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About the Series


artist Cauleen Smith, program curator Steve Anker, independent curator Jheanelle Brown, UC San Diego Professor Alena Williams.

“Everything I make is just an offering. I think of my work as a contribution to the histories of the Black diasporas and our powers of invention, survival and generativity.”—Cauleen Smith.

The UCLA Film & Television Archive and Hammer Museum are proud to present three nights of work by Los Angeles-based Cauleen Smith, including a rare performance of her evolving Black Utopia LP and two programs of short films. Smith, one of the leading American artists of this generation, defies easy categorization. Moving compellingly between multimedia installations, slide performances and a wide variety of films, Smith creates nuanced portrayals of African diaspora culture and its troubled history in the United States as well as issues facing Black women in contemporary life. Unpredictable, humble, unerringly witty and precise, Smith weaves “everyday possibilities of the imagination” into improvisational, jazz-inflected experiences that celebrate the freedom of creativity and allow each viewer to find their own meaning in her work. Smith has lived and worked in several parts of the country and her art is deeply engaged with each community she has encountered. With the exception of her seminal and recently re-released 1998 narrative feature, drylongso, Smith has concentrated on short filmmaking, producing over 20 short films and videos since 1990. Ranging widely in style and drawing upon experimental film tradition, third world cinema, science fiction, as well as the music of Sun Ra and other great musicians, she creates poetic experiences that subtly interweave narrative themes and cultural concerns. Smith has had solo shows at the Whitney Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Tate Modern among other major museums, and her films have screened at the New York, Rotterdam, Sundance and numerous additional international festivals.

Guest curated and program notes by Steve Anker.

Past Events in this Series

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