Shug Avery’s Kiss
Tiona Nekkia McClodden
On March 6, Tiona Nekkia McClodden will begin work on a Shug Avery’s Kiss, a project that will turn the physical space of Recess into a juke joint.
McClodden’s project will create a suite of works comprised of audio, image, video, and objects dedicated to the fictional character Shug Avery from Alice Walker’s 1982 novel The Color Purple with consideration of her character’s representation in the 1985 film by the same name.
The foundation of the project is an examination of the juke joint as a historical site of Black artistic creation and social engagement. McClodden will activate the space with a host of programming, including letter writing workshops with fellow Black women; intimate conversations on love, religion, sisterhood, and friendship; as well as an ongoing series of commissioned jukes, featuring live collaborations that the artist will stage throughout the Session with invited artists, musicians, vocalists, painters and dancers.
Shug Avery’s Kiss will manifest as a hybrid reading of the character Shug Avery’s bedroom and the juke joint featured within the film and the novel, The Color Purple, presented alongside McClodden’s personal collection of ephemera and memorabilia from the film. Sharing the space will be a host of films, videos, and curated playlists related to the character of Shug Avery, by women close to McClodden as well as blues singers from throughout the history of the juke joint. Shug Avery’s Kiss will offer an invocation of desire, healing, and spirituality centered on the lived experiences of a Black, queer woman from the South.
November 11, 2023–January 25, 2024
Marcela Torres and Assembly
September 14–November 10, 2023
KING COBRA and Hue Hallums