Steffani Jemison’s video Escaped Lunatic explores the image of running black bodies. Watch the work in full on our website.
The video borrows its narrative structure from early 20th-century cinema—the chase genre in particular—which often depicted African Americans in scenes of flight from various forms of authority. Shooting the work with a Houston-based parkour team when she was living in that city, Jemison links a structure borrowed from early cinema to a contemporary scene, boldly linking the unjust conditions of urban life for black folks across time.
In the wake of this week’s tragic violence in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas, associate curator Thomas J. Lax offers a meditation on the power of image making as a tool for political intervention, and shares three works from our collection by contemporary artists that respond to anti-black racism. Read Lax’s thoughts on works by Steffani Jemison, Kerry James Marshall, and Faith Ringgold.