A Great Force

The ICA’s Great Force exhibition grapples with questions of visibility and invisibility.

Xaviera Simmons, Capture (Say a butterfly had to die for you to get a gift-there must be some kind of prayer in that-I want to know how you feel about capture), 2019 (still). 

Courtesy of the artist and David Castillo Gallery, Miami

Currently on display at VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art in Richmond, Great Force is a 7,500-square-foot exhibition curated by Amber Esseiva. Presenting “works by an intergenerational group of artists,” she says the exhibition features paintings, sculptures, videos, photography, and performances with works from 21 emerging and established artists. It also aims to discuss “how artworks can become tools in a struggle to appear.”

Paul Stephen Benjamin, H. Res. 194, 2017/2018.

Courtesy of the artist and Telfair Museums

Hoping to “bring to Richmond what’s around the world,” Esseiva strives to have “different artistic outlets for everyone, including print, literature, visual, interactive and even an opera.”

For the duration of the exhibition, the ICA will convene community discussions about how art can become a tool in the pursuit of visibility. To keep the conversation going once the exhibition closes, a book will be released with works from prolific writers such as W.E.B DuBois, Claudia Rankine, and Amber Essieva herself.

Great Force is on display in the ICA Forum, Galleries 1, 2, and 3 through Jan. 5, 2020. ICAVCU.org

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