curated by Jessica Gatlin
October 2, 2015 — Gallery 1010, Knoxville, TN
From far-right, two Ignorant Viewers enter onto a brightly-lit gallery in an eastern Tennessee city. It is early evening, and an exhibition of work by contemporary Black artists is on display.
Ignorant Viewer 1: (picks up sheet of paper from pedestal upstage left) So, this is a show about race?
Ignorant Viewer 2: (softly) No. It says that all the artists are Black.
IV1: Right. So… that’s what the art is about.
IV2: I don’t think it’s that simple — er, that’s not the point. I don’t think.
IV1: But if it’s supposed to be about something other than just race, then why is it only Black artists? Seems to me like that’s the only reason they’re included.
IV2: Maybe it’s because they’re all Black artists who aren’t necessarily talking about race.
IV2: Okay, like this person is clearly not addressing race, see? It’s about pool parties. Or drowning. Or yeah — no. Swimming pools.
IV1: Yeah, but… Couldn’t that also be — you know —a Black issue?
IV2: Ohmygod. You did not just say that.
IV1: What? It could be! You don’t know! And how are you gonna tell me that these collage things aren’t about race? It’s clearly about Michael Brown. Or Trayvon or Eric Gardner or that guy from the movie Fruitvale Station or…whoever. If you had told me we were going to see a show of Black artists I would have said, “Oh, I bet it’s going to be stuff about police violence.”
IV2: Yeah… Because it’s a really big problem. What, are they not supposed to talk about it?
IV1: Well, I dunno! I mean,
I know it’s a huge issue. And —
I think it’s awful! — but, isn’t the point of the show supposed to be Black artists talking about, you know, normal stuff?
IV2: Wait. What do you mean ‘normal’?
IV1: You know what I mean. I mean not just about them.
(Brief pause as Ignorant Viewers wander apart, look intently at different works, and meet again in front of one large piece downstage left.)
IV1: I like this one, with the chairs. It’s about being bored. I totally get that — that’s normal.
IV2: Yeah I love the colors in that one. I could see myself owning that. I need some more art in my apartment. I wanna start collecting, you know? It’s a good thing to do, like, a moral imperative. Maybe I’ll collect only work by black artists.
IV1: I wonder how much they cost.
IV2: Oh, there’s a book up front. Maybe it has prices.
IV1: No, I already looked. It’s just a bunch of, like, essays or something. Hey, it’s been ten minutes, and I’m parked in the handicap spot. You wanna head over to the strip before I get a ticket? I’m ready to go.
IV2: Okay, yeah. This was fun, but I’m starving.
Ignorant Viewers 1 & 2 exit stage right. From stage right, enter Ignorant Viewers 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 & 12.
Considerably More opened on October 2, 2105 at Gallery 1010 in Knoxville. Curated by Jessica Gatlin, the show features work in various media from local and national artists: Nekeya Brown, Zachary Carlisle Davidson, Abigail Lucien, Felix Jackson Jr., Sharla Hammond, Joy Ude, and Nastassja Swift. Jessica Gatlin is a graduate student in printmaking at UTK’s School of Art.
The show’s title is inspired by Carrie Mae Weems who, when discussing her work, has said “My disadvantage is that for the most part when I’m viewed by the world, I am viewed only in relation to my black subject, even though I am a very complex woman working on many, many, many different levels. It’s partly about race, but it’s considerably more.”