Exhibition and public program

28 February 2020 18.00–10 January 2021 19.00

 

Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals [reopening 16 & 17 Oct 2020]

An exhibition and public program, curated by Thiago de Paula Souza

  • Tony Cokes, Evil.27: Selma, Greene Naftali, New York, 2011, courtesy of the artist, Greene Naftali, New York; Hannah Hoffman, Los Angeles, and Electronic Arts Intermix, New York, photo: Gustavo Murillo Fernandez-Valdes

  • Installation view Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2020, photo: Tom Janssen

  • Tony Cokes, Evil.16 (Torture.Musik), 2009-2011, installation view BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2020, photo: Tom Janssen

  • Tony Cokes, Evil.16 (Torture.Musik), 2009-2011, installation view BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2020, photo: Tom Janssen

  • Tony Cokes, The Will & The Way… Fragment 1, 2019, installation view BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2020, photo: Tom Janssen

  • Tony Cokes, Black Celebration, 1988, installation view Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2020, photo: Tom Janssen

  • Tony Cokes, Black Celebration, 1988, installation view Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2020, photo: Tom Janssen

  • Installation view Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2020, foto: Tom Janssen

Update:
On 16 and 17 October 2020, we are happy to reopen the exhibition Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals at BAK, which was closed after only two weeks due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

The reopening spans two days, Friday 16 and Saturday 17 October 2020, between 13.00 and 21.00 hrs each day, to accommodate visitors safely and offer the public a chance to engage with Cokes’s works. At set times throughout the day, the BAK team gives introductions to Cokes’s work and the exhibition. The reopening also includes two evening programs: the launch of the publication Deserting from the Culture Wars, edited by Maria Hlavajova and Sven Lütticken and published by BAK and MIT Press (read more above), on Friday 16 October 2020, and the launch of a new book by artist Nicoline van Harskamp, My Name is Language, published by Archive Books in collaboration with Scriptings, on Saturday 17 October 2020.

We at BAK look forward to reengaging with our publics in a conversation about equality and justice through Cokes’s work at a time when these matters seem ever more relevant and urgent. 

Program reopening
Friday 16 October 2020
12.30 hrs: Doors open
13.00–19.00 hrs: Opportunity to visit the exhibition, with introductions by the BAK team every two hours (timeslots at 13.00 hrs, 15.00 hrs, and 17.00 hrs)
19.00–21.00 hrs: Publication launch for Deserting from the Culture Wars (published by BAK and MIT Press) with guests

Saturday 17 October 2020
12.30 hrs: Doors open
13.00–19.00 hrs:  Opportunity to visit the exhibition, with introductions by the BAK team every two hours (timeslots at 13.00 hrs, 15.00 hrs, and 17.00 hrs)
19.00–21.00 hrs: Book launch for My Name is Language (published by Archive Books in collaboration with Scriptings) with Nicoline van Harskamp and guests

More on the public program accompanying the exhibition, and information on how to book your timeslots for the opening, to follow soon!

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28 February opening conversation Tony Cokes and Irit Rogoff
During the opening on 28 February 2020, curator/scholar Irit Rogoff entered into a conversation with Tony Cokes on his work and practice. Rewatch it here:



On Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals
From 28 February–17 May 2020 (reopening 16 October 2020, to run through 10 January 2021), BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht proudly presents Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals. An exhibition and public program, curated by Thiago de Paula Souza, who was one of the BAK 2018/2019 Fellows.

Opening:
Friday 28 February 2020, 18.00 hrs, including a conversation between artist Tony Cokes and curator and scholar Irit Rogoff at 19.30 hrs [Fully booked!] | Facebook event

Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals brings together selected video works from the past 30 years, tracing Cokes’s unique formation of critique through visual and textual codes, and his changing relationship to archival material over several different global historical moments. The works draw a through line from these historical events to the present of systemic violence and ever-more-complex forms of social control. What are ways of seeing and responding to the seemingly endless cycles of inequality and oppression? How then, the exhibition queries, could one break those cycles and envision living as equals?  

The title of the exhibition refers to Cokes’s Evil.27: Selma (2011), which reconsiders the contemporary dominance of the image as evidence and record. Invoking a period of civil mobilization in the United States that came about in a time without mass image circulation, the video examines what is lost when “everything is instantly visible.” Another work from his mostly includes Evil.16 (Torture.Musik) (2009–2011), which examines popular music as a US Army psychological warfare device through the very songs used in torture. Other central works include FADE TO BLACK (1990), an assemblage of Black stereotypes from cinema history that contends with the subliminal elements of race relations; and Black Celebration (1988), which reappropriates Situationist texts alongside footage from the 1960s-era riots in Detroit and Los Angeles.

Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals immerses viewers in the audiovisual language that Cokes has developed over his career, which typically blurs the aesthetics of pop music videos and visual art. Characterized by appropriation and repetition, and the use of archival materials and text set to identifiable pop bangers, Cokes’s work breaks with the modern grammars of media circulation in order to subvert popular rhetorics of power and violence. This practice is grounded in the fraught relation between history and memory, and strongly questions  western contemporary culture while maintaining a sharp awareness of the limits of theoretical critique. His works instead interrogate current conditions of capital, knowledge distortion, and the fascisms of everyday life by rehearsing new possibilities of understanding, combining political analysis with the pleasure of pop.

PUBLIC PROGRAM
Opening Conversation: Irit Rogoff and Tony Cokes
28 February 2020, 19.30–21.00 hrs
On the occasion of the opening of the exhibition, curator and scholar Irit Rogoff joins Cokes in a discussion of the artist’s work and ideas. There is limited capacity for the opening conversation, please book your spot via this link.

Public Studies: Practice as Theory [cancelled/to be postponed]
19–21 March 2020, 15.00–18.00 hrs
A three-day workshop presented by Tony Cokes on violence, representation, images, and the uses of theory through key works by the artist.

Propositions #11: Practice Is Theory [postponed]
April–May 2020
Propositions #11: Practice Is Theory takes place during the exhibition Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals, drawing from the concept behind Cokes’s public study program, Practice as Theory. Unfolding as a series of discussions and performances, Propositions #11: Practice Is Theory explores how diverse disciplines might create theory from practice. Challenging the shape, functions, and actions of the theoretical, the programs each seek in different ways to disengage theory from being just that other thing art and action use.

Please note that on Sunday 8 March, the exhibition will not be on view, as we are organizing the Mama Cash Feminist Festival at BAK. For more information, see here.

Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals
is organized in the framework of BAK’s research itinerary Propositions for Non-Fascist Living (2017–ongoing), and is made possible with the support of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science; the City Council, Utrecht; VSBfonds, Utrecht; BankGiro Loterij Fonds, Amsterdam; The Netherland-America Foundation, New York; and Stichting Elise Mathilde Fonds, Maarsbergen.

Made possible by

Suggestions from the archive

Education Program

29 June, 19.00–16 July, 21.00 2020

Course: Art as Politics [Rerun on Request]

An Online Extension of BAK Public Studies

Due to popular demand, BAK Public Studies offers a rerun of the online course Art as Politics, taking place on the following dates: 29 June & 2, 6, 9, 13, and 16 July 2020.
This digital extension of BAK Public Studies, taught by Maria Hlavajova, is prompted by the urgency to continue collective thinking through, learning about, and imagining critical, politically-informed artistic practices that grasp—and intervene into—the present. Please note: this Open Call is now closed and the course is fully booked.

Education Program

8 June, 19.00–25 June, 21.00 2020

Course: Art as Politics [Open Call closed]

An Online Extension of BAK Public Studies

BAK Public Studies offers the new online course Art as Politics. This digital extension of BAK Public Studies is prompted by the urgency to continue collective thinking through, learning about, and imagining critical, politically-informed artistic practices that grasp—and intervene into—the present.

Dates: Mondays and Thursdays on 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, and 25 June 2020, 19–21 hrs CET. [Please note: this Open Call is now closed and the course is fully booked].