I’m sharing this excerpt from the talk that I had with the Hope & Dread Podcast in full. The errors that occur in my segment of this episode is predicated by the thesis of the producer’s intro;
Museums may feel the temptation to craft simple narratives, believing them to be more digestible for audiences; but most artists don’t want their work reduced in that way….
This excerpt is from Aug 9, 2021. This excerpt will exist here online for it to be heard + read in full to reaffirm my identity + its relation to this specific work.. No one has the right to edit or obscure that core. I’m aware that my autism, this aspect of my identity doesn’t exactly read as “visible” as I often have to disclose it. The work centered in this podcast, THE FULL SEVERITY OF COMPASSION does not exist without me being an autistic person. I know some folks can’t hold all that I am at once, as I have to do so daily, but you will not create a new language over mine.
I have rarely addressed my autism. However, I think with my initial disclosure in 2019, there is a lot of responsibility in that + I won’t allow that aspect of who I am to be cut from me or my work if it’s centered.
*errors. I was born in Blytheville, Arkansas. I grew up in Greenville, SC as I stated. Reducing the work to just this element of a “last embrace before violence and slaughter” is sensationalist. The New Museum G&G didactic was the best ever written for a work of mine. My artist statement on this work in 2019 - is solid. The narrative intro language does the EXACT thing this podcast is addressing.
I’m not doing any more of the art press quotes anymore. I will ONLY have one-to-one dialogues with the right people from here on out. There are many media outlets who are now attempting to be critical + bold about the art world/industry through those of us who have always been stepping that way + in that position with more to risk. These initiatives are often led by white people who want to signal a particular edginess that they inherently do not possess.
The press or even a podcast can also be an institution. So my question is - are you dealing with your own complicity within your own thesis?
This weekend I will be sharing the background of my project Be Alarmed: The Black Americana Epic, Movement III - The Triple Deities that was set to debut this past weekend and has been postponed. This is the third movement in my four-part Be Alarmed film series. leading up to the debut of the trailer for the project on this Sunday evening;
Be Alarmed: The Black Americana Epic, Movement III - The Triple Deities is the third movement in the Be Alarmed series. Movement III – The Triple Deities is a multimedia installation and performance that merges art song, exhibition, film, and sculpture to examine the intersections of Black woman intersubjectivity within the context of American society. The Triple Deities draws its inspiration from the art song “Songs To The Dark Virgin” composed by Florence B. Price in 1941 —the first African American woman to have a composition performed by a major American symphony orchestra. The composition takes its name and lyrics from Langston Hughes’s poem which was written in 1926. The work will consider how African American classical musicians historically used the art song form as a critical tool while examining present-day perspectives.
McClodden is collaborating with composer and pianist Courtney Bryan, who will create and perform a score that will include references to Price’s original composition, as well as a range of traditional African American musical genres and styles. Soprano vocalist Janinah Burnett will perform both the work in its traditional form and alongside Bryan’s new compositions in a live performance that will take place within the installation of the film.
I have worked long and quietly on this project and had plans to present it in North Philadelphia in a warehouse space accessible to the community that I have lived in to allow my work an opportunity to be seen first by those who have inspired me and my process, and secondly by the art going community of Philadelphia.
I am working with a group of amazing Black women who have stuck with me as I have navigated fundraising for this project.
Courtney Bryan and I have been in conversation about this piece since 2015, and she is producing an original score for the project accompanied by Janinah Burnette who will provide vocals during the performance. Ladi’Sasha Jones has provided research and thought partner support since I embarked on this Be Alarmed series many years ago when it first debuted in 2014. Pamela Shepard-Hill has provided extensive wardrobe styling. Kimberly R. Drew is currently providing me with guidance on marketing and engagement. My long time collaborators Ashley Tai and Danielle Deadwyler (the sole lead for the entire series, have gifted me with performances so nuanced and thorough it’s hard to edit at times. And lastly, my dear friend, beloved art guide and museum guard of the city, Linda Harris is featured in her first film performance ever.
**Major support for this project has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage with the 2018 Project Art Grant, with additional support from 2017 The Astraea Global Art fund, and the 2016 Ossian Arts Fellowship.