Book Launch at the Center for Art, Research, and Alliances: A Reading and Conversation with Helen Cammock and Re'al Christian
March 31, 2023 6:30 pm–9:00 pm

In celebration of the publication Helen Cammock: I Will Keep My Soul (co-imprinted by Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought, Siglio Press, and the California African American Museum in Los Angeles), we invite you to join us on Friday, March 31st at the Center for Art, Research, and Alliances (CARA) in New York for a reading from the book, followed by a conversation between artist Helen Cammock and Re’al Christian (Assistant Director of Editorial Initiatives at the Vera List Center).

Convening polyphonous voices from past and present, I Will Keep My Soul is an orchestral layering of photography, historical documents, poetry and interviews, all rooted in the social history, geography and community of New Orleans. In this prismatic artist’s book, UK-based artist Helen Cammock traverses the city, rendering her observations and encounters into reverberant texts and percipient photographic images that tender the city’s invisible histories. She weaves these contemporary sequences with archival materials from the Amistad Research Center to sustain the city’s complex past. The book object itself—its flexibility, its tactility, its use of transparent paper to layer images and texts—invites the reader into a capacious experience in which multiple and sometimes competing truths can be seen and heard. Summoning, holding and arranging these voices with extraordinary deftness and acuity, I Will Keep My Soul coalesces into a rhizomatic and particularly American story of art and activism, of culture and capital, of being and belonging.

Doors open at 6:30pm EST, conversation begins at 7:00pm EST.

The Center for Art, Research, and Alliances (CARA-NY)
225 West 13th Street
New York, NY 10011
Between 7th and Greenwich Avenues, accessible subway at the 14th Street A/C/E station
For any questions, email info@cara-nyc.rg

This event is free and open to the public, but due to limited seating, advanced registration is required. Please R.S.V.P at this link.

Helen Cammock (b.1970) explores social histories through film, photography, print, text, song, and performance. She is motivated by her commitment to questioning mainstream historical narratives around blackness, womanhood, wealth, power, poverty and vulnerability. Mining her own biography in addition to the histories of oppression and resistance, multiple and layered narratives, reveals the cyclical nature of histories. Cammock was the joint recipient of The Turner Prize 2019 and the 7th Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Recent exhibitions include Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge, UK (2020); Collezione Maramotti, Italy (2020); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2019); Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2019); VOID, Derry, Northern Ireland; The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2019); Reading Museum, UK; Cubitt, London (2017). Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria; Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany; Somerset House, London; Hollybush Gardens, London, and Firstsite, Colchester, UK. She has staged performances at Turner Contemporary, Margate; Collezione Maramotti, Italy; The Showroom, London; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Cubitt, London; VOID, Derry, Northern Ireland and the ICA, London.

Re’al Christian is a writer and editor based in Queens, NY. Her work explores issues related to identity, diasporas, ecology, media, and materiality. Her essays, interviews, and criticism have appeared in Art in America, Artforum, BOMB Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, and ART PAPERS, where she is a Contributing Editor. She has written catalogue texts for Howardena Pindell, Zipora Fried, Performa, and the forthcoming Track Changes: A Handbook for Art Criticism (Paper Monument). Her curatorial projects include The Black Index (2020–22) and Life as Activity: David Lamelas (2021), which she worked on as a graduate curatorial fellow at the Hunter College Art Galleries. Her other curatorial projects include Steven Anthony Johnson II: Getting Blood from Stone at ISCP (2022), and The earth leaked red ochre (2022) at Miriam Gallery. Christian is the Assistant Director of Editorial Initiatives at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, a nonprofit research center based at The New School. In this role, she develops the VLC’s expanding publishing initiative, which comprises anthologies, artist books, exhibition booklets, communications projects, and Post/doc, a newly launched digital series. She received her master’s degree in Art History from Hunter College and her bachelor’s degree from New York University in Art History and Media, Culture, and Communication.

IMAGE: A two-page book spread from the print publication Helen Cammock: I Will Keep My Soul, co-imprinted with Rivers Institute for Contemporary Art & Thought, Siglio Press, and the California African American Museum-Los Angeles, 2023. Archival images courtesy of the artist Helen Cammock and the Amistad Research Center, New Orleans, Louisiana.