The concept of 50/50, two parts equaling one whole, is represented in the physical structure and across our four curatorial platforms.
For the ‘Black Lives Matter’ exhibition, 50/50 invited Dread to create a work relevant to the theme of memory in Missouri as the goal of the exhibition is to remember the tragic domestic shootings after August 2014 for their entirety and to instill this into direct action. Outfront Media, the billboard leasing company censored Scott's billboard, delaying the installation. The details of Outfront Media response and timeline for which this process took place are outlined below:
August 15th - Per standard procedures 50/50 emailed Dread's artwork to Outfront Media for printing.
August 16th - Outfront Media replied to share that they did not think the artwork would be approved sharing the following statement, "I doubt we will be able to take this copy. We can’t take any negative advertising. Our ads have to be positive (non-confrontational toward any group of individual) to maintain relationships throughout the community. I’ll send it up the chain but I would plan on working on a different design." Note: Past billboard content has never received a "negative" classification that are also politically engaged.
August 18th - 50/50 replied with a description of the work, it's significance, and a statement denouncing the "negative" classification of the artwork and to ask that Outfront Media put us in touch with anyone necessary to discuss the matter further.
August 23rd - 50/50 follows up because there was no response. Outfront Media shares they did not approve the work and to move forward with other creative. To which 50/50 asks what steps were taken for receiving approval, why the sign has been classified as negative and who to speak with about having the billboard approved. Outfront Media replies stating that within the contract they have the right to deny any creative for the billboard and does not address the aforementioned questions. 50/50 then worked under the direction of Dread Scott on his creative strategy for moving forward with the assistance of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and legal counsel.
October 18th - A revised proposal was submitted to Outfront Media that included "new creative" in an effort to "compromise" with support letters from NCAC and our legal representation. Dread decided to alter the billboard design to include the list of slain individuals with the expectation that the flag would be physically installed on 50/50’s building during open gallery hours.
October 21st - 50/50 participated in a case study sharing this process at the Common Field Convening in a workshop led by the director of the National Coalition Against Censorship, Svetlana Mintcheva, titled: ‘Handling Controversy and Working with Difficult Subject Matter’.
November 4th - After daily follow-ups from 50/50, Outfront Media agreed to print the revised billboard.
November 26th - Dread Scott's billboard is installed at 50/50.
Below you will find a selection of videos documenting the exhibition. To view all film documentation of BLACK LIVES MATTER, visit our YouTube.
All video courtesy of Silvi Abisaab
Click the image to view more. Images courtesy of Silvi Abisaab.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
September 8th, 6-10 p.m.
September 9th, 6-10 p.m.
50/50 1628 Wyoming St., Kansas City, Missouri 64102
50/50 presents two evenings of six facilitators conducting hourly workshops in response to the recent violent events of the summer of 2016. These facilitators will utilize the empty containers of 50/50 to lead expanded workshops with complete creative freedom and direction. The staff of 50/50 serves as a logistical staff to ensure the coordination of such workshops. The theme of this event is to remember these tragic events for their entirety and to instill this for direct, positive action.
One Struggle KC
As a white led institution, 50/50 has chosen a selection of texts from other institutions that are also in solidarity of Black Lives Matter. While there are a few exceptions, large portions of our local and national community remain silent despite the recent acts of violence, oppression, and injustice. 50/50 believes there are not enough institutions using the power of their platforms for action. The following texts and authors ask, how do artists and art institutions participate with the Black Lives Matter movement? What agency do we have as creatives and how does this intersect with political power?
The Laundromat Project:
The Laundromat Project sees artists as unique connectors who build bridges with community members across disparate ideas, cultures, and points of view. Artists are dynamic and powerful assets in our communities, bringing unconventional perspectives and creative solutions to challenges and situations, particularly during these troubling times.
Artists have the power to push our societal conversation forward–asking difficult questions, taking personal risks. We are proud to support their work, protect their freedom of expression and help amplify their voices.
Museum of Modern Art, New York:
Others have posted the black monochrome square that has appeared repeatedly after police killings, as if to say there are in fact no images that can capture the scale of this crisis and that the image of the black body in pain is part and parcel of how black people are policed. In other words: Can images do anything but aggravate the problem?
At their best, pictures—on Instagram or at a museum—can offer a space of both meditation and change where anger, fear, and ambivalence can coexist. Sometimes artists respond to documents of death by giving you another option than either looking away or staring at the gore of your news feed. At other times, the significance of an artwork itself can change, especially when it enters a collection or institution. As it moves from the original place it was made, it takes on added meanings, rubbing up against other artworks and adding to our public image bank as new events occur and time passes.
Black lives matter to 50/50.
50/50 recognizes the responsibility we have to the multicultural community we inhabit and support. As a platform for fostering progressive dialogues we are committed to exhibiting artists of diverse perspectives who take risks within their practice. 50/50 does not take this commitment lightly and supports the creative expression of artists and will fight against censorship. As a safe space 50/50 does not tolerate anti-LGBTQIA, race or gender hate speech, violence, or harassment.
50/50 has provided the following resources for such direct action:
Write a letter to your representative
Schedule for Thursday, September 8th:
6 p.m. Jose Faus
José will be presenting acts of literary resistance perceived as acts of revolt. Poetry and literature in the struggle for rights - in a world in decline to create is a revolutionary act.
7 p.m. Cat Mahari
Cat's workshop will be a demonstration and sharing of her performance contemplation and social practice explored in the series: Violent/Break.
8 p.m. Lynnette Miranda
Based in Action: Unlearning and Allyship
"Allyship is not supposed to look like this, folks. It’s not supposed to be about you. It’s not supposed to be about your feelings. It’s not supposed to be a way of glorifying yourself at the expense of the folks you claim to be an ally to. It’s not supposed to be a performance. It’s supposed to be a way of living your life that doesn’t reinforce the same oppressive behaviors you’re claiming to be against." –Mia McKenzie, Black Girl Dangerous
What does being an ally mean in concrete and practical terms? How do we enact unlearning and decolonizing knowledge while situating our practices in action? Through conversation, we will compile and exchange strategies on decentering our practices and challenging white supremacy in our daily lives. We will touch on The Undercommons by Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, and introduce ideas around radical resistance. Together we will create a shared and generative space for knowledge building and growth. While this is a safe collective space for all, this is not a space for individual reflection.
9 p.m. Open discussion and closing remarks
Schedule Friday, September 9th:
6 p.m. Tru Justice of One Struggle KC
One Struggle KC is a coalition of community activists seeking to harness the energy of Ferguson, Missouri in an effort to connect the struggles of oppressed communities, locally and globally.
7 p.m. Randall Jenson
Randall will showcase queer media documentary projects he has completed through SocialScope Productions, showing a sample of video testimonials from both the "Real Talk: LGBTQ Conversations for Change" KC videos, as well as clips from 50Faggots cast members who self-identify as Black effeminate gay men. The clips will discuss thematic issues around using humor, expression and resiliency as strategies of survival, navigating white LGBTQ spaces, encountering sexual racism and experiences with law enforcement.
8 p.m. - 10 p.m. Open discussion and closing remarks
50/50 understands that not everyone chooses to participate in an active way and as a conclusion to the two evenings we have planned to provide a slip of paper for attendees to share their thoughts, questions and concerns. This will be something attendees can choose to do anonymously if they wish. The slips will be collected and archived via the Digital Archive. The primary goal of this time is to provide a platform for reflection and allow for questions.
Concluding the evening there will be an opportunity for open discussion.