within the context of freedom of expression, discussing how the artists use subversive or symbolic subject matter in their work to evoke critical thought about significant social issues and conditions, and how and why their work has been repressed or censored in the United States.” This is an Honors Tutorial College thesis exhibition curated by art history senior Erica Spilger, and sponsored by the Kennedy Museum of Art and the College of Fine Arts.

Panel Discussion: “Beyond the Flag: Art, Activism, and White Supremacy.”

 Noon on Friday, Oct. 27, Walter Rotunda, OU. This discussion panel will host several speakers, including visiting artist John Sims and painter and medical student Angel Garnette, to discuss the intersectionality of race, art and activism. The panel will serve as a platform to talk about black art and censorship of the black artist, and will allow the speakers to ask and answer questions about the issues discussed. Light refreshments will be served. This discussion is sponsored by the Multicultural Center and Department of African American Studies.

University sponsors for the artist lecture, panel discussion and exhibition include Kennedy Museum of Art, College of Fine Arts, English Department, the LGBT center, the Black Studies Cultural Programming Board, Multicultural Center and the Department of African American Studies.

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