Exhibition and public program

28 February 2020 18.00–10 January 2021 19.00

 

Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals [re-opening 18 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 17 May 2020:
We are excited to announce that the exhibition Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals re-opens on 18 October 2020, to run through 10 January 2021. We look forward to re-engage with our publics in a conversation about equality and justice with and through Cokes’s work, as it seems more relevant and urgent than ever to address in a post-Covid-19 condition and in what appears to be a prospective age of pandemics.  


Update 14 March 2020:
Due to the recent developments in regard to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak in the Netherlands, BAK’s exhibition space is temporarily closed. Should anything change in our measures, we will let you know as soon as possible via website and social media. Full message here.

Opening conversation Tony Cokes and Irit Rogoff
Although the exhibition is not on view at the moment, you can (re)view the conversation between artist Tony Cokes and curator/scholar Irit Rogoff below, which took place during the opening at BAK on 28 February 2020. In the conversation, Cokes goes deeper into his practice and the exhibited works:

Want to see more? BAK’s YouTube channel is a rich archive of previous projects, assemblies and exhibitions. Subscribe to our channel to get notifications as soon as we add more content! 

Photographs of the opening
For a visual impression of the opening and the exhibition, check out the photo album on our Facebook page.


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On Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals
From 28 February–17 May 2020, 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
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

8-26 June 2020

Course: Art as Politics [Open Call closed]

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: Open Call now closed].

13 March, 19.30–14 March, 22.00 2020

European Forum for Advanced Practices (EFAP) at BAK [NOT TAKING PLACE]

Including two public programs with Paul Goodwin, Ima-Abasi Okon, Abbas Zahedi, Jihan El-Tahri, Irit Rogoff, Florian Schneider, and Maria Hlavajova

[WILL NOT TAKE PLACE | Update 12/3: unfortunately these EFAP presentations will not take place.]

Come to BAK on Friday 13 and Saturday 14 March for two public programs as part of the European Forum for Advanced Practices (EFAP), a self-organized, international gathering of practitioners, scholars, and organizers from transdisciplinary realms of art and education. With, on the Friday, a conversation between Paul Goodwin, Ima-Abasi Okon, and Abbas Zahedi; and on the Saturday a screening and a lecture by Jihan El-Tahri. With introductions by Irit Rogoff, Florian Schneider, and Maria Hlavajova.

Gathering

7 March 2020, 20.00-23.00

BAK, basis voor Yallah Sabaya

Special International Women's Day edition

On Saturday 7 March 2020 BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht hosts a special International Women’s Day edition of Yallah Sabaya! Yallah Sabaya (“Come ladies! Enjoy yourselves!” in Arabic) is a special evening where dance and music connect women from all over the world. All women, no matter where they are from, are welcome on […]

Public Studies

19 March, 15.00–21 March, 18.00 2020

Public Studies: Practice as Theory [CANCELLED]

A three day workshop with artist Tony Cokes, in the framework of exhibition Tony Cokes: To Live as Equals

[UPDATE 13 March: We are sad to announce that, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, this event is now cancelled for 19-21 March 2020. We are looking into postponing it and will update our website and social media as soon as we know more]. As a part of the exhibition Tony Cokes: To Live as […]