Curated by Julie Levin Caro
"I portray the black body both frenetically and through drudgery in order to convey relevant cultural experiences." - Jefferson Pinder
The WCU Fine Art Museum presents a new exhibition featuring video performance works from Jefferson Pinder. An interdisciplinary artist based in Chicago, Pinder focuses on themes of labor and endurance in his video art practice with metaphoric references to African American identity, history, and experience. Curated by Julie Levin Caro, Professor of Art History and Faculty Director of Craft Studies at Warren Wilson College, the exhibition brings together five video performances from Pinder’s Inertia Cycle series. This series examines complex issues of race, ethnicity, and class through Pinder’s grueling physical performances. The videos are set to engaging sound scores drawn from African, folk, and hip-hop music.
Pinder’s portrayal of the black body at work, under distress, and moving through pain and exhaustion constitutes an act of resistance and social commentary. As Pinder states, “I portray the black body both frenetically and through drudgery in order to convey relevant cultural experiences.” Pinder approaches his subject matter with a sense of lyricism and sometimes with humor. In the five videos on view—Marathon, Mule, Lazarus, Ben Hur, and Thoroughbred—Pinder immerses the viewer in scenes of physical conditioning to prompt an emotional response.
Pinder has produced highly praised performance-based and multidisciplinary work for over a decade. His work has been featured in numerous group shows including exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem, The High Museum, Tate Modern in London, the 2016 Shanghai Biennale, and the Smithsonian Museum of African American History. He was awarded a United States Artist’s Joyce Fellowship Award in the field of performance in 2016 and was selected as the John S. Guggenheim Fellow in 2017. Pinder received a BA in Theatre and MFA in Mixed Media from the University of Maryland and studied at the Asolo Theatre Conservatory in Sarasota, FL. Currently, he is a Professor in the Contemporary Practices department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
How to Engage Students with the Jefferson Pinder Video Art Exhibition
In this hour-long virtual workshop, Julie Levin Caro, Professor of Art History at Warren Wilson College, and guest curator of the exhibition Jefferson Pinder: Selections form the Inertia Cycle, 2003-2014, will offer an overview of the exhibition’s themes and discuss ways that faculty can engage their students with the artwork. Taking a class period to encounter, unpack, and respond to artworks can be a powerful teaching opportunity to enrich and extend your course material, but it can also be an opportunity for students to practice skills useful to your discipline, including observation, critical thinking, and analysis. Please join us for this exciting opportunity to learn more about Jefferson Pinder’s video work and how to incorporate it into your course. Register for this zoom workshop.
The reception for Jefferson Pinder: Selections from the Inertia Cycle will be held on September 20, 2021 from 5:00-7:00 PM at the WCU Fine Art Museum at Bardo Arts Center, 199 Centennial Drive, Cullowhee, NC. This event will include a public talk by Jefferson Pinder at 6:00 PM. Regular museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM and Thursdays until 7:00 PM. All receptions and exhibitions are free and open to the public.
Interdisciplinary artist Jefferson Pinder (b. 1970, Washington, D.C.) has produced highly praised performance-based and multidisciplinary work for over a decade. His work has been featured in numerous group shows including exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Wadsworth Athenaeum, The High Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and Tate Modern in London. Pinder’s work has been featured in the 2016 Shanghai Biennale and at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. In 2016, he was awarded a United States Artist’s Joyce Fellowship Award in the field of performance, and he was a 2017 John S. Guggenheim Fellow.
Pinder received a BA in Theatre and MFA in Mixed Media from the University of Maryland and studied at the Asolo Theatre Conservatory in Sarasota, FL. From 2003-2011, he was an Assistant Professor of theory, performance, and foundations at the University of Maryland. Currently, he is a Professor in the Contemporary Practices department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Exhibition curator Julie Levin Caro is a Professor of Art History and faculty director of undergraduate Craft Studies at Warren Wilson College in Asheville. A specialist in modern, American, and African American art, Caro has curated numerous exhibitions, including Freedom of Expression: Politics and Aesthetics in African American Art, Gee’s Bend: From Quilts to Prints, Between Form and Content: Perspectives on Jacob Lawrence and Black Mountain College, and Bauhaus to Black Mountain: Josef and Anni Albers. Professor Caro’s background in museum education and curation also supports her undergraduate teaching at Warren Wilson, where she has established the College’s Elizabeth Holden Art Gallery as a center for interdisciplinary and diversity teaching and learning.