The Book Arts of Transformative Racial Justice

A companion exhibit to the Teaching Gallery at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Truths and Reckonings: The Books Arts of Transformative Racial Justice, showcases artist's books contributions to truth-telling, bearing witness, and facilitating transitional justice.

Guest curator Geoff Ward (associate professor of African and African American Studies) designed Truths and Reckonings as a “pop-up” memorial museum, using groupings of artworks, illustrations, and other material culture to support understanding and commemoration of legacies of racial violence, hopefully deepening commitments to redress and the realization equal justice. Exemplified by museums addressing the Holocaust, enslavement, and other atrocities, memorial museums aim to translate education and commemoration around past injustice into ethical commitment to a just present and future.

In this exhibit, artist’s books addressing histories of racial violence and related legacies of social, economic and political exclusion are showcased. All of the exhibited works come from the Julian Edison Department of Special Collections at John M. Olin Library, many focus on St. Louis, and the majority were produced by Washington University faculty and students. Like the Teaching Gallery exhibition, which features art works from the museum’s permanent collection alongside objects from Olin Library, this companion exhibit is also meant to feature the range and depth of materials in Washington University’s collections we can draw upon to understand and address these locally and globally pressing social issues.     

Truths and Reckonings: The Book Art of Transformative Racial Justice is curated by Geoff Ward with Miranda Rectenwald and Jessi Cerutti. 

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