After working collaboratively for three years on The Creative Life series (on hiatus this season), the University Art Museum, NYS Writers Institute and UAlbany Performing Arts Center have created a new virtual series for 2020-21. Artist to Artist: Addressing This Moment brings together artists whose work has been previously presented at UAlbany for conversations about the arts in this time of the coronavirus pandemic, a reckoning on systemic racism, civil unrest and other social justice issues. Segments will air across the semesters and each will feature an informal conversation between three artists, combining powerful voices and compelling artistic practices that speak to our current challenges.
History has shown that artists can illuminate and be influential in challenging times. The goal of these artist-to-artist conversations is to shine a guiding light on difficult issues, share perspectives that could potentially lead to tangible solutions, and demonstrate the need for respect, empathy, inclusivity and basic humanity, all at the core of creative works of art and which are much needed in today’s society. The series addresses an urgent need for social and cultural dialogue in which we can all purposefully pause and connect.
Each pre-recorded segment is approximately one hour in length and will be available at no charge for use by faculty and accessible to the campus community and general public. The airing dates and guest artists in each segment are as follows:
Esmeralda Santiago, Shane Aslan Selzer & Raphael Xavier - link
Ronny Quevedo, Rodrigo Reyes & Pavel Zuštiak - link
Baseera Kahn, Nassim Soleimanpour & Damon Young - link
Ping Chong, Alex Bradley Cohen & Ibi Zoboi - link
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Jade Solomon Curtis & Ashley Teamer - link
is a Puerto Rican author and a founding mother of Nuyorican literature. She is the author of three memoirs, including the bestseller When I Was Puerto Rican, Almost a Woman, and The Turkish Lover, along with two novels, and a children’s book. Esmeralda visited the University at Albany in November 2018 as part of UAlbany’s Creative Life series.
Shane Aslan Selzer
is a practicing artist, editor of two books on art and curatorial pedagogies and founding editor of Social Action Archive Committee, a networked collective of individual researchers. In her powerful commissioned project Torch ’72/2020 on view at the University Art Museum now, she employs video, sound, collage and archival records to explore the trajectory and lineage of intersectional justice efforts on the UAlbany campus reactivating UAlbany’s 1972 Torch yearbook, edited by then student and renowned AIDS activist, Ron Simmons.
is a hip hop artist, break dancer, rapper, poet, musician and composer. A 2016 Guggenheim Fellow and an alumnus of Rennie Harris Puremovement, Raphael is Philadelphia-based and is a professor at Princeton University. Raphael and his crew visited UAlbany in the Fall of 2017 to perform “Point of Interest” and to offer workshops to both high school and college students over a three-day period.
Born in Ecuador, Ronny Quevedo’s work explores the layered histories of his heritage, his parents’ lives, and the collective experience of sports in his large-scale installation practice as well as his wall-based drawing and collage works. Ronny has exhibited nationally and internationally including at the University Art Museum Fall 2019 exhibition, ACE: art on sports, promise, and selfhood, and he will be the subject of a solo-exhibition at the museum in 2022.
is an award-winning, Mexican-American filmmaker. He makes films deeply grounded in his identity as an immigrant artist, using striking imagery to portray the contradictory nature of our shared world, while revealing the potential for transformative change. Rodrigo visited UAlbany in February 2018 to discuss his film Lupe Under the Sun as part of the Writers Institute’s Classic Film Series.
is a New York City based director, choreographer and performer who was born in communist Czechoslovakia and trained in acting, film, music and dance in Amsterdam. Pavel’s work is multidisciplinary, rich in evocative imagery and piercing emotional resonance. Pavel incorporated dozens of Capital Region performers into his work “Bastard” which was performed at UAlbany in February 2017 after a one-week residency.
is a Brooklyn-based artist and Muslim American who sublimates colonial histories through performance and sculpture in order to map geographies of the future. Khan exhibited at the University Art Museum in 2019 as part of the show ACE: art on sports, promise and selfhood.
is an Iranian playwright, theatre maker, performer and artistic director of a Berlin-based theatre company. Soleimanpour’s works have been translated into more than 30 languages and performed globally in over 50 countries. His play White Rabbit, Red Rabbit had a nine-month off-Broadway run. It graced the stage at UAlbany with five performances in October of 2013.
is a journalist, humorist and author of What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker, a memoir about surviving in a world where “existing while Black is an extreme sport.” He is also senior editor for The Root and co-founder and editor-in-chief of the online magazine, VerySmartBrothas. Young visited UAlbany in February 2020 as part of the Writers Institute’s Visiting Writers Series.
is an American contemporary theater director, choreographer, video and installation artist. Ping Chong + Company produces works addressing the important cultural and civic issues of our times with the greatest level of artistic innovation and social integrity. Chong’s company visited UAlbany in October 2018 and presented two performances of “Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity.”
Alex Bradley Cohen
is a Chicago-based artist employing the language of modernist painting to explore themes such as play, culture, identity, hip-hop and the intimate relationship between artist and sitter. Cohen exhibited at the University Art Museum in 2018 as part of the 3-person show Triple alongside work by Tschabalala Self and Louis Fratino.
is the author of the powerful YA novel-in-verse, Punching the Air, about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated and was co-written with prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five. She is also the author of Pride, My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich and the National Book Award finalist American Street. Ibi visited UAlbany in February 2019 to discuss her edited anthology Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America.
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
a 2013 University at Albany graduate, is the author of the New York Times bestselling short story collection, Friday Black, a satirical look at what it’s like to be young and black in America. Friday Black won the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and bestselling author Roxane Gay called it, “dark and captivating and essential... A call to arms and a condemnation.” Adjei-Brenyah visited UAlbany in October 2018 as part of the Writers Institute’s Visiting Writers Series.
Jade Solomon Curtis
is a dance artist and choreographer. Curtis’s work integrates classical and African-American vernacular movements with mixed-media and hip hop culture. She collaborates with innovative artists to create socially relevant, multi-discipline work. Her signature piece “Black Like Me” had three performances at UAlbany in October 2019 as part of the University-wide 400 Years of Inequality Observance.
is a New Orleans based multimedia artist. Her dynamic wall-works employ painting and collage materials such as WNBA trading cards and a variety of sports imagery to explore Black femininity, athleticism, and community. Teamer exhibited at the University Art Museum in 2019 as part of the show ACE: art on sports, promise and selfhood.