Center for Art,
Research and Alliances
March 18 – June 25, 2023

and we learn to keep the soil wet

Exhibition Cover

Antonio Henrique Amaral, Ane Graff, Timothy Yanick Hunter, Kite, Ana María Millán, Ebony G. Patterson, Khari Johnson-Ricks, Suellen Rocca, Zheng Bo

and we learn to keep the soil wet gathers the practices of nine artists engaged with an ethics of intimacy and reciprocity. These artists experiment with visual and sonic vocabularies that consider nature, the body, and technology not as divided territories, but as products of solidarities and conciliations. The works in this show reflect on the importance of relational thinking and sensing beyond the human, recuperating and nurturing links between people and other forms of life. Developing these expansive connections is a process of collective world-making rooted in care.

The soil and the corporeal, for instance, manifest these forms of interdependence. They carry histories of violence while nourishing cycles of growth and decay that act as catalysts for transforming social and racialized relationships. From varying perspectives, Antonio Henrique Amaral, Ane Graff, Timothy Yanick Hunter, Kite, Ana María Millán, Ebony G. Patterson, Khari Johnson Ricks, Suellen Rocca, and Zheng Bo defy their given or imposed territories through works that have grown out of emotional architectures, like the space of dreams, the resilience of forests, the memories of the flesh, and the connections between the gut and the brain.

and we learn to keep the soil wet
moves towards alternative structures of kinship. It invites the imagination of a world that is overflowing with Queer joy, where pleasure can act as a conduit for liberation from racial capitalism. Dreaming such a world requires the understanding that meaning-making and somatic and artificial knowledges are something all beings practice within both built and natural environments. We are invited, thus, to broaden the scope of our care, creating nodes of sympathy between everyday performativities and the enormity of ecosystems. Through an insistence on porosity, these works embody inter-connection outside of structures of oppression; where earth and the gut are mutually dependent, where technology melds with the natural world, and where reciprocity mobilizes solidarity. Such expanded forms of community are part of the continuous transformation of the earth's life systems.

Through this exhibition and CARA’s programming we continue to examine our Guiding Question: How can we dream not only about ourselves? This show is part of our ongoing reflections on how universalized definitions of the body have gained cultural dominance and been maintained through processes of oppressions and erasures. Instead we hope to consider the body and its environments as porous organisms, in ongoing processes of co-creation and influence. Through this we can begin to move towards a world that honors the diversity of life, understanding that preserving and caring for the earth also means caring for all of the beings that inhabit it. We continue to ask ourselves, how can we embody our interdependence?

and we learn to keep the soil wet is curated by Manuela Moscoso, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Center for Art, Research and Alliances (CARA), produced by Agustin Schang, and assisted by Marian Chudnovsky, Program and Administrative Assistant.

Support for Ane Graff's work THE LOSS OF MEMORY WITH OTHER LOSSES, 2023 from Office for Contemporary Art Norway.

Images by Greg Carideo

About the Artists

Antonio Henrique Amaral brought a singular voice to Brazilian and Latin American art of the second half of the 20th century. Born in 1935, he was part of the generation that came into its own under the authoritarian rule of the military dictatorship installed in Brazil in 1964, having produced some of the most incisive allegories from that period. His visceral work dealt with political violence, existential discontent and erotic desire with the same intensity. Amaral is a key figure in the history of Latin American art, but also an influential artist for the young generations that defy normativities and authoritarianism.

His work has been shown in the 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, and 18th Bienials de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (1959, 1961, 1963, 1967, and 1985); 1st Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil (1997); Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo, Brazil (2020); Museo del Barrio, New York, USA (2000); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA (1995); among many others. His work has been acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA; Museum of the Americas, Washington, USA; and more.

Ane Graff lives and works in Oslo, Norway, where she completed her PhD in artistic research at the Oslo Academy of Fine Art in 2022. Graff’s artistic practice is informed by feminist new materialisms’ ongoing re-thinking of our material reality, in which a relational and process-oriented approach to matter—including the matter of living bodies—plays an integral part. Within this framework, Graff focuses on human and non-human relationships; viewing human beings as part of an expansive, material network, stretching inside and outside of our bodies.

Recent exhibitions include "The Stomach and the Port" - The Liverpool Biennial 2021, UK, the Rhizome/ New Museum/ Stavanger Kunsthall collaboration 7x7 (2020), "Weather Report –Forecasting Future", shown at the Nordic Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale and at KIASMA, Helsinki, “Soon Enough: Art in Action”, Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (2018): “Myths of the Marble”, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Oslo, and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2017); the 11th Gwangju Biennale “The Eighth Climate (What Does Art Do?)”, Gwangju (2016); and ”Surround Audience -The New Museum Triennial 2015", NY.

Timothy Yanick Hunter is a multidisciplinary artist and curator. Hunter’s practice employs strategies of bricolage, archival exploration, reference, citation, and exploring remix as practice. His approach alternates between exploratory and didactic, with a focus on the political, cultural and social richness of the Black diaspora. Hunter’s work often delves into speculative narratives and the intersections of physical space, digital space and the intangible. His practice synthesizes music, sound, video and image to communicate ideas and stories.

He was included in the 2022 Toronto Biennial of Art, and longlisted for the 2022 Sobey Art Award. He has exhibited nationally and internationally at Cooper Cole, Toronto (2022), Gallery 44, Toronto (2021); A Space Gallery, Toronto (2020); Art Gallery of Guelph, Guelph (2019) and PADA Studios, Barreiro (2019); among others. Hunter lives and works in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Kite aka Suzanne Kite is an award winning Oglála Lakȟóta performance artist, visual artist, composer and academic raised in Southern California, known for her sound and video performance with her Machine Learning hair-braid interface. Kite holds a BFA from CalArts in music composition, an MFA from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School, and has received a PHD from Concordia University. Kite’s groundbreaking scholarship and practice explore contemporary Lakȟóta ontology through research-creation, computational media, and performance. Kite often works in collaboration, especially with family and community members. Her art practice includes developing Machine Working with machine learning techniques since 2017 and developing body interfaces for performance since 2013, Kite is the first American Indian artist to utilize Machine Learning in art practice.

Kite’s artwork and performance has been included in numerous exhibitions, recently Hammer Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Plug In Contemporary, PS122 and the Vera List Center, Anthology Film Archives, Walter Phillips Gallery, Chronus Art Center, Toronto Biennial, and Experimenta Triennial. Kite was a 2019 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Scholar, a 2020 Tulsa Artist Fellow, a 2020 Sundance New Frontiers Story Lab Fellow, a 2020 “100 Women in AI Ethics”, a 2021 Common Fields Fellow, and the 2022 Creative Time Open Call artist for the Black and Indigenous Dreaming Workshops with Alisha B. Wormsley.

Ana María Millán’s work addresses the politics of the animation and technic in relation to digital cultures and subcultures, gender and propaganda. She has developed techniques based on role playing, reenactment and ideas about animation as methodology to make a series of plays that end in the form of narrative films. It speaks from amateur cultures, pop political culture, sound territories, nature and technology, incorporating the possibilities and mistakes of the rehearsals, and narrative forms considered dysfunctional.

Her work has been shown in the 13th Gwangju Biennale. Minds Rising Spirits Tuning (2021); Art Encounters Biennial, Timișoara, Romania (2019); Kunstinstituut Melly, Rotterdam; El ruido de las cosas al caer , FRAC Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur, Marseille (2017); Immortality for all, Savvy Contemporary , Berlin (2016); Frío en Colombia, Luis Caballero prize, Archivo General de la Nación, Bogotá 2015; Ir para Volver, 12 Bienal de Cuenca, Cuenca (2014); ¿Tierra de Nadie?, Centro Cultural Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz 2011; AUTO-KINO! presented by Phil Collins, Temporäre Kunsthalle, Berlin 2009.

Ebony G. Patterson lives and works between Kingston, Jamaica and Chicago, IL. Her multilayered practice in painting, sculpture, installation, performance, and video uses beauty as a tool to address global social and political injustices. Her immersive gardens grow out of a complex entanglement of race, gender, class, and violence. Patterson seduces the viewer into acknowledging a darker truth lurking ominously beneath the surface. In 2021, Patterson was included in both the Liverpool and Athens Biennials. Patterson was appointed as the first Susan Brennan Co-Artistic Director of Prospect.6, which will take place in Fall 2024, and is a recipient of the 2023 David C. Driskell Prize.

Patterson will have solo presentations at the New York Botanical Garden, New York, NY (2023) and Arnolfini, Bristol, UK (2024). Her work is in the public collections of The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, IN; the High Museum, GA; 21c Museum and Foundation, Louisville, KY; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; Nasher Museum, Duke University, Durham, NC; National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica; Pérez Art Museum Miami, FL; Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; among others.

Khari Johnson-Ricks is an artist whose practice extends across media, including works on paper, murals, independent publishing and black vernacular dance.

His work has been included in group shows at Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Jefrey Deitch, Los Angeles; Deli Gallery New York; and SCADMOA, Savannah; among others. He has created public murals for the city of Newark as part of Mayor Ras Baraka’s “Model Neighborhood Initiative” and “Gateways to Newark” Projects. His zines are featured in the library collections of the MET Library, the Whitney Library, and The MOMA Library. He lives and works in Brooklyn.

Suellen Rocca was one of the original members of the Hairy Who, a group of six visionary Chicago artists who exhibited together between 1966 and 1969. Early in her career she developed a unique vocabulary of symbols — wedding rings, purses, and palm trees — inspired by advertising imagery. In her paintings and drawings she often arranged these images in repetitive patterns, creating compositions that have been likened to modern hieroglyphs. When asked about the sources of the imagery in her early paintings, Rocca cited “the cultural icons of beauty and romance expressed by the media that promised happiness to young women.” Since 1980 her work increasingly combined this iconography with allusions to the body, animals, and plant life. Often inspired by her dreams, these subjects would occupy her until the end of her life.

The Hairy Who showed together six times during the 1960s, in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Rocca had her first one-person exhibition in New York at Matthew Marks Gallery in 2016, followed by shows at the gallery in 2018 and 2021. In 2020, the Vienna Secession mounted her first one-person exhibition in Europe. Rocca’s work was featured in the Art Institute of Chicago’s 2019 Hairy Who retrospective and “Famous Artists from Chicago: 1965–1975” at the Fondazione Prada in Milan in 2017.

Zheng Bo cultivates kinship with plants through drawing, dance and film. These relations are aesthetic, erotic, and political. For him, art does not arise from human creativity, but more-than-human vibrancy. His ecological art practice contributes to an emergent planetary indigeneity. Guided by Daoist wisdom, he grows weedy gardens, living slogans, ecoqueer films, and ecosocialist workshops. These diverse projects, alive and entangled, constitute a garden where he collaborates with both human and nonhuman thinkers and activists.

In 2022 he presented a new forest dance film titled Le Sacre du printemps at the 59th Venice Biennale. In 2021 he staged “Wanwu Council” at Gropius Bau, Berlin and “Life is hard. Why do we make it so easy?” at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, Hong Kong. He participated in Sydney Biennale (2022), Liverpool Biennial (2021), Yokohama Triennale (2020), Manifesta (2018), Taipei Biennial (2018), and Shanghai Biennial (2016). His works are in the collections of Power Station of Art in Shanghai, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Singapore Art Museum, and Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Zheng Bo studied with Douglas Crimp and received his PhD from the Graduate Program in Visual & Cultural Studies, University of Rochester. He taught at China Academy of Art from 2010 to 2013, and currently teaches at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong, where he leads the Wanwu Practice Group.