History and New Futures

  • Living Monuments
    • Chris Revelle (II)

    resin, ink on paper, dimensions variable, 2019.

    Living Monuments questions the production and dissemination of history. Through lesson plans for teachers and pro-Confederate books in classrooms and libraries, the United Daughters of the Confederacy reshaped history and taught children to be “living monuments”. Their influential work not only taught the tenets of the Lost Cause, but removed black Americans from the pages except through the understanding of slavery. Appropriating the Jim Crow-era school books, the works are transparent resin casts of the originals. The false histories of the books have been hidden, while the words and writings of James Baldwin have been memorialized by the casing of the book. The writer, artist, and civil rights activist, James Baldwin, who spoke at length of the prevalence of white supremacy, the invention of race, and the abuse of history, has his words emerging from the ghosts of this education. Living Monuments uses the schoolbook as a battleground where education, history, and power are challenged by Baldwin.

    Artist Bio

    Chris Revelle is an interdisciplinary artist focused on civically-engaged work and a professor of contemporary art practices and theories. Through the examination of history, language, and visual culture, Revelle’s work confronts the failures and abuses of social, political, and economic systems. The goal of his practice is to challenge public memory/engagement while inspiring discourse and empathy. Revelle has exhibited in the United States, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Europe, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, and India, and has created artwork for United Nations organizations. His solo exhibition Swing Low was named Best Virtual Exhibit for 2020 by Phoenix New Times. In 2018, Revelle was the recipient of the Idea Capital Grant and a finalist for the 2017 Hong Kong Human Rights Art Prize. As an educator, Revelle is passionate about his students’ success – emphasizing research, dialogue, and persistence – while balancing technical and conceptual development. He was formerly the Chair of Fine Arts at Savannah College of Art and Design Hong Kong, and a Faculty Lecturer of Painting and Drawing at Arizona State University. Revelle earned his Master of Fine Arts from the School of Art at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) in Valencia, CA. More at @mr_revelle