Art Practical | New Takes: Interview with Richard-Jonathan Nelson by Maddie Klett

Friends and fellow California College of the Arts alums artist Richard-Jonathan Nelson and curator Maddie Klett discuss Richard’s current practice + work in Art Practical’s New Takes.


New Takes is a column written by emerging writers on emerging artists as part of the Art Practical Residency. One resident is nominated from a pool of recent graduates from California College of the Arts, who holds the position for one year. Our current New Takes contributor and Art Practical resident is Maddie Klett.


Oakland-based artist Richard-Jonathan Nelson makes digital and fabric works that visualize speculative futures and his presence within them. Collaging images of plants from the herbal, hoodoo traditions of the Deep South set against noxious, neon colors, Nelson creates visions of the future that toe-the-line between emancipating and dire. This conversation took place before the COVID-19 pandemic, and has been edited and shortened for clarity. Still, viewed now through the lens of a crisis that seems to color everything, Nelson’s thoughts on survival in today’s world and in the alternate worlds he creates reveal how survival and crises are not, for many, born out of this pandemic.

Read the full inteview

Notes from MoAD: Episode 10 feat. Vincent Miranda in convo w/ PJ Gubatina Policarpio

We recently finished up a 3-month residency (January-March) at The Growlery in San Francisco. As part of our time, we invited two visual artists to join us. Vincent Miranda was our February artist. Check him out in this Art Practical episode where he talks with curator/organizer PJ Gubatina Policarpio about the ideas and influences behind his upcoming exhibition at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD).

Read full transcript at:

reading through the water + virtual caminos

thinking on somatic memory & pleasure, intimacy with self & other, and the difference between safety & discomfort (in the body) on my morning walk unfolded into a day of looking at many brilliant artists. these 2 really stuck out.

Catherine Feliz is a contemporary interdisciplinary artist, full spectrum doula, and community medicine-maker born and raised in NYC (occupied Lenape territory). Her multimedia projects are personal reflections on the social-political constructions of power and knowledge. Through applying the languages of visual desire and the practices of care, they’re interested in imagining new narratives of place that center the experiences of politicized bodies.

(text taken from their website)
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You ​See ​the ​Costume ​Not ​the ​Spirit
xerox ​paper ​and ​ink, ​inkjet ​photo ​prints, ​5 ​in ​x ​7 ​in


Virtual Caminos from Catherine Feliz on Vimeo.


the work of J.B. Murray.


sigh. his work is like love letters to and from a place that cannot be perceived with human eyes.

hear his sweet song & prayer in this short film by Judith McWillie. i love life lol.

“Water Saves. You can’t hinder water…

Water obey God better than anything in the world.”

John Bunion (J. B.) Murray (1908-1988) was a farmer who lived in rural Glascock County, Georgia, near the community of Mitchel. When he was approximately seventy years of age, believing he had experienced a vision from God, he began writing a non discursive script on adding machine tape, wall board, and stationery. He described it as “the language of the Holy Spirit, direct from God” and interpreted it using a bottle of water as a focusing device. In the last ten years of his life he made over a thousand paintings, introducing the script into fields of color and adding figures that represent “the evil people; the ones that are dry tongued, the one’s that don’t know God”.

Images and text from Calvin-Morris Gallery and Folkstreams Film.

What Is Curatorial Activism? by Maura Riley

Oooooooooooo Maura Riley!! this posted a year ago, but it’s so good and deserves attention.

adapted from Curatorial Activism: Towards an Ethics of Curating, by Maura Reilly (to be published April 2018 by Thames & Hudson). ©2018 Maura Reilly. 

“These curators have committed themselves to insurrectionist initiatives that are leveling hierarchies, challenging assumptions, countering erasure, promoting the margins over the center, the minority over the majority, as well as positing curatorial “strategies of resistance,” provoking intelligent debate, disseminating new knowledge, which, in the end, offers up signs of hope and affirmation.”
and this:
“Theirs is not Affirmative Action curating, it’s intelligent curating.”
and THIS:
“If you don’t believe that the art world is sexist and racist, it’s time for you to come out from under your rock….These are not issues from the past, folks. This is now. We are living and working in an art world that cares little about racism and sexism, a world that appears to pre-date the women’s/civil and LGBTQ rights movements.”
Read in full here.
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Sculptures by Huma Bhabha, paintings by Ellen Gallagher to the sides, Emily Kame Kngwarreye in back, in the 56th Venice Biennale’s central exhibition, “All the World’s Futures,” 2015, curated by Okwui Enwezor.


Yooooooooooo… Why am I just now learning bout this!!! — Animism

Animism (from Latin anima “soul, life”) refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle.

Animism encompasses the beliefs that there is no separation between the spiritual and physical (or material) worlds, and souls or spirits exist, not only in humans, but also in all other animals, plants, rocks, natural phenomena such as thunder, geographic features such as mountains or rivers, or other entities of the natural environment. Animism may further attribute souls to abstract concepts such as words, true names, or metaphors in mythology. Animism is particularly widely found in the religions of indigenous peoples, including Shinto, and some forms of Hinduism, Buddhism, Pantheism,Paganism, and Neopaganism.

Throughout European history, philosophers such as Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, among others, contemplated the possibility that souls exist in animals, plants, and people; however, the currently accepted definition of animism was only developed in the 19th century by Sir Edward Tylor, who created it as “one of anthropology’s earliest concepts, if not the first”.

According to the anthropologist Tim Ingold, animism shares similarities to totemism but differs in its focus on individual spirit beings which help to perpetuate life, whereas totemism more typically holds that there is a primary source, such as the land itself or the ancestors, who provide the basis to life. Certain indigenous religious groups such as the Australian Aborigines are more typically totemic, whereas others like the Inuit are more typically animistic in their worldview.

Read more:

Okwui Okpokwasili

Been meaning to share this for awhile. this is a beautiful excerpt from her brilliant performance.

Okwui Okpokwasili’s  Poor People’s TV Room integrates movement, song, text, and visual imagery, giving voice to the oppressed while shedding light on women’s enduring power. Inspired by Nigerian political history, the performance integrates the buried narratives of women in the country and resonates with present actions and political resistance throughout the world. The work was inspired by two historic incidents in Nigeria: the Women’s War of 1929, a resistance movement against British colonial powers; and the Boko Haram kidnappings of more than three hundred girls, which launched the Bring Back Our Girls movement. Women were central to these campaigns, and have played essential and powerful roles in Nigeria’s independence. *(Words taken from YBCA website where the artist held a performance in early May)*

Okwui Okpokwasili “Poor People’s TV Room” 5 Minute Excerpt from Peter Born on Vimeo.


5/5 in residence at CTRL+SHFT Collective: anybody home?


anybody home?
Trudy Bailey Huston 2018 Artists-in-Residence
Exhibition: June 16–June 24, 2018 at CTRL+SHFT Collective
Opening reception: Saturday, June 16 | 5 – 8pm
Gallery hours: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, noon–5 pm, or by appointment
lamps and baow baow, a love letter to the (un)dead, born.
a trip to the beauty supply store.  straightening up and straightening out
death. finger waves, in her presence, in his absence

‘Fly Paper’ Kahlil Joseph – Soundscape Score

i’m in New York for the holidays. seeing family, friends, and art. i caught another excerpt from Kahlil Joseph’s Shadow Play at the New Museum. per usual, i was blown away.

having watched Black Mary throughout last month, i am so full off this iteration. i can honestly admit that I have a reverence that borders on jealousy for film artists/makers. where and when the visual and the sonic meet is everything. Kahlil has certainly mastered that space while leaving room for the viewer to float, bounce, rock, melt, soak…to BE in that in between.

i could’ve watched this short film all day. i might go back, before i leave for cali, and take it all in again.

here are the sounds for Fly Paper, currently on view at the New Museum.  read up on the exhibition and more here.