The Ringling Presents World Premiere of John Sims Performance of 2020: (Di)Visions of America
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Sarasota, Florida- The John and Mable Ringling is pleased to welcome Sarasota based artist and a 2020-2021 Ringling Artist in Residence John Sims to the stage of the Historic Asolo Theater for the premiere presentation of 2020: (Di)Visions of America. The work marks the culmination of artist John Sims’ 20-year long multimedia project Recoloration Proclamation, which features a series of Confederate flag installations, performances and exhibitions that explore the complexity of identity, cultural appropriation and visual terrorism in the context of Confederate iconography and African American culture. In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. day, Sims will offer a live-streamed presentation on Jan. 16, with recorded broadcast performances available for viewing Jan. 17 and 18th, 2021. The artist’s fall residency at the museum was dedicated to planning and producing the new work.
Responding to Covid 19, American policing and the pushback on Confederate iconography and systemic white supremacy, artist and writer John Sims has created a multimedia performance that examines these themes in the both context of Black Lives Matter and global citizenship. The performance reflects the year 2020’s historic collage of collective fear, unrest and protest: the conditions for both exposing deep divisions and the making of a new vision that values justice, social respect and the power of transformative compassion. Based on his recent op-eds and the use of an evolving self-portrait, the show will respond to the main events of 2020 with his KoronaKilla video game, Dear Police sound piece, and a Gamble Plantation as a Slave Memorial Animation. To engage the community directly, various community leaders and their personal responses will be incorporated into the presentation.
After the performances, the Historic Asolo Theater will be open to visitors for AfroDixia: The Ringling Museum Session, a flag viewing and listening experience available Jan. 18-25, 2021. This audio-visual-poetic pop-up exhibition will present a giant version of the artist's signature Afro Confederate flag, in conversation with the audio screening of The AfroDixieRemixes. This 13-year music project confronts the song Dixie–the anthem of the Confederacy--by subversively remixing, remapping and cross-appropriating with a collection of 14 tracks of Dixie in the many genres of Black music: Spiritual, Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Funk Calypso, Samba, Soul, rhythm and blues, House, hip-hop, featuring local musicians from Sarasota, Florida and surrounding areas.
Immediately following these showings, Sims’ video Recoloration Proclamation, 2020 will be on view at The Ringling’s Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art as part of For Real This Time, an exhibit featuring film and video-based work by seven artists from the U.S. and Canada, whose work explores issues of race, history, representation, and social justice on view Jan. 29 – Feb. 18, 2021.
Tickets to the performance are $15 per household, $13.50 for museum members. Tickets can be purchased online at ringling.org/events/2020-divisions-america-john-sims or at the box office in person or by phone at 941-360-7399. All performances will be accessed online via ticket confirmation email.
About The Ringling
The Ringling is a preeminent center for the arts, history and learning that is dedicated to bringing the past and contemporary culture to life through extraordinary visitor experiences. From its inception, The Ringling has joined the diverse visual traditions and theatrical spectacle of yesterday with the genre-defying global practitioners of today.
A place of exploration, discovery and respite, The Ringling’s campus in Sarasota, Florida – which includes the Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, an historic mansion, an 18th-century theater and bayfront gardens – is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As the State Art Museum of Florida and part of Florida State University, The Ringling fulfills an important educational mission. The Ringling offers formal and informal programs of study serving as a major resource for students, scholars, and lifelong learners of every age within the region, across the country and around the world.
About John Sims
John Sims, a Detroit native, is a conceptual artist, writer and social justice activist, who creates art and curatorial projects spanning the areas of installation, performance, text, music, film and large-scale activism, informed by mathematics, design, the politics of white supremacy, sacred symbols and anniversaries, and poetic/political text. For 20 years, he has been working on the forefront of contemporary mathematical art and leading the national pushback on Confederate iconography. As the former coordinator of mathematics at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, he designed a visual mathematics curriculum for artists and visual thinkers. Curator, performer, writer, educator, John brings a full suite of disciplinary works and approaches to each subject he embraces.
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