V.L. Cox exhibition at the LCVA

A stunning and thought-provoking collection of artwork that tackles some of the most divisive issues in the country—civil rights, equality and injustice—will debut at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 3.

Break Glass: A Conversation To End Hate by Arkansas-based artist VL Cox will run at the LCVA until Feb. 18, 2018, accompanied by four months of programming centered on the themes of the exhibition. Events include movie screenings, community forums, workshops and a special lecture with the chief curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

There used to be a time when people could agree to disagree with civility, yet still have things in common. We need to find that place again.

VL Cox, artist

An opening reception for the exhibition will take place at the LCVA from 5-8:00 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3. The community is invited to attend and meet the artist.

In her art, which reappropriates found objects in often jarring ways, Cox sparks conversations about civil rights, equality, hate and injustice in America. Viewers must often reconcile their own experiences with Cox’s highly personal art born out of her own life in Arkansas.

“Personal conversations, with respect to one another, need to be had before we can move forward together,” Cox said. “There used to be a time when people could agree to disagree with civility, yet still have things in common. We need to find that place again.”

“If we are ever to come close to ending hate and its attributes of bigotry, racism and injustice, we must confront its ugly legacy as well as be able to recognize all of the comfortable places in which hate hides,” said Rachel Ivers, LCVA executive director.

Two highlights of the four months of programming around Cox’s exhibition will be a Jan. 31, 2018, lecture and discussion with Dr. Jacquelyn Serwer, and a Feb. 23, 2018 lecture given by Daryl Davis.

Serwer is the chief curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and one of the world’s leading authorities on African American art, history and culture. She was previously the chief curator for the celebrated Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., as well as the Curator of the National Museum of American Art. She started her career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The lecture will take place in Blackwell Ballroom at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 31.

Davis is an African American musician who has spent time meeting and befriending members of the Ku Klux Klan and is the subject of the recent PBS documentary Accidental Courtesy. His lecture will be at 6:30 p.m. in Wygal Auditorium on Feb. 23.

Other scheduled events:

  • Friday, Nov. 10: Screening and panel discussion of the acclaimed 2016 film Get Out. The panel discussion, which begins at 6 p.m., features Dr. Chris McGee, associate professor of children’s and young adult literature; Jonathan Page, director of citizen leadership and social justice education; and Dr. Quentin Alexander, assistant professor of counselor education. The screening will follow.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 29: Gallery talk with Jonathan Page, director of citizen leadership and social justice education, at 6:30 p.m. in the LCVA.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 13: Screening and discussion of the PBS documentary Slavery by Another Name at 6:30 p.m. at R.R. Moton Museum.

The LCVA is also partnering with Robert Russa Moton Museum, Virginia Holocaust Museum and the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities to offer a one-day professional development workshop for teachers that will address topics explored in Break Glass, including race, identity and discrimination.

VL Cox is a celebrated Southern artist who has worked with the Dallas Opera, Dallas Ballet, Los Colinas Film Studios and the National Civil Rights Museum. Her work is on permanent display at the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia; the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas; and in numerous private collections.

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