About the Exhibition
The origins of “Nine Moments for Now” began gestating because of a question that was raised during the height of the national conversation on the deaths of Sandra Bland and Freddie Gray. It was a question that rose to the surface during the 2015 annual Hutchins Forum featuring speakers Charles F. Coleman Jr., Janaye Ingram, Orlando Watson, Dion Rabouin, DeRay Mckesson and trailblazer Charlayne Hunter-Gault. During the discussion, Mckesson poignantly admitted that the crucial challenge then was asking ourselves:
What does winning look like?
That was three years ago, and in the context of the astounding uncertainty of the Trump Age, Mckesson’s question still haunts me. It has stayed at the forefront of my mind precisely because I believe that our nation has become what political scientist Colin Crouch in 2000 deemed a “post-democracy”: a society that continues to have and to use all the institutions of democracy—congressional testimony is heard and elections are held—but in which they increasingly become a formal shell. In other words, what we currently might be living through is an era in which the democratic apparatus is still in place while its applications become progressively less effective.
In the wake of #BlackLivesMatter and #TimesUp, we hope that this exhibition enables us all to slow down long enough to remember that democracy, time and memory are as poetic, unruly and fragile as body and breath.
This exhibition is also an opportunity for storytelling and examining history, culture and the archive. In all transformative movements, artists, thinkers and writers have been at the forefront of creating meaningful responses to social engagement, civic discourse and political speech.
-Dell Marie Hamilton, Curator