The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now: ICA | Philadelphia, PA
The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now links the vibrant legacy of the 1960s African American avant-garde to current art and culture. It is occasioned in part by the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), a still-flourishing organization of Chicago musicians whose interdiscliplinary explorations expanded the boundaries of jazz. Alongside visual arts collectives such as the African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCOBRA), the AACM was part of a deep engagement with black cultural nationalism both in Chicago and around the world during and after the civil rights era. Combining historical materials with contemporary responses, The Freedom Principle illuminates the continued relevance of that engagement today.
The exhibition, which takes its title from a 1984 book by Chicago jazz critic John Litweiler, showcases the multifaceted world of the black avant-garde in Chicago during the 1960s alongside a selection of contemporary artists’ interpretations of this heritage. It includes works of music and art from, among others, AACM-founder, pianist, and painter Muhal Richard Abrams; Art Ensemble of Chicago bandleader Roscoe Mitchell; and AfriCOBRA cofounders Jeff Donaldson, Jae and Wadsworth Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogu, and Gerald Williams. Archival materials—brochures, banners, photographs, posters, sheet music, record covers—provide a rich context for the exhibition. Recent works by artists such as Terry Adkins, Nick Cave, Renée Green, Rashid Johnson, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Cauleen Smith, and Stan Douglas present an ongoing intergenerational conversation about experimentation, improvisation, collective action, and the search for freedom.
Wadsworth JarrellRevolutionary, 1972Screenprint printed in color on white wove paper33 x 26 in
83 x 66 cmEdition of 300 + 18 APs + 17 Color Trial Proofs
Jae JarrellBrothers Surrounding Sis, 1970Acrylic paint on suedeDimensions variable
Jae JarrellGents Great Coat, 1972Suede60 x 21 x 12 in
152.4 x 53.3 x 30.5 cm
Gerald Williams, Nation Time, 1969. Acrylic on canvas; 48 × 56 in. (121.9 × 142.2 cm).