The New Social Environment#439

(Di)Visions of America: John Sims

Featuring Sims and Karen Finley


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Artist John Sims joins artist Karen Finley for a conversation. We conclude with a poetry reading by Bob Holman.

In this talk

Check out John Sims Residency Workshop — 2020: (Di)Visions of America at La MaMa, December 2–5, 2021 →

John Sims

Photo of artist John Sims.
Detroit native, Sarasota based multimedia artist, writer, and activist John Sims 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/anniversaries, and poetic/political text. His performance work has been featured across the country including the Virginia Museum of Arts, Ringling Museum of Art, Houston Museum of African American Culture, and the Detroit Institute of Arts. For the last 20 years, John Sims has been working on the national art-activism project, “Recoloration Proclamation,” which explores, re-examines, and remixes Confederate iconography as it relates to the African American experience.

Karen Finley

Photo of Karen Finley.
Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders
Born in Chicago, Karen Finley received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Working in a variety of mediums such as installation, video, performance, public art, visual art, entertainment, television and film, memorials, music, and literature, she has presented her work worldwide. Her work is in collections such as the Museum of Contemporary art and the Pompidou. She is the author of eight books, including a 25th anniversary edition of Shock Treatment (City Lights 2015 ), Reality Shows, (Feminist Press 2011), and George and Martha (Verso 2008). A recipient of many awards and grants including a Guggenheim Fellowship, NYSCA, and NEA fellowships, in 2015 she was awarded the Richard J Massey Foundation Arts and Humanities award.

The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poetry reading, and we’re fortunate to have Bob Holman reading.

Bob Holman

This is a portrait of Bob Holman. It is a pencil drawing on off white paper by the Rail's publisher, Phong Bui.
Portrait by Phong H. Bui
An American poet and poetry activist, Bob Holman is equal parts spoken word performer, professor, impresario, activist, proprietor of the Bowery Poetry Club, filmmaker and host of Language Matters (2015 Documentary of the Year, Berkeley Film Festival), and beyond. From slam to hip-hop, from performance to spoken word, he’s been a central figure in redefining poetry as it exists on, off, and beyond the page. Author of 17 poetry collections, he was described by Henry Louis Gates Jr. in The New Yorker as “the postmodern promoter who has done more to bring poetry to cafes and bars than anyone since Ferlinghetti.” Bob is a contributor of the Brooklyn Rail. His two recent books, The UnSpoken and Life Poem (both YBK/Bowery Books, 2019), were written fifty years apart.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.