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Weekly Watchlist: Transforming Raw Materials into Vessels of Opportunity

Martin Puryear’s Ladder for Booker T. Washington (1996)

For Ladder for Booker T. Washington (1996), a 36-foot-tall wooden sculpture in Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s permanent collection, Martin Puryear came up with the title after the work was completed.

“The resonance with his life and his struggle, and the whole notion that his idea of progress for the race was a long, slow progression of, as he said, ‘putting your buckets down where you are and working with what you’ve got,'” said Puryear in our “Time” episode, “it really is a question of the view from where you start and the end—the goal.”

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Theaster Gates establishes a virtuous circle between fine art and social progress

Theaster Gates transforms the raw material of urban neighborhoods into radically reimagined vessels of opportunity for the community.

“It is so evident that when art is present, things are better, even in the toughest circumstances,” says Gates. “I’m asking questions of what the Black world might look like if we invested in it, if we gave a damn.”

Recommendations from Art21

Read: My Grandmother’s Hands by Resmaa Menakem

My Grandmother’s Hands is a guidebook for learning and dismantling white-body supremacy. We keep hearing about white supremacy culture, Menakem takes this further to share about the somatics of how white supremacy lives in our bodies, and how to heal our nervous system and connect to ourselves and each other.

Shared by Erin Shafkind, Art21 Educators alumnus and public high school educator from Seattle, Washington; Available now from your retailer of choice

Listen: Return of the Boom Bap by KRS-One

I always come back to my original CD copy of KRS-One’s 1993 solo debut. As a teenager growing up in Jersey City, I naively thought that I understood the more socially conscious aspects of this album. Through the years, I learned to understand them more. To this day, I’m still learning.

Shared by Jonathan Munar, Director of Digital; Available now on your streaming platform of choice

Watch: I May Destroy You

Michaela Coel wrote 191 drafts of this incredible, perfect show! 191!

Shared by Meghan Garven, Development and Administrative Coordinator; Now streaming on HBO (with subscription)

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