Land Grant at Krannert Art Museum

Autumn Knight: In Rehearsal

January 27 through July 8, 2017

Curator: Amy L. Powell


Autumn Knight makes performances that reshape perceptions of race, gender, and authority in institutional spaces. Drawing from such disparate fields as dance, psychology, religious studies, and theatre, Knight pays attention to the ways knowledge is produced collectively among her audience members and physically in the body through language, movement, and emotion. Often gathering black women at the center of the conversation—whether herself as performer-facilitator or members of communities she makes around her—Knight usurps the dynamics of a room with humor and with purpose, enacting absurd situations and offering new ways of thinking and feeling.

For her first solo museum presentation, Knight works Krannert Art Museum and the Illinois campus into settings for performances, a series of companion pieces, and a gallery installation. The exhibition becomes an occasion for the artist to scrutinize her past work against the backdrop of a large public university while continuing to craft a research method that is perpetually in rehearsal—always nearly finished and yet constantly being taken up again.

Knight's diverse subjects include mental well-being and choreography, group dynamics and self-knowledge, religious mythology and poverty, and black maternal feeling alongside the coldness of racially motivated state sanctioned murder. Knight also makes central the challenges of performance in museums, showing videos of past work and her wide-ranging influences alongside physical supports for performers and viewers under a warm atmosphere of pink and red lights. In addition to scheduled public performances throughout the semester, returning museum visitors will be rewarded, for at any moment one might find a person playing the cello, trying on shoes, or singing a chorus.

Originally from Houston, Autumn Knight is based in New York City where she is currently Artist-in-Residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Exhibition and performances sponsored in part by the Department of Dance, Department of Gender and Women's Studies, Women's Resources Center, Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, Intersections Living-Learning Community, and Krannert Art Museum. Paid for by the Student Cultural Programming Fee.


Resources

Ricker Library of Art and Architecture has created a library guide for this exhibition, containing information on the artist's life and work. It contains bibliography, images, and online resources.
Exhibition Library Guide



Select programming for this exhibition:


Opening Night | January 26, 2017

Celebrate with us and get a first look at the season's new art exhibitions. The evening will feature live music, refreshments, and the company of Champaign-Urbana art enthusiasts.

Private Preview & Reception for Museum Members | 5–6 pm Reception catered by Michaels' Catering

To attend, please RSVP to Chris Schaede by Friday, January 20 via email or by calling 217-244-0516.

Public Opening Reception | 6–7 pm
With opening welcome by Acting Dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts and Museum Director Kathleen Harleman at 6 pm.

Public opening reception hosted by the Krannert Art Museum Council.

Thursday, January 26 · 7:30 pm
Artist Performance | Autumn Knight
El Diablo y Cristo Negro
(60 minutes)
This series of scripted and improvised comedic dialogues explores the entwined relationship between good and evil, with the Devil and Black Christ as pivotal personas and appearances by Black Christ's therapist and a flesh-eating monster. This performance is inspired by the Festival de Cristo Negro (Black Christ Festival) and regional mythology in Portobelo, Panama, asking broad questions about the place of religion and belief in evil among black cultures of the Americas. Featuring Chivas Michael, Autumn Knight, and Xavier Roe.
Location: KAM Main Level, Rosann Gelvin Noel Annex and Light Court Gallery | Map



Thursdays, February 2, 9, 16, & 23 · 2 pm
In Gallery Performances | In Rehearsal
(60 minutes)
Join the exhibition In Rehearsal as a performer negotiates the installation's physical possibilities and constraints.
Location: KAM Main Level, Rosann Gelvin Noel Annex and Light Court Gallery | Map



Friday, February 10 · 2 pm
Gallery Conversation | Religion, Race, Sexuality, and Performance
(60 minutes)
Faculty from a range of disciplines gather to respond to Autumn Knight's invitation to speak on themes related to the artist's work. Gallery visitors are encouraged to listen and participate.
Location: KAM Main Level, Rosann Gelvin Noel Annex and Light Court Gallery | Map



Thursdays, March 2, 9, & 16 · 2 pm
In Gallery Performances | In Rehearsal
(60 minutes)
Join the exhibition In Rehearsal as a performer negotiates the installation's physical possibilities and constraints.
Location: KAM Main Level, Rosann Gelvin Noel Annex and Light Court Gallery | Map



Thursday, March 30 · 7:30 pm
Artist Performance | Autumn Knight
"Here and Now"
(150 minutes)
Drawing on elements of psychology and theatre, this performance is a constructed situation exploring group relations as a means to self-knowledge among participants. Featuring Kelley Hershman and Autumn Knight.
Location: KAM Main Level, Rosann Gelvin Noel Annex and Light Court Gallery | Map



Friday, March 31 · 2 pm
Gallery Conversation | Autumn Knight
"Autumn Knight: In Conversation"

Artist Autumn Knight and curator Amy L. Powell discuss Knight's creative work and the formation of the exhibition In Rehearsal. Gallery visitors are invited to share in the discussion.
Location: KAM Main Level, Rosann Gelvin Noel Annex and Light Court Gallery | Map



Tuesdays, April 5 & 26 · 2pm
Gallery Performances | Music of Lament
(60 minutes)
A cellist joins the exhibition In Rehearsal to perform the music of lament.
Location: KAM Main Level, Rosann Gelvin Noel Annex and Light Court Gallery | Map



Wednesday, April 12 · 2:30 pm
Gallery Conversation | Choreography and Trauma

(60 minutes)
Dancers respond to Knight's invitation to speak on themes related to the artist's work. This conversation will feature Rebecca A. Ferrell, Cynthia Oliver, and Endalyn Taylor from the Department of Dance and featured performer in "Lament" Abijan Johnson.
Location: KAM Main Level, Rosann Gelvin Noel Annex and Light Court Gallery | Map



Thursday, April 13 · 7:30 pm
Artist Performance | Autumn Knight
"Lament"
(30 minutes)
This dance performance proposes specific movements coded with languages of addiction, class, and mental illness while ruminating on various laments in music and popular culture. Featuring Abijan Johnson and in collaboration with choreographer Rebecca A. Ferrell.
Location: U of I Stock Pavilion, 1402 West Pennsylvania Avenue



Wednesday, April 19 · 7:30 pm
Artist Performance | An Experimental Freezing of a Room Through Metaphorical Means

(30 minutes)
Enacting two "scores" of artists' instructions from the longstanding exhibition do it, initiated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, this performance features Autumn Knight as a figure of black motherhood against the courtroom soundtrack of George Zimmerman's acquittal of the murder of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida in 2013.
Location: Activities and Recreation Center (ARC) Pool, 201 East Peabody Drive



Thursdays, May 4 & 11 · 2 pm
In Gallery Performances | In Rehearsal
(60 minutes)
Join the exhibition In Rehearsal as a performer negotiates the installation's physical possibilities and constraints.
Location: KAM Main Level, Rosann Gelvin Noel Annex and Light Court Gallery | Map




April · Date and Time TBD
Artist Performance | Autumn Knight
"An Experimental Freezing of a Room through Metaphorical Means"
(30 minutes)
Enacting two “scores” of artists’ instructions from the longstanding exhibition do it, initiated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, this performance features Knight as a figure of black motherhood against the courtroom soundtrack of George Zimmerman’s acquittal of the murder of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida in 2013
Location: University of Illinois Activities and Recreation Center (ARC), 201 E. Peabody Dr.




Artist Performer Biographies

Autumn Knight is based in New York City where she is currently Artist-in-Residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions at Artpace in San Antonio, Fresh Arts and Project Row Houses in Houston, and the Galveston Artist Residency, as well as group exhibitions at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theatre in Pittsburgh and the Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas. Knight’s work has been recognized with numerous residencies in the United States, England, Panama, and Japan, and with grants from Artadia and The Idea Fund. Knight completed an MA in Drama Therapy from New York University (2010) and a BA in Theatre Arts and Speech Communications at Dillard University in New Orleans (2003).

S. Bianca Bailey, or Amunet the Sage (in gallery performer), is a PhD candidate in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and a Dewson Fellow at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She was awarded the White House “Champion of Change Award for Women & Girls in Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM)” in 2011. When Amunet is not traveling or performing in the laboratory as a researcher, she is on stage as an artist, musician, and model. She does active performances in poetry, instrumentation, and monologues with BLQK (Be Loved Kings & Queens). Amunet has performed locally at the Independent Media Center and the Farmer’s Market at Lincoln Square Mall. She participated in the showcase Black Renaissance where she performed two monologue pieces: Unknown Territory and Consciences of a Black Queen. Amunet is also a musician and has performed internationally on clarinet, trumpet, and saxophone. Amunet the Sage strives to manifest, her higher self, and indeed speak, and perform on behalf of the spirit of her African, Creek and Cherokee Ancestors. Her mission is to transfer a message of truth and meta-physical healing to the people around her.

Rebecca A. Ferrell, a native of Richmond, Virginia, is a dance advocate, educator, choreographer, curator, manager and performer. She holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University as well as an MFA in Dance from Arizona State University. Her teaching appointments have included ASU Dance, VCU Dance, and numerous appearances as a guest artist along the East Coast. As an advocate for the arts, Rebecca has served as Director of the VA Dance Symposium, co-producer of the Richmond Dance Festival, and a dance critic for GayRVA and RVA Magazine. She is currently the Assistant to the Head, Lecturer, and the Director/Curator of the Flatlands Dance Film Festival within the Department of Dance at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In her spare time Ferrell enjoys baking cupcakes, sipping bubbly, and traveling the world with her partner in crime, Charlie Maybee.

Holly Garrett is a graduate college fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, completing a Master of Music in Cello Performance and Literature. She holds Bachelor degrees in Cello Performance and Psychology from Boston University, and was noted a National Achievement Scholar in 2011. She has performed with multiple orchestras including Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonia Da Camera, Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra, Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, Boston Chamber Symphony, and New England Repertory Orchestra. She has also made appearances at various music festivals including Classical Pops/Barbados, Garth Newel Music Center, Texas Music Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Madeline Island Music Camp, and Green Lake Chamber Music Festival. Ms. Garrett made a solo appearance with the New England Repertory Orchestra in 2015, and she has performed in master classes for Alisa Weilerstein, Alan Harris, Norman Fischer, Alison Wells, Richard Markson, Alan Stepansky, the Jupiter String Quartet, and the Daedalus String Quartet. She currently plays on a 1907 Johann Glass cello, made in Leipzig, Germany.

Kelley Hershman is a New York State Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Clinical Supervisor as well as a social science researcher and organizational consultant in New York City. She received her BS in Applied Psychology and her MA in Counseling Psychology from New York University. Hershman has practiced as an individual, couples and group therapist, having worked with families and couples with substance abuse histories at the Ackerman Center for Family Therapy, and she practiced as a home-based, bilingual, family therapist for New York City's Family and Child Preventive Intervention program at the Children’s Aid Society Bronx, New York.

Abijan Johnson is a dance and movement therapist and counselor based in Houston, Texas. She has an MA in Dance and Movement Therapy from Columbia College (Chicago, IL). Johnson received dance training in New York at the Alvin Ailey School and in Houston at Discovery and City Dance.

Chivas Michael is an actor based in New Orleans. He was most recently seen in The Illusion at the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival. Some of his recent works include: Antony and Cleopatra, The Royal Shakespeare Company (London) and at The Public Theater, Off-Broadway (New York); Superfly the Musical (workshops/lab), dir. Bill T Jones, Broadway (New York); Brooklyn Omnibus, Brooklyn Academy of Music; Romeo and Juliet, Classic Stage Co.; The Broadway Problem, Lincoln Center; Sliding into the Beast (adapted from the book Beast of No Nation), New York Theater Workshop Regional; and The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Yale Rep. Michael earned his MFA from The Graduate Acting Program at New York University.

Xavier Roe, from the South Side of Chicago, is pursuing his BFA in Acting at the University of Illinois. He has performed in the Illinois Theatre productions Romeo and Juliet, The Skin of Our Teeth, The Other Shore, John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, as well as multiple Armory Free Theatre productions (including Moonside Manners). He was Mr. Clark in the premiere production of the opera Polly Peachum. Roe has achieved regional, national, and international ranking of the International Thespian Society. He also performs with the University of Illinois Black Chorus, directed by Dr. Ollie Watts Davis.






  Subscribe Calendar Donate Contact






Image:

Autumn Knight
Evilene: Upcycle Queen (detail)
2013
Performance at
STACKS, Houston Art League, Houston, TX
Courtesy of the artist