On the Passage of a Few People through a Rather Brief Period of Time

  • Mary Kelly, WLM Demo Remix, 2008. Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York. © Mary Kelly
    Mary Kelly, WLM Demo Remix, 2008. Video, no sound, 90 second black and white film loop. Image courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York. © Mary Kelly

This exhibition is organized in coordination with the release of Mary Kelly’s Concentric Pedagogy: Selected Writings, published by Bloomsbury Press. Following the book’s lead, the exhibition focuses on “project-based” work by a younger generation of artists who have worked closely with Kelly. The exhibition position’s Kelly’s WLM Demo Remix as its thesis. Produced for her Love Songs project—featured in documenta 12 (2007) —WLM is a 90 second projected film-loop with a slow dissolve creating a bridge between past and present representations of the 1970 Women’s Liberation demonstration in New York, producing a visual palimpsest of the political “there-then,” in the “here-now.” In dialogue with the other works featured in this exhibition, WLM becomes a call to heed the repressive politics of the current moment, returning us to such historical pulse points as 1968, 1989, 2001, 2011, 2016 and 2020 as exemplars of resistance. 

The exhibition takes its concept of a “political primal scene” from the timely intergenerational, on-line conversation that Kelly moderated for the Tate Modern in 2015. The conversation’s title, On the Passage of a Few People through a Rather Brief Period of Time, was a nod to Guy Debord’s 1959 semi-autobiographical Situationist film of the same name as well as Kelly's exhibition at Pippy Houldsworth in London (2014). Kelly’s online conversation took a wide-angle view of the “discursive site,” which is, as she put it, fundamentally intergenerational, and at the same time, historically specific. Accordingly, the conversation framed those who were born during or after World War II, whose children were born in the late 60s and 70s, and their grandchildren in the new millennium. As Kelly explains, “What is passed on, from one generation to another, seems to be both a practical question, as Hayden White put it, ‘how to live in the present,’ and a riddle to be deciphered, as Walter Benjamin’s ‘secret agreement’ implies, the transmission of unconscious collective desire, which is, ultimately, the foundation of historical memory. Seen in this way, an era could be defined as the discursive footprint of shared aspirations left by a few people passing through an infinitely brief period of geological time.”


Artist Bios:

Mary Kelly, an artist, writer and educator, is known for founding a branch of first-generation conceptualism informed by feminism and psychoanalysis. Her project-based artworks include Post-Partum Document. The Complete Work (1973–79), The Ballad of Kastriot Rexhepi (2001), Love Songs: Multi-Story House (2007), and The Practical Past (2017). Produced during her tenure at UCLA, they attest to the significance of collaborative work extended by Kelly to her practice of teaching and artmaking. Her notions of the ‘method’, ‘project’ and ‘discursive site’ are the keystones to this combined practice, which have defined the ethos of her Interdisciplinary Area, and in turn, continue to inform the pedagogy of those who have worked with her.

Kerry Tribe is an artist and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Known for expansive and profound works in film, video and mixed media, her practice explores elusive aspects of human consciousness including memory, love and doubt. Tribe’s solo projects have been exhibited at SFMOMA, San Francisco; The High Line, New York; Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, Cambridge; The Power Plant, Toronto; and Camden Arts Centre, London.

Sharon Hayes uses video, performance, sound and public sculpture to expose specific intersections between history, politics and speech to reveal historic narrative and reignite dormant pathways. Hayes’ solo exhibitions have been shown at the Tanya Leighton Gallery in Berlin (2013), the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (2012) and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid (2012). She currently teaches in the Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania.

Latipa is an artist, writer, film-maker and Associate Professor at the University of California, Riverside, where she founded and directs the Memory and Resistance Laboratory. Her work summons sites of memory and resistance in the wake of historical dispossession, migration, and diaspora. Latipa has lectured and exhibited internationally at the Center for Feminist Studies in Zagreb, Croatia and School of Oriental and African Studies in London, UK, and more.

Meleko Mokgosi is an artist and Associate Professor at the Yale School of Art. His works engage history painting and cinematic tropes to uncover notions of colonialism, democracy and liberation across African history. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, recently with solo exhibitions at the St. Louis Art Museum, York University Art Gallery, The Pérez Art Museum Miami, Williams College Museum of Art, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, and the University of Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery.

Karl Haendal practice revolves around the appropriation of visual signifiers and their recontextualization through drawing. For Haendel, the act of drawing articulates both the human impulse and labor associated with draftsmanship, while offering a physical system to reconsider accepted imagery. His work has been included in group shows such as Cowboy at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver (2023); 100 Drawings from Now at The Drawing Center, New York (2020); Copines-Copains-Berlin at Wentrup Gallery, Berlin (2019); Game On! at the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa (2017) along with recent solo shows at Vielmetter Los Angeles (2023).  

Abigail Raphael Collins is an interdisciplinary artist using experimental documentary and video installation to consider relationships between intergenerational transmission and sound through a queer feminist lens. Recent exhibitions have been at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Pasadena Armory, Marathon Screenings, Angels Gate Cultural Center, PØST, Torrance Art Museum, and Seoha Gallery. Collins currently teaches video art at California Institute of the Arts. 

Damir Avdagić is an interdisciplinary artist who uses performance, video and text to address issues of historical memory and identity. By collecting and performing dialogues that are circumscribed by a single historical event, Avdagic reflects on how the civil war in former Yugoslavia has intergenerational conscious and unconscious effects on cultural identity, nationality and the self. Avdagic’s work has been shown at Whitechapel Gallery, London, Changwon Sculpture Biennale, South Korea, Kunsthall Charlottenborg Copenhagen & Kristiansand Kunsthall Norway amongst many others. He was awarded the BKH’s Photo Art Prize at Fotogalleriet, Oslo in 2014.

Every Ocean Hughes is a transdisciplinary artist who utilizes performance, photography, video, and text to explore kinship, queerness, and grief. Before returning to her studio in New York, she lived in Stockholm, Sweden for ten years working as a Professor of Fine Arts at Konstfack University College of Arts. Hughes has been featured at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Studio Voltaire, and Moderna Musset. 

Mary Kelly
Abigail Raphael Collins
Damir Avdagic
Every Ocean Hughes
Karl Haendel
Kerry Tribe
Meleko Mokgosi
Sharon Hayes
Juli Carson
Contemporary Arts Center Gallery
Exhibition Dates: 
Jan 20, 2024 to Apr 07, 2024
Saturday, January 20, 2024 - 2:00pm
Thursday, January 18, 2024 - 6:30pm
Kerry Tribe | Language, Legacy and the Problem of Other Minds

CAC Colloquium Room 3201  

Saturday, January 20, 2024 - 3:30pm
Juli Carson and Mary Kelly in conversation 

CAC Gallery

Thursday, February 8, 2024 - 6:30pm
Jane Jin Kaisen | Community of Parting  

CAC Colloquium Room 3201  

Thursday, February 15, 2024 - 6:30pm
Latipa | Circles of Renewal   

CAC Colloquium Room 3201  

Thursday, February 22, 2024 - 8:15pm
Alexandro Segade | Productive Sublimation in Superhero Comics 

CAC Colloquium Room 3201  

Thursday, February 29, 2024 - 6:30pm
Abigail Raphael Collins | Make This Go Away: Redaction and Militarized Media 

CAC Colloquium Room 3201  

Thursday, March 7, 2024 - 6:30pm
Gerard & Kelly | Disco Minimalism 

CAC Colloquium Room 3201  


Wednesday, March 6, 2024 - 6:00pm
Book Launch | Mary Kelly's Concentric Pedagogy
Thursday, March 14, 2024 - 6:30pm
Book Launch | Mary Kelly's Concentric Pedagogy
Saturday, April 6, 2024 - 4:00pm
Book Launch | Mary Kelly's Concentric Pedagogy