Project for Empty Space is pleased to present It is astonishing the lengths to which a person, or a people, will go in order to avoid a truthful mirror, an exhibition in collaboration with the For Freedoms initiative, featuring MFA Photo/Video alumni Melvin Harper. The exhibition was inspired by James Baldwin’s short story "This Morning, This Evening, So Soon," and explores the themes that are still relevant over half a century after Baldwin’s work was published. It is astonishing the lengths to which a person, or a people, will go in order to avoid a truthful mirror will be on view through January 2019.
Baldwin's “This Morning, This Evening, So Soon,” was published in The Atlantic Monthly, in 1960, and later included in a collection of short stories, “Going to Meet the Man,” this piece follows it’s protagonist through a series of memories and reflections on the eve of his return to the United States after years of living in Paris. As with many of Baldwin's delicate and visceral short stories, the thematic underpinnings of “This Morning, This Evening, So Soon,” are racism and violence, invisibility and imposed identity, love and loss, pain and precarity, and, perhaps most importantly, the intersections of all of the aforementioned human phenomena. In It is astonishing..., these themes are explored within a contemporary framework.
Founded in 2016 by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, For Freedoms is a platform for creative civic engagement, discourse, and direct action. Inspired by American artist Norman Rockwell’s paintings of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms (1941)—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear—For Freedoms’ exhibitions, installations, and public programs use art to deepen public discussions on civic issues and core values, and to advocate for equality, dialogue, and civic participation.
Melvin Harper is an English born Creative Art Director and Visual Artist based between Hollywood, Ca, and NYC. His recent exhibitions include: Volta Art Fair, NYC; Art Basel, Miami Beach; and Re: Art, NY.