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Lessons of the Hour by Isaac Julien – Conversation with Frieze

4 February @ 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0

Lessons of the Hour by Isaac Julien

Terence Trouillot, Associate Editor, frieze, will moderate a conversation connected Lessons of the Hour by Isaac Julien at McEvoy Foundation for the Arts. Isaac Julien, Mark Nash, and Jennifer González will be assessing the question: Do universities play a key role in social justice by inspiring radical art practice?

Lessons of the Hour by Isaac Julien

Lessons of the Hour—Frederick Douglass is an immersive, meditative film portrait of Frederick Douglass by British filmmaker and installation artist Isaac Julien. The ten-screen film installation offers a poetic journey into Douglass’ spirit while exploring the life of the visionary Black writer, abolitionist, statesman, and freed slave. The film’s forceful suggestion is that the lessons of the abolitionist’s hour have yet to be learned.

The installation is joined by Julien’s tintype portraits and mise-en-scènes photographs of the film’s subjects alongside curator Mark Nash’s exhibition When Living is a Protest. Nash explores the continuing struggles for civil rights in the United States with modern and contemporary photography from the McEvoy Family Collection.

About Isaac Julien

Isaac Julien, CBE RA, is an artist and educator whose multi-screen film installations and photographs create a poetic and unique visual language. He invites spectators to actively interpret the work through physical and sensorial immersion.

Julien is a member of the Royal Photographic Society and has exhibited as an artist internationally at institutions such as MoCA Miami, Pompidou Centre Paris, and The Royal Ontario Museum. His work is focused on social justice and is also highly influenced by other forms of art such as street art and music. Through his artwork, Julien intends to create a space that allows spectators to engage in discussion about social issues and current events.

Museum solo exhibitions:
ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark
The Art Institute of Chicago
The De Pont Museum, Netherlands
MAC Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
MoCA Miami
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Pompidou Centre Paris
The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

Biennale exhibitions:
Johannesburg Biennale
La Biennale de Venezia
Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art
Shanghai Biennale

About Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was an author, orator, and statesman. He was one of the most influential African American leaders of the nineteenth century. Throughout his life, he spoke out against injustices that he observed within society. He grew up in slavery and began to gain exposure to different ideologies while working for his master’s wife as a house slave and learning to read and write.

Before his master’s death, he was hired to live in a new master’s home, where his duties increased. He chose to learn more about his enslaved ancestors and began to attend meetings led by Quakers. Before long, he decided that he wished to escape from slavery and become an educated man. He began working as a printer for several Maryland newspapers.

After several years, he left for New York City, where he continued working as a journalist. While in New York, he married Lydia Hamilton. Later he established the first Black newspaper in the United States. His editorials were published in several major newspapers such as the New York Tribune. Eventually, he was elected to the state legislature for two terms. He was passionate about educating his fellow African Americans and encouraged them to study and learn new ways of thinking.

He was also a vocal activist against slavery and fought against it throughout his entire life. He used speeches and pamphlets to help further his message of freedom. He was a popular public speaker and lectured around the country.

In 1845 he published his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. During his life, he was awarded several honors for his contributions to society. He became more involved in politics as time went on and later became friends with President Lincoln. The President even invited him to attend his second inauguration, an invitation that Douglass declined because he disapproved of how Lincoln treated some African Americans. In 1864 at the age of sixty, he was presented with his freedom papers by President Abraham Lincoln.


4 February
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
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