Lessons of the Hour is a ten-screen film installation and exhibition of related photography by Isaac Julien that offers an immersive, poetic meditation on the life and times of Frederick Douglass. The freed slave, abolitionist, and statesman (who was also the most photographed man of the nineteenth-century), helped shape the national conversation around race and representation for generations. Incorporating excerpts from Douglass’ most arresting speeches and dramatizations of his private and public milieus, the work is a contemplative journey into Douglass’ zeitgeist that unfolds through multiple perspectives presented simultaneously on different screens. Douglass’ oratory and writings on topics ranging from slavery to photography suggest ways in which his lifelong advocacy of freedom and equality may be reexamined through a contemporary lens.
Lessons of the Hour is presented with a selection of works from the McEvoy Family Collection, a curated video program in the McEvoy Arts Screening Room, and a calendar of public programs to be announced.
Isaac Julien’s America, a solo exhibition of new and historic photographic works from the artist’s Baltimore, Lessons of the Hour, and True North series, is on view March 13 – April 25, 2020 at Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Isaac Julien, CBE RA (b. 1960) is an artist, filmmaker, and educator whose multi-screen film installations and photographs incorporate different artistic disciplines to create a poetic and unique visual language. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Denmark (2018); The Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (2017); MAC Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2016); MUAC (Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo), Mexico City (2016); the De Pont Museum, Netherlands (2015); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013); the Art Institute of Chicago (2013); Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo (2012); Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2009); Pompidou Centre Paris (2005); and MoCA Miami (2005). He has exhibited at biennials including the 56th International Exhibition of Contemporary Art – La Biennale de Venezia (2015), Johannesburg Biennale (2012), Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2011), and Shanghai Biennale (2010). Julien is the recipient of The Royal Academy of Arts Charles Wollaston Award 2017 and was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the Arts in the Queen’s Birthday 2017 Honors List. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of the Arts at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he is developing the Isaac Julien Lab. He lives and works in London.