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something else (Variations on Americana)

Kiyan Williams

A photo of deep fried American Flag
A photo of deep fried American Flag

Due to the process-based nature of the Session program, this project will undergo constant modifications; the features of this page provide accruing information on the project’s developments.

Date:
September 14–October 26, 2020

Visitor info
To make an appointment, please sign up no later than 10 am the same day at recessartscheduling.as.me

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The American flag, when deep-fried, forms an outer skin that appears to be cankerous, bubbling with calcified flour and charred detritus. Following the tradition of Black artists who appropriate and distort the American flag, Kiyan Williams will manipulate symbols of Americana ––flags, assault rifles, police uniforms, and more––with Black American and Afro-Caribbean culinary and seasoning techniques: frying, barbecuing, braising, etc.

In lieu of their original plans, which have necessarily shifted as a result of COVID-19, and Black people [redacted] and still reaching towards something else, Williams will create culinary sculptures that draw on practices that have grounded them over the past four months, because cooking reminds them of friends and connection and embodied presence, because they don’t know what else to do, because transforming materials into something else is a source of vitality, because creating cultivates an embodiment not tied to subjugation, domination, or demise, and that is as valid of a reason to make art than any other.

Session invites artists to use Recess’s public platform to combine productive studio space with dynamic exhibition opportunities. Sessions remain open to the public from the first day of the artist’s project through the last, encouraging sustained dialogue between artists and audiences. Due to the process-based nature of Session, projects undergo constant revision and the above proposal is subject to change.

About the artist

Kiyan Williams

Kiyan Williams is a multidisciplinary artist from Newark, NJ who works fluidly across sculpture, performance, and video. Williams earned a BA with honors from Stanford University and an MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University. Their work has been exhibited at SculptureCenter, The Jewish Museum, Brooklyn Museum, and The Shed. They have given artist talks and lectures at The Guggenheim, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Princeton University, Stanford University, Portland State University, and Pratt Institute. Williams’ work is in private and public collections including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Williams’ honors and awards include the Astraea Foundation Global Arts Fund and Stanford Arts Award. They were selected to participate in the 2019 In Practice: Other Objects emerging artist exhibition at SculptureCenter and are among the inaugural cohort of artists commissioned by The Shed. Williams was previously an artist fellow at Leslie-Lohman Museum and is an alum of the EMERGENYC fellowship at the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics at NYU. Williams is the recipient of the 2019/2020 Fountainhead Fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University, where they are on faculty in the Sculpture and Extended Media Department.

artist website

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