Image from Kirsten Leenaars: (Re)Housing the American Dream Photo Credit: Clare Britt
House/Home: Artists Kirsten Leenaars and Fo Wilson
Moderated by Dr. Jasmine Alinder
Thursday, October 6, 3 p.m.
Haggerty Museum of Art
Join us for a public conversation with artists Kirsten Leenaars and Fo Wilson, moderated by Director of UWM’s Urban Studies Programs Dr. Jasmine Alinder. This program is presented in collaboration with Imagining America’s 16th Annual National Conference, themed At the Crossroads.
Kirsten Leenaars: (Re)Housing the American Dream, is a three-channel video installation on view at the Haggerty Museum of Art, and is the result of Leenaars’ year-long exploration of the notions of home, belonging and happiness in context of the American Dream in Milwaukee’s Near West Side. Leenaars created this piece in collaboration with students from two neighborhood schools—Highland Community School and the International Newcomer Center at the Milwaukee Academy of Chinese Language. Personal stories from the students serve as metaphors to explore the real and imagined reality of this Dream. Delving into the complex notions of place, person, community, family, country, origin, land, or a moment of time as a site of identification, with being a person. The video installation ponders the enduring question of what it means to be human and how this has become inextricably from the question who we are to each other? How is the American Dream both an individual and collective dream? These young residents of Milwaukee imagined and (re)envisioned the American Dream and what is most required to allow this dream unfold.
Chicago-based artist Fo Wilson’s installation Eliza’s Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities is currently on view at the Lynden Sculpture Garden. This full-scale structure is both wunderkammer and slave cabin; it imagines what a 19th-century woman of African descent might have collected, catalogued and stowed in her living quarters. Informed by historical research, but represented in the past, present and future simultaneously, Eliza–animated by an Afro-Futurist vision that embodies a hopeful version of an African American future–presents an imagined collection of found and original objects, furnishings and artifacts.
The program will be followed by a reception and presentation of the exhibition catalog (Re)housing the American Dream with an essay by Steven L. Bridges. Design: Sonia Yoon.