Saturday, January 28, 2023, 6–9 pm
Jenkins Johnson Projects, Brooklyn, NY
CURATORIAL AND ARTIST TOUR
Saturday, January 28, 2023, 7–8 pm
Jenkins Johnson Projects, New York is pleased to present The Horses Stood Like Men, a group exhibition curated by Dr. Margarita Lila Rosa. The exhibition features artists Franz Caba, Laurena Finéus, Michael Grant, Madjeen Isaac, Esteban Ramón Pérez, JJ Pinckney, and Mark Anthony Wilson Jr.
The Horses Stood Like Men takes its title from Toni Morrison’s novel, Home, where the late author uses animals to illuminate the brutality and beauty of humanity. In the novel’s opening scene, two Black children sneak into a field in Lotus, Georgia, where they are alarmed to find two horses biting “each other like dogs”, “their raised hooves crashing and striking”. The children hurry back through the tall grass, crawling their way out of the field, when they spot, in the distance, a man being tossed alive into a dug-out hole, his quivering leg extending out of the dirt cavity. Yet, the novel’s protagonist insists that he had forgotten all about the burial. “I only remembered the horses,” he narrates. “They were so beautiful. So brutal. And they stood like men.” The simultaneous beauty and brutality of rural life becomes a rich soil in we plant mythologies, fables, and syncretic traditions.
This group exhibition engages with the countryside as a fecund site for exploring the relationship between humans and the natural and spiritual worlds. Countryside mythologies account for the turbulence, violence, and dominance of nature within rural life. Yet they also account for the abundance, fertility, and spiritual fecundity of the land. In the context of syncretic societies, such as those of the Caribbean, the American south, and the rural west, themes of beauty and bestiality intersect, giving humans the feel of horses, and making horses as beastly, and as unequivocally dangerous, as humans.