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An Infinite and Omnivorous Sky
University Galleries of Illinois State University
Above: Kambui Olujimi, T-Minus Ø, 2017. Installation of 13 mounted flags. Digital print on cotton with aluminum pole, artist-made finial, and zinc pole mount. Flags: 24 x 36 inches each; and poles: 73 x 1/2 x 1/2 inches each. Courtesy of the artist.
Above: Kambui Olujimi, T-Minus Ø, 2017. Installation of 13 mounted flags. Digital print on cotton with aluminum pole, artist-made finial, and zinc pole mount. Flags: 24 x 36 inches each; and poles: 73 x 1/2 x 1/2 inches each. Courtesy of the artist.
January 10–February 19, 2020

University Galleries of Illinois State University
Suite 103
11 Uptown Circle
Normal, Illinois 61761
United States

galleries.illinoisstate.edu
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Curatorial tour with Kendra Paitz: January 28, 6–7pm
Screening of Kambui Olujimi's Skywriters: February 1, 2:30–3:30pm
Illinois State University Planetarium
Artist lecture: Kambui Olujimi: February 1, 4–5pm
Exhibition reception: February 1, 5–7pm
Screening of Kambui Olujimi's Skywriters: February 1, 7:30–8:30pm
Illinois State University Planetarium
Tour and workshop with Children's Discovery Museum: February 8, 1–4pm
Children's Discovery Museum
Stroller tour: February 10, 9–9:30am
All ages art-making workshop: February 15, 12–1pm, no registration required. Minors must be accompanied by an adult.

University Galleries of Illinois State University is pleased to present An Infinite and Omnivorous Sky from January 10 through February 19, 2020. All events are free and open to the public.

Participating artists: Amy Balkin, Jen Bervin, James Bridle, william cordova, Rohini Devasher, Ala Ebtekar, Spencer Finch, Dianna Frid, Carrie Gundersdorf, Basim Magdy, Brittany Nelson, Demetrius Oliver, Kambui Olujimi, Lisa Oppenheim, Trevor Paglen, Katie Paterson, Dario Robleto, Cauleen Smith, and Kerry Tribe.

An Infinite and Omnivorous Sky, a group exhibition about the mysteries and militarization of outer space, features twenty-nine works by artists that critically engage in poetic, scientific, and geopolitical views of the cosmos. Although the sea of celestial bodies has incited philosophizing and dreaming throughout time, the sky has also become militarized. It serves as a site of international power struggles and an omniscient point of view for surveillance via countless satellites. Our knowledge is constantly evolving with the generation of new data via Mars and moon rovers, Hubble telescope images, Voyager and New Horizons probes, and the Large Hadron Collider, among others. As the human race faces unprecedented crises due to climate change and related global unrest, the sky may hold the key to our collective survival.

The works in the exhibition prompt dialogue about the need for rigorous scientific exploration, unrestrained artistic practice, and informed political action. For example, Amy Balkin’s The Atmosphere, A Guide is a poster-essay that, in the artist’s words, “depicts various human influences on the sky and their accumulated traces, whether chemical, narrative, spatial, or political.” The thirteen cotton flags in Kambui Olujimi’s installation T-Minus Ø feature photographic collages of failed rocket launches and shuttle attempts, while Kerry Tribe’s video The Last Soviet addresses cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev’s 311 days spent on the Mir space station during the fall of the Soviet Union. Cauleen Smith’s video Space is the Place (A March for Sun Ra) follows a rainy Chicago performance of Afrofuturist composer and musician Sun Ra’s “Space is the Place” by a high school marching band, and Brittany Nelson’s large-scale Bromoil photograph Tracks 1 centers around an image the Opportunity Rover took of its own tracks in the Martian landscape. The series of nine clocks comprising Katie Paterson’s Timepieces (Solar System) tells the time on Earth’s moon and the eight planets in our solar system, while the green embroidered text spelling “THERE IS NO RETURN” in Dianna Frid’s NYT, AUG. 22, 2015, JACOB BEKENSTEIN is excerpted from the physicist and black hole theorist’s obituary in the New York Times.

An Infinite and Omnivorous Sky is curated by University Galleries’ Director and Chief Curator Kendra Paitz. An exhibition catalog is forthcoming in summer 2020. The exhibition, publication, and programming are supported by grants from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Field trip support is provided by a grant from the Town of Normal Harmon Arts Grant Program.

January 7, 2020

location

University Galleries of Illinois State University, Normal