Meat Mountain
India Ink Drawing and 7 Unique Screen Prints Coated with Scratch Off Ink,
180" x 96" (overall), 16" x 24" (each print)




Meat Mountain pairs a large wall drawing of an abstracted mountain with 7 prints hung evenly spaced across it. The works initially present themselves in the language of minimalism, as silver monochromes paintings. While one might appreciate them on that level, one may also accept the invitation to engage the piece by scratching the silver ink away, revealing parts of the image below.

The use of lotto-style scratch-off ink on my prints opens up new possibilities for audience interaction and artistic meaning. The imagery begins totally obscured, and only through the actions of the audience can it be recognized. But simultaneous with the emergence of the imagery is a record of the audience's mark making and handiwork. So the pieces ultimately represent their own ontological becoming, being all at once minimalist painting, graffiti scratches, and destructed imagery.


















Elsewhere Quilt
Unique Cyanotypes on Found Fabric, Sewn Together, 72" x 74"




Airing Out the Ghosts
Unique Cyanotype Prints on Clothesline, 6' x 9' x 38' (overall), 29" x 43" (each print)











Days After
Unique Cyanotype Prints and Custom Vinyl Banners, 100" x 63" (overall)




Morning Afters (Gucci)
Custom Vinyl Banner, 30" x 42"



Morning Afters (Black Wednesday)
Custom Vinyl Banner, 28" x 50"



Morning Afters (College Edition)
Custom Vinyl Banner, 24" x 36"



Morning Afters (The Invitation)
Custom Vinyl Banner, 36" x 51"




Marcus Greer
Unique Inkjet Print on Custom Vinyl Banner, 44" x 72"




Now More Than Ever
Inkjet Print on Custom Poster, Diptych, 27" x 40" each




The Child Twins of Stock Photography 2011 Calendar
13 Unique Inkjet Prints on Blueprints for My Grandfather's House, 120" x 168" (overall), 24" x 36" (each)




Beach Bond Baby and the Celestial Sandbaggers
Unique Inkjet Prints on Found Posters, 72" x 144" (overall), 24" x 36" (each)










Godiva's Ghost and the Future of Baffin Bay
Unique Inkjet Print on Poster Collage, 44" x 100"







Alligator Bait and the Birth of Hottentot
Unique Inkjet Print on Poster Collage, 44" x 100"




Ambra the Chairman
Unique Inkjet Print on Found Poster, 35" x 53"




2 Live Booteh
Unique Inkjet Print on Found Poster, 24" x 36"

Occupations
Charcoal on Found Utility Table and Constructed Placards of Drywall and Cedar Slats, Dimensions Variable




Mantles
Found Photographs on My Grandmother's Needlepoint, 42" x 32"





Badges



Badges
ID Badges Collected By My Grandfather During the Course of His Career, Dimensions Variable








Contact List
Found Handwritten Address Cards with Notes, 45" x 60"








Swimming Upstream and Molding Modern Men
Found Baby Carriage, Rotting Potatoes, Paint, and Cans of Pink Salmon, Wrapped in Rubber "Hope" Bracelets, and Stacked in the Form of Famous Architectural Structures, 48" x 76" x 72"




Dino-topia
All of the dinosaur-related objects at Elsewhere Collaborative Museum, National Geographic magazines organized chronologically (1920s to 1990s), and Custom Concrete Shelving Units, Room-size Installation








Floored
Stickers on Chair, Found Photograph, Artist Monographs, and Spongebob Paraphenalia, 36" x 34" x 48"








Bigger, Better Educational Systems
Cork Board Collage of Drawings, Prints, Poetry, and Photography, With Area Rug Supporting an Ontological Progression of Development Represented Through Stuffed Animals, 90" x 77" x 88"




Constant Calling and the Calcification of the Panthera
Fiberglass Sculpture, Plaster, Found Washtub and Detergent Buckets, Peace Lily Plants, Candles, Framed Document, and Television, Dimensions Variable




Body Languages
Collected Posters with Folded Arms, Dimensions Variable




Morning Afters
Collected Club Flyers, Dimensions Variable








King Rack
Magazine Rack and Collected Periodicals, 30" x 44" x 18"




A Monkey Who Grasps
Industrial Shelving, Vinyl Letters, and Assorted Products




Excavations
Plaster Bone Sculpture, Spray Paint, Found Objects, and Selected Books, Dimensions Variable




Hung and Hanged
Air Jordans & Gallery Light Fixture, 14" x 18" x 14"




Party Popper
Popped Balloons and Dog Crate, 30" x 40" x 56"



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Kindling the Flames of Knowledge
Video, TRT 2:15:04

Created for the Institute for Encyclopedic Amalgamation's solo show at Northwestern University (Fall 2013), this video pairs video documentation of the 1954 Illustrated Encyclopedia (Bobley Publishing) being burned to ashes with an audio track of hypnotherapist Larry Garrett pushing the virtues of letting go and not feeling obligated to always have all of the answers.




Only Cubans Have Touched The Moon / Solo Cubanos Han Tocada a la Luna
Video & Sound Piece, TRT 9:16


Created in collaboration with Ana Olema Hernandez on the occasion of the Arte No Es Facil presentation at Links Hall, Chicago. Paired together by the curators because of our shared interest in education, politics, and identity, Ana and I embarked on a months-long conversation where we attempted to figure out what a Cuban and an American artist could do together.

Over the course of our conversations about education, Ana casually mentioned that the US faked the moon missions. This statement immediately struck me with investigative potential, since we are obviously taught the exact opposite in American classrooms. So we conducted research and concocted a story wherein Cuban authorities can say for certain that the American moon landings were a hoax....because the Cubans secretly had a moon base in operation for years prior to the Kennedy administration.

For the presentation, I created the above video and it is followed immediately by a sound piece created by Ana. The video lays out in clear terms the conspiracy arguments for a faked moon mission in the style of a Cuban educational video. The sound piece alters a popular Cuban song by distorting it at the decibel rate one would experience next to a shuttle liftoff.

Additionally, I produced a booklet and copies of Ana's CD that we distributed to the audience. The larger project continues to develop and unfurl, and we look forward to presenting our continued conversations in Havana in Fall 2013.

You can download the booklet here:
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/64503455/Pallas%20-%20Cuba%20Moon%20Booklet.pdf

ARTE NO ES FÁCIL is a project based in creating relationships beyond pictures between Cuba and the US through the manifestation of art. The project seeks to create a two-way passage for dialogue, collaboration, and information between our two countries by establishing connections between artists separated by location and context, yet sharing an interest in form, content or strategy.





Kumbayah
Video, TRT 2:42


I worked with the administration and students at Burnside Elementary on Chicago's South Side, ostensibly to use my videography skills to help produce documentation of their school programs. While I successfully fulfilled that mission and helped them with their publicity, I was also able to develop projects with the students and spend a great deal of time as a fly-on-the-wall observer.

One of the observation that struck me as poignant was the use of the song "Kumbaya" in their musical education. It was curious to note the dispassionate way that these otherwise engaged, vibrant students reacted to the song. I was able to pull together scenes from their choir practice to make this video that reflects upon the situation.

As you may know, Kumbaya was originally recorded on the South Carolina coast, where it had originated as a Negro Spiritual. It was co-opted by the American Folk Revival in the 1950s and became a campside classic for scouting organizations. It then subsequently became re-appropriated as a standard of the Civil Rights Movement.

The long strange history of the song, and the way it became identified with several different racial and political groups, was not related to the students. Rather, they were meant to merely parrot the musical inflections of their white teacher. For me, the entire scene becomes indicative of larger problems in a public education system that does not recognize and value the circumstances of students' lives. In the video, this plays itself out in the yawns, stretches, and distorted voices of the children. In life, it plays itself out as students too tired to learn and educators too focused on resultant products (whether it be test scores or choreographed songs) that they overlook the process of learning.






Lift Every Voice and Sing
Video, TRT 1:25


I have been collaborating with Chicago-artist Joe Miller on a long-term project with the students of Unity Elementary in East St. Louis. You can see more of the overall project on the "Unity" page.

For this video, we wanted to make a portrait of Unity's Founding Principal, Paul Miller. He established the school 10 years ago as a small kindergarten program in a church basement and has overseen its growth into a new building as it has added a grade level every year. Unity graduated its first 8th grade class in June 2012.

Mr. Miller takes a very active, hands on role in the lives and development of his students...and he famously rides his bike through the school's hallways to interact with teachers and students. We paired images of this journey with the sounds of his students singing, "Lift Every Voice and Sing", also known as the Black National Anthem.

Amplifications
Two Types of Chalkboard Paint on Wall and an Invitation, 240" x 94"


I continue to consider modes and methods by which the art audience can be brought into the creation of a piece. I think of a lot of my work as setting up the situation or platform and then ceding control by giving space for others to add their mark. Specifically for this piece, I was interested in breaking down the passive, academic paradigm by which students view artworks in their college/university art galleries. So I painted a long wall in chalkboard paint and invited the students to interact with the piece in whatever way they chose. Ultimately, we collectively created a complex, complicated image that was much more interesting than any of us could have created on our own. And then we destroyed it together in a performative piece where students drenched themselves in water and dragged each other's bodies across the piece.
















Rhythm, Bass, Treble (Nod to Nate Dogg)
Charcoal on Wall, Variable




Digging Thru The Promises
Paint on Wall and Custom Vinyl Banners, 216" x 152"




Arm'd & Hammer'd
Chalkboard House Paint and Colored Chalk, 180" x 108"




Dino-topia Door
Colored Pencil on Wood, 26" x 30"




Stego Camouflage
Acrylic on Found Photograph, 30" x 46"




Stego Landscape
Colored Pencil, Ink, and Collage on Paper, 12" x 18"




Gustavus Franklin Swift (Black Version)
Colored Pencil and Collage on Paper, 12" x 18"




Confidence Man (Young Scott Walker)
Colored Pencil and Pen on Paper, 12" x 18"




Banana (Young Kennedys)
Colored Pencil and Pen on Paper, 12" x 18"




A Humbug Affair for E(i)ther
Pen on Paper, 12" x 18"




Rainbow Doo
Marker and Pen on Paper, 12" x 18"




Olympia (Pendergrass/Rickman Version)
Pen and Marker on Paper, 12" x 18" (each)




Zodiac Plant and Computer Cat
Mixed Media on Paper, 12" x 18" (each)




Scalped and Mascot Friends
Mixed Media on Paper, 12" x 18" (each)




Boys, Boys, Boys
Pen on Paper, 8" x 10" (each)




Placards and Protests
Colored Pencil and Pen on Paper, 12" x 18"




Dear Mother
Pen on Paper, 8" x 10"




Robe Spokesman
Pen on Paper, 12" x 18"




Too Big To Fail
Marker and Pen on Paper, 12" x 18"




Grateful
Colored Pencil and Ink on Paper, 12" x 18"




The Bear
Water Color and Ink on Paper, 12" x 18"




Uncle Sam Laxative Cereal
Marker and Pen on Paper, 12" x 18"




"Ambra"
Mixed Media on Paper, 12" x 16"

EXCAVATIONS












CLASSROOM CONSTRUCTS


















MYSTERIES














COMB OVERS





































FOUNDATIONS











SKETCHES
































Madam CJ Walker
Custom "Johnny Walker" Ink Stamp Hand Applied on Drywall, 174" x 192"




Barbara Jordan
Custom "Jordan Jumpman" Ink Stamp Hand Applied on Drywall, 108" x 132"






This series of portraits commemorates politically pertinent persons who have been over-looked/under-appreciated. They are larger-than-life, wall-sized images that literally engulf the viewer, instilling awe and requiring distance to properly venerate them. However, they are composed of tens of thousands of ink impressions, laboriously applied by hand directly on the wall, beckoning the viewer forward.




James Weldon Johnson & John Rosamond Johnson
Custom "Johnson & Johnson" Ink Stamp Hand Applied on Drywall, 216" x 132"







The stamps themselves are custom-made, depicting commercial logos that humorously and linguistically relate to the subject (i.e. Barbara Jordan made from the Michael Jordan “Jumpman” logo, or Stevie Wonder made of the Wonder bread logo).




Stevie Wonder
Custom Multi-Color "Wonder Bread" Ink Stamp Hand Applied on Drywall, 140" x 164"








So the works operate on both an aesthetic and conceptual level. On an aesthetic level, the prints produce a visually vibratory look, a semi-psychedelic sizzle that proceeds toward the viewer. And audiences always respond to monument-sized heads and micro/macro works.




Gwendolyn Brooks
Custom "Brooks Brothers" Ink Stamp Hand Applied on Drywall, 156" x 192"







On a conceptual level, I'm interested in complicity in the face of commercial, capitalist hegemony. By this I mean that we have limited daily options to combat the dominance of the Apple Corporation, or Nike, or McDonald's. But by minimizing the actual logo and using it as a mark that can be built up thousands of times to create the new portrait, I hope to imply that these heroes have the potential to overcome those hierarchies and lead us into greener pastures. So it's interesting to turn the power around and use the corporate logo as a mere mark-making tool.




Fred Hampton and Mark Clark
Custom "Hampton Inns" & "Clark Oil" Ink Stamps Hand Applied on Drywall, 216" x 120"







Barbara Jordan
Custom "Jordan Jumpman" Ink Stamp Hand Applied on Drywall, 120" x 144"

















Interview created for the exhibition "Art from the Heartland" at the Indianapolis Art Center





Interview created for the exhibition "Wet Paint" at the Zhou B Art Center, Chicago


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In the course of working with the directors of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, I became especially interested in trying to understand how and why they've made certain choices with regards to the history of the Civil Rights movement. In particular, my big concerns are the presentation of linear history and the exclusion of certain individuals from that history. We had several meetings to discuss these issues, and I also interviewed many other members of the Greensboro community with personal interest in the subject.

As a result of the various discussions, it became apparent that the history on view at the museum does not serve or educate the public audiences that they intend to engage. For example, key figures in the Civil Rights Movement (Malcolm X, Black Panthers, etc...) are purposely excluded from the history. Likewise, monumental events in the regional movement are also excluded, specifically the 1979 Greensboro Massacre. Moreover, the notion of "civil rights" is intentionally limited to Black rights in the US South; broader civil rights initiatives such as the women's suffrage movement, the gay rights movement, the immigrant rights movement, and others are notably absent.









Even as someone working with the museum, I found the directors to be implacably resistant to the concerns of community members. So I decided to start a grassroots, guerilla campaign to spur dialogue and activity around the institution. I began by making a shortlist of people who immediately popped into mind when thinking about notable civil rights leaders who were not represented as part of the museum’s history. I eventually decided to limit the posters to nine individuals: Angela Davis, Daisy Bates, Harvey Milk, Malcolm X, Homer Plessy, Cesar Chavez, Huey P. Newton, Shirley Chisholm, and Susan B. Anthony.











I created a series of posters, flyers, and internet postings in the guise of an actual museum initiative. Importantly, I appropriated both the museum logo and the institutional design aesthetic for the campaign. The posters offer the following message: “What Civil Rights Hero Do You Think Should Be In The Museum?
In 2011 the Museum will be offering a more complicated, comprehensive history of the Civil Rights Movement – and we want to know who YOU want to see reflected as part of your history.”

With the help of Elsewhere residents and members of other community organizations, I distributed the campaign widely throughout the Greensboro area. Large posters were put up on college campuses, in government buildings, and in coffee shops. Smaller flyers were given out directly at a variety of locations and left for others to take at will. Others were included as an insert in local newspapers. A marketing blitz took place online in various social forums. And I personally gave several official talks promoting the project.









By masquerading as the products of community engagement on the part of the museum, the posters highlight the actual absence of community involvement in the institution. The posters encourage people to email or call the museum’s director directly with their suggestion. People are meant to suggest historical figures that they feel merit inclusion in the museum. The project asks people to take an active engagement both with the institution and with the representations of our history. Thus, the project urges critical inquiry of authority structures and reveals history as a contested site.

Fortunately, the call for action continued beyond my short-lived tenure in Greensboro. The members of Elsewhere and other organizations continued to pepper the area with advertising materials. The project became a curriculum component at several area high schools and colleges. And the museum even responded by granting individual meetings and organizing a community forum. The project engages in standard institutional critique with the most optimistic mindset possible – that with collective action, we can pressure the museum to live up to its name, truly becoming a site to commemorate civil rights struggles, past and present.






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I collaborated with internationally renowned journalist and activist Beauty Turner for a special series of Ms. Turner’s Ghetto Bus Tours. A sixteen-year resident of the Robert Taylor homes, Ms. Turner regularly led busloads of people on a tour of the current and former Chicago Housing Authority “projects.” Together we focused on the interactions and conversations between tour participants and project residents that could be mutually enlightening. Tour participants rode a yellow school bus to the various sites where public housing had been or currently was for a historical survey and individual conversations. Among other highlights in the city's South Side, we visited the sites of the Robert Taylor Homes, Ida B. Wells Homes, Harold Ickes Homes, Cabrini-Green Homes, Dearborn Homes, Altgeld Gardens, and Henry Horner Homes (though not in that order).













As the residents of public housing are often spoken of and for in the abstract by sociologists, politicians, academics, and filmmakers, the Ghetto Bus Tours gave a voice to the voiceless by going straight to the source and allowing the residents to speak of their experience directly. Many tour participants had received the majority of their impressions of public housing from the nightly news, films, tv shows, and ideological politicians. So by giving people an opportunity to see and hear with their own sense faculties, we hoped to combat the prevalence of negative stereotypes in the cultural mainstream. We visited residents in their homes and heard their stories. They related the good, the bad, and the changes occurring around them.

Likewise, the residents oftentimes had equally skewed perceptions of the tour participants. By default, the tour participants usually had not ever lived in public housing, so their lived experience bore examination as well. As was oftentimes stated, the residents felt as uncomfortable in those neighborhoods as the tour participants felt in the projects. So these conversations provided an opportunity for both groups to be in close proximity to one another and tear down some of their preconceived notions.














Tour participants came from a wide array of backgrounds, though many groups came to the experience through their work as sociologists, journalists, artists, and engineers. We worked hard to make sure the experience remained as authentic as possible, making sure that we provided actual interactive experiences. We were ever cautious of setting up a voyeuristic, exploitative situation - despite the provocative name ("Ghetto Bus Tours"), we were clear this was not a touristic endeavor where one glimpses a foreign reality through the panes of bus windows.

To avoid setting up a trip-to-the-zoo type experience where viewers look upon a scene without context or collaboration, we not only fostered direct interaction but we also provided a historical and political framework. By engaging the larger histories of public housing, the particular history of Chicago's housing initiatives, and the current disruptive changes to those models, all participants (tour and resident) were able to identify concrete policy decisions that affect the lives of all involved.














Moreover, all project participants were encouraged to find ways to extend their experiences beyond a one-day engagement. We acknowledge the wide range of ways that people have added their voices and skills to the fight for justice. Though some have gone on to write journal articles and produce academic work on the topic, others have carried on by relating their experience in more informal ways. While a written or recorded piece is certainly a worthwhile way to disseminate one's experience, we were particularly interested in the personal ways people would continue to educate others. For example, when a tour participant might be faced with a comment from an associate that comes from a stereotypical viewpoint, they could then provide their personal perspective to help paint a richer, more nuanced take on the subject(s).













In a similar way to how tour participants must find alternative ways to carry the work forward, I too have had to utilize different strategies to be involved as well. My collaborator and mentor, Beauty Turner, died of a sudden stroke much too young. Stunned and grieving, I decided that it would not be right to carry on the tours without her involvement and voice. But I continue to keep her memory and her fight alive through my own skills, by relating the stories and experiences as often as possible. I share the work as art with as many audiences as possibly and have spoken on the topic as various venues.















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ART > ART

TCA at MCA
creativeagents.tumblr.com





My artistic and pedagogical practices have been bolstered over the past few years through my sustained engagement with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, where I founded the Teen Creative Agency (TCA) in 2011 and continue to interact and consult on a variety of topics. TCA is a highly selective group of twenty-five young adults from across the Chicagoland area that is tasked with provoking the institution and providing platforms for greater youth involvement. The TCA uses contemporary art to explore our world through critical interpretation, public speaking, and cultural participation. We utilize a problem-solving and open-inquiry method that has filtered throughout my other educational endeavors.



The very first day of TCA (September 2011) - learning about each other, about how to approach and interpret a work of art, and about how this group of young people could shape an institution.



TCA Informational Video

THE LIVING ROOM





In an effort to engage the public in a manner that is "Intimate, Not Intimidating", TCA created "The Living Room". This mobile, migrating living room has a permanent position in the museum lobby to provide rest and interpretive materials, and it appears on select Saturdays in exhibitions throughout the museum. TCA members invite audience members to use the artwork on view as a springboard for activity, conversation, or reflection.

The creation of The Living Room was the culmination of a year of exploration and another year of testing. Wanting a way to engage the young-museum going public and grow that constituency, we experimented with guided tours, "ask me"-style occupations, and new media tools (podcasts, scrolling twitter feeds, etc..). We met with museum curators (like Naomi Beckwith and Michael Darling) and public engagement experts (like Amy Whitaker and Theaster Gates). Ultimately, we decided that what museums really need are spaces that privilege community and can serve as gathering spaces to interact with each other - that we could come to understand and appreciate the artworks better by getting to know each other better. So we alit on the idea of a living room.

With that idea in place, we moved onto a year of implementation and experimentation. We tried various installations and iterations of the furniture. And we played around with various methods and strategies for engaging the public. We had furniture donated by Room & Board and personalized it with our own accessories. You can find The Living Room most days in the MCA atrium and select days in exhibition spaces.



TCA Intimate Not Intimidate







Another initiative of TCA is the annual teen takeover of the museum, 21Minus. 21Minus provides a platform to showcase the talents of Chicago youth to craft interactive projects. The first annual event took place on May 18, 2013 and featured twelve projects curated from a large pool of proposals. In-gallery activities included karaoke, improv comedy tours, interpretive dance and jazz, and a film confessional booth. We also had a hip hop dance crew, a live studio music/dance project, DJs, food, and the Living Room.

















TCA Harlem Shake Video


View/Download TCA's Contribution to MAS Context's Issue on "Production" (Issue 16, Winter '12) - featured on pages 204 - 212.

View/Download the TCA Member Zine Here

Logo
Mixed Media on Cinder Block Wall, 144" x 456"



I have been collaborating collectively with artist Joe Miller and the students of Unity Elementary School in East St. Louis since Spring 2010 in an on-going, multi-faceted project. By frequently dropping into the school to orchestrate alternative projects, we are able to alter the normal course of the students' education and create opportunities for dialogue that might not otherwise be possible.











We are invested in mutual exchange between artist and student, and we strive to make the project self-sustaining. We work with the students in a pedagogical fashion, leveraging our experience to teach both artistic skills and citizenship. We create works (both aesthetic and utilitarian) that benefit the school as a whole. We draw inspiration and imagery from the students to create our own artworks that we present in art contexts. Some of the by-products of the collaboration include murals, t-shirts, prints, videos, sculpture, and drawings. We then use the proceeds from that artwork to re-invest in the school and project.










Kendriona Brown
Paint on Drywall, 180" x 228"



Since an initial visit in February 2010, the reoccurring theme of childhood idols has played a role in forming several interactive projects with the students. For the Jumpman series, the students have attempted to contort their bodies into the famous figure of the Michael Jordan “Jumpman” logo. By replacing a figure that has achieved greatness with an individual that holds the potential to achieve greatness, the importance of Unity becomes apparent -- these students experience the support necessary to rise above their impoverished
surroundings and soar to limitless possibilities.





Jumpmen Sheets (foreground)
Print Transfer on Custom Sheet Set with Sealy Bed, 62" x 80" x 27"
School Mural (background)
Mixed Media on Cinder Block Wall, 144" x 456"










Installation of Jumpmen Card Series



































We also work with the students as art instructors, varying our lessons to accommodate students from kindergarten to 8th grade. We usually have a discussion before we make art, addressing big topics like what they aspire to be when they grow up and what the make up of their families looks like.























Mural created for the art room