CHICAGO | April 3, 2015 -
In celebration of National Poetry Month, and of the burgeoning connections between disciplines in Chicago creative communities, artists and curators Krista Franklin and fo wilson present Ekphest: A Festival of Art + Word.
What is Ekphest? Essentially, it pairs poetics with visual and visceral art. Poets including avery r young, Jamila Woods, Fatimah Asghar, Cristina Correa, Keith Wilson, Duriel Harris, Joel Craig, Krista Franklin and myself have composed ekphrastic poems inspired by the work of major artists at the institutions with which we are partnered. Each event will differ in its delivery, but attendees can expect to experience the poems alongside (or within) the visual/visceral works, and also engage in conversation about the approaches artists and poets took to their endeavors. Comprising work that spans almost every major art institution in the city, Ekphest offers a great opportunity to engage with what many have touted to be a renaissance moment in Chicago culture.
Check out the schedule below for details and dates. I've highlighted the events at which I'll be presenting in red. Events are free unless otherwise noted.
Monday, April 6, 2015, 2pm - 4pm Freedom Song with avery r. young Chicago Cultural Center, Garland Room, 1st floor
Participants will be engaged in an ekphrastic writing workshop facilitated by writer and performer avery r. young. There will also be a performance of the work avery has generated for Ekphest, and an opportunity to visit artists Mendi + Keith Obadike's "Free/Phase" in and around the Chicago Cultural Center
Saturday, April 11, 2 - 3:30pm Intuit: The Center for Intuitive & Outsider Art with RJ EL and guest Dr. Charles Smith 756 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
RJ EL will read his work inspired by "Like Father, Like Son-Eternal Slave (ca. 1989-2002)," by Dr. Charles Smith, followed by a post-reading Q&A with Dr. Smith, a self-taught artist, Vietnam war veteran, and gifted orator. The discussion will cover RJ EL’s ekphrastic response, and analyze the work of Dr. Smith and Mr. Imagination, a nationally recognized Chicago artist who made jewelry, decorative objects and other small works from found objects, and is the subject of the retrospective Welcome to the World of Mr. Imagination currently on view at the Center.
Thursday, April 16, 6:30 - 8pm Art Institute of Chicago with Joel Craig and Duriel E. Harris Ryan Center, 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
Joel Craig will perform his work Hey King, informed by Kazuo Shiraga’s "Chikatsusei Maunkinshi (Golden Wings Brushing the Clouds Incarnated from Earthly Wide Star), 1960." Preferring to manipulate paint on canvas stretched across the floor with only his feet while suspended from a rope, Shiraga melded traditional and performance art within the context of a rapidly westernizing post-war Japan. Craig muses on the persona of a creator seeking to attain genuine originality. Duriel E. Harris will present "SPIN: Chagall’s America Remix REmixed" which features Harris as DJ Shawn “Buddha” Ryder. Using the backdrop of a video of Marc Chagall’s "America Windows, (1977)," that celebrates the social and artistic freedom in American life that Chagall most admired, Harris will present a meditation on freedom, beauty, and the promise of America in an interplay of music, theatre, dance, and poetry.
Saturday, April 18, 11am - 12:30pm Smart Museum of Art, the University of Chicago with Krista Franklin GalleryX, 5550 S. Greenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637
Krista Franklin – also one of the festival’s curators – will read original poetry inspired by a work from the Smart’s collection of over 12,000 objects and art.
Tuesday, April 21, 6 - 7pm Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) with Jamila Woods, RJ EL and Fatimah Asghar
Jamila Woods will read from her work inspired by Lorna Simpson’s "Flipside, (1991)," as a part of the museum’s MCA Live programming. She will be joined by Fatimah Asghar and RJ EL of the Young Chicago Authors’ Teaching Artist Cohort who will read poems inspired by the Doris Salcedo exhibition currently at the museum running through May 24. The event is free with museum admission or to Illinois residents.
Wednesday, April 22, 5:30 - 7pm DuSable Museum of African American History with avery r. young 740 East 56th Place, Chicago, Illinois 60637
Inspired by the painting, "Lincoln Speaks to Freedmen on the Steps of the Capitol Building, 1863," local Chicago teens will write responses to the questions: “What did it mean to be a teen in 1863? What does it mean to be a teen today?” The evening includes a powerful performance by young, and the responses from the teens through an open mic session.
Thursday, April 23, 6pm - 8pm Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) with Eric Elshtain Columbia College Chicago, 600 South Michigan, Ground fl, Chicago, IL 60605
Referencing "Presidential Moon, 1969 (from the Anachronic Series)" by photographer Adam Schreiber, Elshtain will present a short performance of poems centered around the image of the moon, the amplified sound of typewriter keys, and the human voice. The photograph by Schreiber is of a sculptural representation of the moon housed in the basement of the LBJ presidential library. In collaboration with Mikey Peterson, a Chicago-based video-audio artist, Elshtain’s presentation includes sound and film as the poem asks: What can a little moon do for you?
Sunday, April 26, 1 - 4pm Adler Planetarium with Cristina Correa and Keith Wilson Grainger Sky Theatre, 1300 South Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60605
Cristina Correa and Keith Wilson will share their work based on astronomical prints featuring Andromeda, Cygnus, Medusa, and Orion. The poems will be presented in the Grainger Sky Theatre along with an audiovisual dome projection. The poets will also lead workshops where visitors can engage with the museum’s world-class collection and create their own original, ekphrastic works. Readings will begin at 1:30. Free with museum general admission ($12.)
EVENTS ARE FREE UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.