Artist Lecture: Tony Cokes
Before the event, watch Of Lies and Liars here.
Join the VCUarts Department of Kinetic Imaging and the ICA as we host Tony Cokes for a virtual artist lecture and conversation with Amber Esseiva, the ICA’s Associate Curator.
During this virtual discussion, we’ll speak through Cokes’s new series of works titled Of Lies and Liars.
Of Lies and Liars was originally conceived as a five-part series of video artworks, conceived as sketches for a future longer work, and commissioned for The Shed’s “Up Close” digital commissioning program. This version will combine the original parts into a concise piece for the ICA and VCUarts.
Cokes’s Of Lies and Liars includes alternate blue and red slides, displaying quotations from journalist David Frum’s Atlantic article “This Is Trump’s Fault.” Cokes set Frum’s words, which indict the current administration’s mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic, to music. The vignette-style videos are a return to Cokes’s ongoing exploration of evil in Western philosophical thought and its role in the structuring of society, this time in the context of the denials of scientific facts related to the pandemic.
Tony Cokes lives and works in Providence, Rhode Island, where he serves as a Professor in the Department of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. Recent solo exhibitions include CIRCA, London (2021); Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona (2020); ARGOS center for audiovisual arts, Brussels (2020); Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2020); BAK – basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, Netherlands (2020); Luma Westbau, Zürich (2019); Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, London (2019); The Shed, New York (2019); Greene Naftali, New York (2018); Kunsthal Bergen, Bergen, Norway (2018); the 10th Berlin Biennale, Berlin (2018); and REDCAT, Los Angeles (2012).
His work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Centre Pompidou, Paris; FRAC Lorraine, Metz; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Kunsthallen, Copenhagen; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Wexner Center for the Visual Arts, Columbus; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others.
Amber Esseiva is the Associate Curator at the Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University (ICA VCU). A VCUarts alumna, Esseiva has been essential to the ICA’s programming since joining the institution. Esseiva curated select commissions from the ICA’s inaugural exhibition, Declaration (2018), and curated shows featuring work by Corin Hewitt, Jonathas de Andrade, Julianne Swartz, and others. Most recently, she curated a solo exhibition with LA-based artist Kandis Williams, A Field, which is currently on view at the ICA.
Previously, she curated the ICA’s Great Force (October 5, 2019 – January 5, 2020), an exhibition featuring new commissions and recent work by an intergenerational group of 24 artists, exploring how art can be used to envision new forms of race and representation freed from the bounds of historic racial constructs. Esseiva has also curated Provocations: Guadalupe Maravilla (November 9, 2019 – July 1, 2020), the second iteration of the ICA’s annual commission series, which debuts new work by the El Salvador-born multidisciplinary artist and a solo exhibition by Martine Syms (February 16, 2019 – May 12, 2019).
Esseiva received her M.A. in 2015 from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard). At CCS Bard, she curated and co-curated numerous exhibitions featuring works by artists such as David Altmejd, Louisa Chase, Roe Ethridge, Gabriel Orozco, Jason Rhoades, Mika Rottenberg, Kenny Scharf, and Avery K. Singer. She also co-founded the interdisciplinary curatorial journal aCCeSsions and was appointed the curator of the 2014 M.F.A. graduate thesis exhibition at Bard MFA Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts. In addition to thesis exhibitions, she has worked closely with M.F.A and B.F.A students through professional development and mentorships. From 2015 to 2016, she worked extensively curating exhibitions by emerging and mid-career artists. Highlights include Anything on a Surface has Space, a discursive event at The Judd Foundation; and a solo exhibition by artist and VCU alum Alina Tenser at A.I.R. Gallery. After her stay at CCS Bard, Esseiva was appointed director of Retrospective gallery in Hudson, NY; and curator at SEPTEMBER, in Hudson, NY.