“A Job Ain’t Nothin’ But Work” Everson & Thompson at Villa Romana: April 5, 2014

Villa Romana

A Job Ain’t Nothin’ But Work

Curated by Andrew Smaldone

April 5 – May 10, 2014
Opening: April 5 at 7pm

The gesture of labor as performative act has long been at the heart of Kevin Jerome Everson and Justin Randolph Thompson’s work alike. The shattering of hierarchical expectations and associations that create high low divisions is carried through the elevation of manual tasks to the elitist sector of individual artistic productivity. Through a combination of sculptural props, film, sound and performance, gestures of work will be shown in the exhibition at Villa Romana with laboring ‘stage setters’ of spiritual and political ascension and the use of real time as a formal device.

In Everson’s two short films titled Fe26 and Sound That (2014), we see varying interpretations of what the idea of work constitutes in Cleveland, Ohio. In the former film, two men make their living hustling metal, while in the later, we see workers listening for underground water leaks. In each film one sees cultural fragments of working class African Americans making a living. Thompson’s installation Labor Vincit Omnia, on the other hand, examines gestures of work that are more often associated with upper class entertainment and decor: performances involving classical music and elaborate floral arrangements with actual musicians and florists. While In his flagship piece in the center of the room, he erects a skeletal-looking triumphal arch with scaffolding, sculptural props and various sound instruments as a means to confound the idea that work is a smoothly operating social construct involving all on equal terms.

Kevin Jerome Everson (1965, USA) has made numerous short films and features about the working class culture of black Americans and other people of African descent. His artworks and films have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Armand Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Whitechapel Gallery in London and the American Academy of Rome in Italy. His films have been shown at the Sundance Film Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival and many other film festivals nationally and internationally.

Justin Randolph Thompson, a Florence based sculptor and new media artist born in Peekskill, NY in 1979, has lived in Italy since 2001. Thompson has exhibited internationally and participated in numerous residencies in the United States and in Europe. He is Professor of Fine Art in Florence and has written several articles about African American artists in Europe. He has also exhibited his sculpture work in the SACI Gallery in a collaborative installation with Bradly Dever Treadaway.

Villa Romana, Firenze

Villa Romana – Via Senese 68 – Florence, ITALY

T +39  055  22 16 54
office@villaromana.org

Hours: Tuesday – Friday 2-6pm and by appointment.

About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Late Spring & Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, Post-Bac in Studio Art; MFA in Studio Art, MFA in Photography, MFA in Communication Design, Low-Residency MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: