In this lecture, art historian Huey Copeland charts Sun Ra’s evolving importance as icon, inspiration, and prophet for a range of contemporary visual practitioners, including Edgar Arceneaux, Rashid Johnson, Glenn Ligon, Mai-Thu Perret, and Cauleen Smith. Ultimately, Copeland argues, Ra’s thinking points us toward new criteria for the evaluation of recent art that take seriously both the recursiveness and simultaneity of space-time as it unfolds within, beyond, and across the black world. Copeland is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in The Graduate School and Associate Professor of Art History at Northwestern University.
His teaching, writing, and research focus on modern and contemporary art with an emphasis on articulations of blackness in the Western visual field. A Contributing Editor of Artforum, Copeland is the author of Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America (University of Chicago Press, 2013).
Mai-Thu Perret, Banner for Sun Ra, 2006. Appliqué on cotton fabric; 70.9 x 59 inches