Quotidian Pasts, the second chapter in the three-part exhibition series Colored People Time, reconsiders the trafficking of blackness through the colonial practices of collecting, commodifying, and exhibiting people and objects from the African continent. This exhibition, produced in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, turns its lens toward early-20th-century anthropological displays. The long history of the exploitation of both African people and their cultures is told through the configuration of a few small objects—a photograph, a journal entry, a letter. Featuring a newly commissioned work by the artist Matthew Angelo Harrison, Quotidian Pasts questions: What confers authenticity? How does an object change when dislocated from its time and place within the context of the museum?
The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of dialogues with scholars, critics, and artists, on colonialism, restitution and repatriation, and the role of the contemporary art museum in addressing these issues.
Colored People Time: Quotidian Pasts is organized by Meg Onli, ICA Assistant Curator, and Monique Scott, who said the exhibit reflects much of the Penn Museum archival research she conducted with Bryn Mawr students over the summers of 2017 and 2018.
The exhibit runs from April 26 to Aug. 11.
The Spring 2019 Opening Celebration is free for all to attend, and includes complimentary snacks and a cash bar.
The Institute for Contemporary Art is located at 118 S. 36th St. in Philadelphia.