Book illustration by Bill Holm

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adrienne maree brown + Prem Krishnamurthy

Submitted on April 12, 2021 - 12:18pm


Friday, April 23, 2021 @ 10am PT / 12pm CT

Online via Zoom; register now

Multidisciplinary creators and community builders adrienne maree brown (Emergent Strategy, Pleasure Activism) and Prem Krishnamurthy (Wkshps, FRONT International 2022) come together for an online conversation exploring ways artists contribute to community and propel structural change. Presented in partnership by Cranbrook Art Museum, Jacob Lawrence Gallery, and The Black Embodiments Studio, the conversation is free and open to the public.

Amidst this time of great loss, yet also change and possibility, what are emerging roles for artists and designers? How does an individual’s creative practice relate to collectivity, collaboration, and interdependency? How can design processes and organizing learn from each other? Krishnamurthy poses these questions and more, as he and brown discuss potential futures for art, community building, and mutual care, as well as essential tools for today’s artists and organizers. An audience Q&A follows their dialogue.

About the Participants

adrienne maree brown

adrienne maree brown is the writer-in-residence at the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute and author of We Will Not Cancel Us and Other Dreams of Transformative Justice, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, and the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements and How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office. She is the cohost of the How to Survive the End of the World and Octavia’s Parables podcasts. adrienne is rooted in Detroit.

Prem Krishnamurthy

Prem Krishnamurthy’s work across media explores the transformative potential of art and design by experimenting with presentational strategies, performative modes, and ways of communing. He currently directs Wkshps, a multidisciplinary design consultancy; is artistic director of FRONT International 2022, the Cleveland triennial of contemporary art; and organizes Commune, an emergent workshop that practices artistic tools for social transformation. Previously, Prem founded the exhibition space P! and the design studio Project Projects in New York. He received the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Communications Design in 2015 and KW Institute for Contemporary Art’s “A Year With…” residency fellowship in 2018. In March 2021, Pompeii Commitment released his new digital artwork, Pompeii!, which reflects upon rituals, destruction, memory, and letting go.

About the Partners

Cranbrook Art Museum

Cranbrook Art Museum invites viewers to discover relevant and transformative moments in modern and contemporary art, architecture, and design. Through our exhibitions, collections, programming, and publications, we bring together people from our region and around the world to provoke new ideas about art, creativity, and the built environment. We achieve this at Cranbrook Educational Community, a National Historic Landmark campus, where the pursuit of knowledge and innovation is paramount.

Jacob Lawrence Gallery

Situated in the University of Washington’s Art Building, the Jacob Lawrence Gallery is a vital center for social engagement and critical dialogue about the roles of art, art history, and design within the broader context of intellectual life on campus. Through an ambitious and compelling program of contemporary exhibitions, lectures, performances, screenings, and discussions, the gallery is a site of knowledge production and advancing discourses that serves over 8,000 visitors each year. In 1994, the gallery was dedicated to Jacob Lawrence, who taught at the University of Washington from 1970–1985 and served as Professor Emeritus until the end of his life in 2000. The gallery is a tangible, living legacy of Lawrence’s exemplary life and practice.

The initial seeds for this conversation were planted with Prem Krishnamurthy’s guest lecture, Commune, v.1.0.0, to the summer Curating Contemporary Art class at the University of Washington in August 2020, in which he addressed related topics with inspiration from brown’s book Emergent Strategy.

The Black Embodiments Studio

The Black Embodiments Studio (BES) is an arts writing incubator and public lecture series that is dedicated to cultivating rich, complex discourse around contemporary Black art and artists. Throughout the year, BES trains people to develop their own arts writing, which they publish in local, regional, and national outlets, and in the annual BES journal, A Year in Black Art. BES also hosts artists, writers, and curators to give public talks about their practice, and to interface with incubator participants.