Theater and Art Preview: ARTISTS-IN-PRESIDENTS: FIRESIDE CHATS (UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance / CAP UCLA)

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by Eve Meadows on August 12, 2020

in Art and Museums,Theater-Los Angeles,Virtual


UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA) presents Artists-In-Presidents: Fireside Chats for 2020. This project is one of this season’s micro-commissions and a commitment to artists, especially during this season of financial uncertainty. While Artists-In-Presidents will be free to enjoy from Tuesday, September 14, through Friday, November 13, 2020 over radio, podcast and social media, CAP UCLA is asking members of the community to support if able.

The creative project directed by visual artist Constance Hockaday recasts the presidency with a multi-vocal entourage. Hockaday has invited fifty artists to assume authority over a collective future. Alongside the 2020 presidential campaign, artists, including CAP UCLA fellow Ann Hamilton, critically-acclaimed playwright Daniel Alexander Jones, United States Artists President and CEO Deana Haggag, filmmaker and writer Miranda July and CAP UCLA alum Toshi Reagon, will write and deliver national addresses.

Hockaday and the invited artists are not calling for a fireside chat re-do, but rather an acknowledgement that many of the national narratives of liberation have erased Indigenous voices and the voices of people that make up the majority of this country — Queer, people of color, persons with disabilities, and women. The time for an update is overdue. As with every American president, Hockaday has offered participating artists access to professional speechwriters who will support them in finding their presidential voice. Each artist will also create a presidential portrait of themselves for social media and a future gallery exhibition.

Inspired by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Depression-era fireside chats, Artists-In-Presidents draws many parallels between today’s America of crippling social and economic fallout of a global pandemic and the upheavals of the Great Depression. The world has arrived at a moment of crisis and possibility once again and the assembled artists are acutely apt to address it.

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