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June 10–August 14, 2022
Guest curated by jaamil olawale kosoko.
With its summer exhibition, the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University ushers in a new era of access and collaboration.
Portal For(e) the Ephemeral Passage, on view June 10–August 14, is the first exhibition guest curated by a Wexner Center Artist Residency Award recipient, jaamil olawale kosoko. The culmination of three years of collaboration between kosoko and all the center’s curatorial areas—a relationship that has already yielded a performance, educational programming, and an award-winning short film—the exhibition not only reflects a stronger focus on interdisciplinarity at the Wex, it comes with an open invitation to return often through a new institutional initiative offering free gallery admission.
Portal For(e) the Ephemeral Passage welcomes audiences to imagine new worlds through a summer of installations and interconnected events building on Black feminist knowledge, queer theory, and sacred rituals of intimacy and wellness. The interdisciplinary exhibition presents new projects by kosoko, nora chipaumire, Jennifer Harge (a Wex Artist Residency Award recipient) and Devin Drake, Dana Michel, Jasmine Murrell, and Keioui Keijaun Thomas. Portal For(e) also consists of community events, a film series, performances, and an Instagram Live series. A preview party and dub night take place at the Wex on Thursday, June 9, kicking off a week of opening programs.
Centering collectivity and embodied practice, Portal For(e) draws influence from Black poets and theorists who have rendered it vital to “confront lovelessness” (bell hooks), understand the “uses of the erotic” (Audre Lorde), and survive the intersection of a body made of “starshine and clay” (Lucille Clifton), all the while being marked by the “hieroglyphics of the flesh” (Hortense Spillers). The myriad personal histories inspired by these thinkers serve to amplify the imaginative storytelling present within the Black visual performance artists featured in Portal For(e).
In kosoko’s own words, “the chameleonic nature of this collective research has always been about exploring various worldings of freedom through performance and social practice. I have been drawn closer to artists who have inspired my thinking and exploration into the shapeshifting principles that Black queer people employ to survive and heal. If fugitivity can be defined as escape without exit, then Portal For(e) is Black admission with or without entrance.”
The platform will present the premiere of kosoko’s first multichannel installation, Syllabus for Black Love, featuring kosoko and Jennifer Kidwell, which was created with support from the Wex’s Film/Video Studio and editor Alexis McCrimmon. kosoko and McCrimmon previously collaborated on the Wex-supported film Chameleon: A Visual Album, which won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Experimental Short at the 2022 Slamdance Film Festival; it will be presented in The Box, the Wex’s dedicated video space, June through August.
A robust calendar of related events offers new experiences not just for opening week, but through the run of the exhibition. Online, the center will host two digital engagements on Instagram Live in a program entitled Valences of the Algorithm, featuring a conversation between Imma Asher and Jian Chen and a separate event with Mimi Ọnụọha.
A June film series, Say Gay: LGBTQ+ Pride on Film, celebrates LGBTQ+ pioneers and artists who have directly influenced kosoko, such as Maya Deren and Shirley Clarke. And the Columbus arts community will participate through the return of All Day Blackness, a program spotlighting diverse Black creators curated by Reg Zehner, co-founder of verge.fm and the inaugural Wex Learning & Public Practice Path Fellow.
The Wex extends its sincere thanks to funders for supporting Portal For(e).
Preview Party: June 9, 4–7pm
Open galleries and nora chipaumire’s WiFM ZiFM dub night
Say Gay: LGBTQ+ Pride on Film: June 11–30
Monthlong film series includes “Queer Genius” with visiting filmmaker Chet Pancake June 30
Come Hell or High Femmes: June 11, 8–9pm
Solo performance by Keioui Keijaun Thomas within the context of her gallery installation
the hold: June 17, 6–7pm
Livestreamed gallery performance by kosoko, Nile Harris, and Everett-Asis Saunders, viewable at wexarts.org
All Day Blackness: June 18, 11am–5pm
Reg Zehner curates a community-centered program celebrating joy, pleasure, and Black people and culture
Wexner Center for the Arts
1871 N. High Street
The Ohio State University
Columbus, Ohio 43210
T +1 614 292 3535