C O N V E N I N G
BLACK ARTISTS RETREAT (BAR) and POST-BAR
The Lunder Institute for American Art was pleased to support Distinguished Visiting Artist and Director of Artist Initiatives Theaster Gates’s renowned Black Artists Retreat (BAR) from October 11 to 13, 2019, at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. Presented in collaboration with the Rebuild Foundation and Park Avenue Armory, Black Artists Retreat 2019: Sonic Imagination was made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation.
BAR convened hundreds of artists for a weekend of communion, celebration, and multidisciplinary exploration on the theme of Sonic Imagination. This year’s Retreat, held at the historic Park Avenue Armory where Gates is an Artist-in-Residence, marked the first time the Retreat has been held outside Gates’s hometown of Chicago since its founding in 2013. Through presentations, informal conversations, sidebars, tributes, screenings, and meditations, the retreat offered space for artists, performers, writers, scholars, curators, musicians, singers, and other creative thinkers to connect, gather, listen, share, and create together.
Following BAR in New York, Gates spent ten days on the Maine coast, where he convened a small cohort of artists and scholars to continue the conversations that emanated from the Sonic Imagination theme. A second post-BAR convening took place January 8 to 12, 2020, at the American Academy in Rome, where Gates was joined by the Black Monks and other collaborators to continue his research through intensive recording sessions, conversations, performances and sonic explorations with some of AAR fellows.
These post-BAR retreats were supported by a generous grant from the Ford Foundation.
“This capacity to deeply consider a sonic measure that heals, disrupts, enables and unify is a powerful wielding. Our hope is to offer conversations and performances infused with sonic complexity and musical ambition that provoke and shine a light on the tremendous dexterity of contemporary art and musical practices.”