- Basic Books
Tanner Humanities Lecture: A Conversation With Martha S. Jones
February is Black History Month, but even those of us who grew up learning a few names of notable historical African-Americans probably can't come up with a female name beyond Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman. The history of Black women in America has been a history of struggle against two cultural obstacles to equality—race and sex. And even as the 2020 election elevated the significance of Black women as a game-changing voting bloc, and made Stacey Abrams a figure of national importance, that reality wasn't possible without the work of many mostly-forgotten pioneers.
In her 2020 book Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote and Insisted on Equality for All, historian and Johns Hopkins University professor Martha S. Jones explores the part of the women's suffrage movement that often gets lost in the mostly-white narrative of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. For Black women, securing voting rights required a movement of their own, and Vanguard follows a history from the birth of the American republic through the 1965 Voting Rights Act and beyond, giving voice to figures like Maria Stewart, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and Fannie Lou Hamer as they called the country to the truest possible sense of equality.
Dr. Jones participates in a virtual conversation sponsored by the University of Utah's Tanner Humanities Center on Thursday, Feb. 18 at noon. Register at thc.utah.edu to be part of this unique opportunity to explore an under-represented faced of American history. (Scott Renshaw)
Utah Museum of Contemporary Art reopening exhibitions
You'd be forgiven if you have a hard time keeping track of what you could and couldn't experience at any given moment over the past year. Many businesses and other institutions closed in spring 2020, only to reopen for a while, only to close yet again. While all those decisions were made with the utmost concern for public health, it's still been a challenge to stay up-to-speed on status.
On Feb. 10, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (20 S. West Temple) reopened for the first time since early December, during which time two new exhibitions have been installed. The Codec Gallery presents Alison Schulnik's Mound (pictured), a stop-motion animation video in which the artists's crudely-rendered figures sway and dance to the tune of Scott Walker's 1969 song "It's Raining Today." The series of vignettes ranges from comedy to tragedy, combining the melancholy images with the tactile reality of the way the figures have been physically manipulated.
In the Exit Gallery, Kathryn Knudsen's Plume shifts the traditional expectations of nature art by breaking the plane of the canvas with multimedia works employing found and recycled materials including felt, fabric and thread to mimic natural objects like feathers and flower petals. The result evokes the evolution of the natural world, bursting forth from boundaries to take new shape.
As part of UMOCA's reopening protocols, reservations are required for visits, and other visitor requirements are also in place. Visit utahmoca.org for full information about reopening procedures, and to schedule your visit. (SR)
- Renee Huang
Utah Opera: Light on the Horizon
Utah Opera's originally-scheduled spring production of Flight—a local premiere of this 1988 contemporary opera—had to be postponed, like so many productions over the past year, due to the ongoing pandemic. But the company has taken this opening in the schedule to create a virtual work speaking to our current situation, with arias covering a range of emotions from despair to the possibility of hope.
Light on the Horizon presents a two-act showcase of works featuring the talents of Utah Opera performers Abigail Rethwisch (soprano), Dana Beth Miller (contralto), Daniel O'Hearn (tenor), Julia Gershkoff (soprano), Edith Grossman (mezzo-soprano) and Brandon A Bell (bass). The program features pieces representing canonical operatic works like Bizet's Carmen, Mozart's Così fan tutte and Strauss' Die Fledermaus, as well as modern musical theater classics like The Sound of Music's "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" and Into the Woods' "No One Is Alone." The physical production features a 35-piece orchestra, with the vocalists performing on a "sing island" constructed in the middle of Abravanel Hall's ground-floor seating.
"In the midst of challenge,it is the hope for a better future thatunites usas a community," said Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth. "We look forward to the promise of these better days withhighlights from the worlds of opera and musical theatre that weave together a story ofdarkness turning towards light."
Light on the Horizon will be available through March 14, at a cost of $10 for subscribers and $15 for non-subscribers. Visit usuo.org/on-demand for more details. (SR)
- Kyle Mcdonald
Art Exhibitions Roundup
Right now, we need art. We've needed it all the more over the past year, but aside from the entertainment streamed into our homes, we haven't had enough opportunities to experience it. As we see some light at the end of our long COVID tunnel, several local galleries offer much needed insight, amusement and perspective on our world.
Ogden Contemporary Arts (455 25th St., Ogden, ogdencontemporaryarts.org) presents Lauren Lee McCarthy's exhibition The Changing Room (pictured), in which the artist investigates the pervasive presence of artificial intelligence in our lives, and how comfortable we feel with it. The interactive exhibition, running now through May 30, invites visitors to take control of the digital installation and affect how others might feel about the complicated subject of invasive technology. Visit the OCA website to make a reservation, and for information about COVID protocols.
At Urban Arts Gallery (116 S. Rio Grande St., urbanartsgallery.org), local artist explore the challenge of working for social justice and change in the group exhibition MO(VE)MENT, running through Feb. 28. Works by more than 30 participating artists are showcased, including Andrea Hardeman, Chris Haggqvist, Grace Davis, Grant Fuhst, Heather Olsen, Kirk DeGuzman, Lindsay Huss, Nathan Gentry and Scott Tuckfield,
The Downstairs Gallery at Holladay City Hall (4580 S. 2300 East) presents a group exhibition Eye to I Feb. 22-27. Enjoy this diverse group of self-portraits, in a range of media from painting to sculpture, by signing up for a reservation slot at holladayarts.org.