Precious Okoyomon Exhibition Guide

June 11, 2021–September 21, 2022

Every Earthly Morning the Sky’s Light touches Ur Life is Unprecedented in its Beauty Precious Okoyomon

Aspen Art Museum

For the second iteration of PRECIOUS OKOYOMON’S unique eighteen-month commission at the Aspen Art Museum, the artist has transformed the museum’s rooftop exhibition space to reflect the harshness of the barren winter. The project, organized by curator at large Claude Adjil, expands Okoyomon’s ongoing exploration of ecological materials and frameworks in their work and furthers their investigation into how the miracles and terrors of our natural world have been indexed into strict policies and racialized categories. Completely reimagined for each passing season, Okoyomon’s project makes use of a long timeline to highlight transformation and change. In the summer of 2021, Okoyomon collaborated with local growers to create a garden that celebrated the abundance and muta- bility of plant life, combining invasive species alongside those indig- enous to the region and presented a monumental concrete sculpture of a black angel resolute in prayer presiding over the garden with the mountains behind her. For winter, Okoyomon has planted evergreens among the now dormant plants that flourished in these same beds just months ago and installed a working oven in the place of the now-absent angel. Titled Shining like a black sun at the end of the world and made out of hemp, packed mud, and concrete, the oven, with a form modeled after traditional West African storehouses, will burn for 8 hours a day on Tuesdays and Sundays every week. It will also be at the center of dinners hosted by the museum for the community. Okoyomon continues a collaboration with the jazz musician Gio Escobar of the ensemble Standing On the Corner, who worked with the artist to record chaotic randomized symphony for the garden in the summer. Ice Words Ghost Appearance for Strings, Woodwind, Brass and Drum formally explores the cold desolation in sound. Finally, one new figure titled I saw nothing in the darkness but myself , acts as Egunguns, or watchmen of the night, mythological masked spirits in Yoruba culture that collectively protect against the incursions of evil.

speaking in tongues first that what caused the fire in our bloodstreams recirculating heart refined into ritual In the eye of the morning dreams for keeping and sharing There is a sacredness to everyday life Amniotic memory Give me the soft scent of isolated grief Spirit and survival A bruise Out of the thickness of the frost the veil was now thin Nothing would be named

the changing rate of the shift of air Fire began against the brimstone Ash rain snow Fragile world Our unbearable wrongness of being Sun blinding my eyes Rewind unparalleled catastrophe Continuously renewed

LIST OF WORKS

THE TRIAL OF THE CENTURY Anne Boyer

Shining like a black sun at the end of the world Oven, cement, concrete, hemp, resin

I saw nothing in the darkness but myself

Ice Words Ghost Appearance for Strings, Woodwind, Brass and Drum Audio Standing On The Corner Art Ensemble featuring ... Shamel Cee Mystery – Guitar , Concert Drum Linton Smith II – Trumpet, Drum

The whole world

that lifetime

was sparrows

and the red inquisitions of January branches

Clerida Eltimé – Cello, Drum Syl Dubenion – Saxophone

I did not,

said Beauty,

find myself

uncriminal.

The animals we were were convicted

by the machineries.

I too was guilty

– a monk

wrapped in meat.

PRECIOUS OKOYOMON (b. 1993) is a poet and artist living in New York City. They have had institutional solo exhibitions at the LUMA Westbau in Zurich (2018), the MMK in Frankfurt (2020), Performance Space New York (2021), as well as major performances commissioned by the Serpentine Galleries, London (2019) and the Institute of Contemporary Art, London (2019). Their second book But Did U Die? is forthcoming from Serpentine and Wonder Press in 2022. They are the recipient of the 2021 Frieze Artist Award.

STANDING ON THE CORNER is an Earth-based art ensemble founded in 2016 by Shamel Cee Mystery, aka Gio Escobar, that functions best in Brooklyn, New York. Inspired by, made for, and consisting of the resilience and upheaval of all people of the African diaspora, Standing On The Corner thrives in fugitivity. They can appear on any particular night as the beat of one drum, as an orchestra of 30, or as a ghost entirely, but are always on the run. The ensemble produces musical, visual, and experiential works that equate hyperlocal incidence to cosmological wisdom. Visiting sites of emotional resonance under the weight of subjective histories and traumas, the art ensemble seeks to uncover the mysteries and the ghosts of hidden truths through focused interpretation.

READING LIST

Sentient Flesh: Thinking in Disorder, Poiesis in Black by R.A. Judy Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene by Donna J. Haraway Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature by William Cronon

Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ Gaillardia aristata Geranium x ‘Roazanne’ Iris siberica ‘Caesars Brother’ Liatris punctata

Aster macrophyllus ‘Twilight’ Additional Suggestions for Winter Gardens Kinnickinick creeping cotoneaster ‘Toms Thumb’ White Bud Mugo Red Twig Dogwood Yellow Twig Dogwood Common yarrow Rocky Mountain Sumac - Rhus glabra cismontana

After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene by Jedediah Purdy

Lonicera x heckrottii ‘Goldflame’ Lupinus polyphyllus ‘Gallery Blue’ Lupinus polyphyllus ‘Gallery White’ Lupinus polyphyllus ‘Gallery Yellow’ Mahona repens Mugo spp Nepeta Faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’ Penstemon “Elfin Pink’ Phlox subulata Picea abies ‘Pendula’ Populus deltoides Potentilla Ratibida columnifera Ribes uva-crispa Rubus spp Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldstrum’ Sagina subulata Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’ Salvia officinalis Sedum spp. Sporobolus heterolepis Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’ Thymus pseudolanuginosus Veronica pectinata Creeping Mahonia - Mahonia Repens Blue Chip Juniper - Juniperus horizontalis Japanese Tree Lilac - Syringa reticulata Weeping Willow Tree - Salix babylonica Weeping Spruce - Picea abies ‘Pendula’ Blue Fescue - Festuca glauca Coneflower - Echinacea mangus Euonymus alatus - Winged Burning Bush Virginia creeper - Parthenocissus quinquefolia Catmint - Nepeta

Between Heaven & Earth by Laura A. Huxley

The Blue Clerk: Ars Poetica in 59 Versos by Dionne Brand

smooth Sumac - Rhus glabra Praire Willow - Salix humilis Scotch Pine hillside creeper Coral Bells - Heuchera Autumn Jazz Viburnum Dwarf Blue Rabbitbrush Ilex (Holly) Berry Poppins Tufted Hair Grass Shrub Rose Diablo Ninebark Purple Fountain Grass Crimson Pygmy Barberry Alpine Carpet Juniper

The Collected Poems of Édouard Glissant by Édouard Glissant

PLANTS

Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle by Katherine McKittrick The Future of the Body: Explorations Into the Further Evolution of Human Nature by Michael Murphy

Achillea millefolium Achnatherum hymenoides Agastache foeniculum ‘Blue Fortune’ Alcea rosea ‘Blacknight’ Amelanchier spp. Anemone canadensis Anthyrium filix-femina Aquilegia alpina Aquilegia caerulea Aquilegia canadensis ‘Little Lanterns’ Artemisia dracunculus Artemisia ludoviciana Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ Calendula officinalis ‘Radio’ Campanula rotundifolia Clematis ‘Jackmanii Superba’ Clematis spp Clematis terniflora Coreopsis lanceolata Cornus sericea ‘Artic Fire’ Dicentra spectabilis ‘Valentine’ Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Cream’ Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Lavender’ Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Mix’ Digitalis purpurea ‘Camelot Rose’

A Handbook of Disappointed Fate by Anne Boyer

Ibn ‘Arabi: Selected Poems by Ibn Arabi

The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi by Valentine Long

The Matrix: Poems, 1960–1970 by Norman Pritchard

Rare Plants of Colorado by Colorado Native Plant Society

Every Earthly Morning the Sky’s Light touches Ur life is Unprecedented in its Beauty is curated by Claude Adjil, AAM Curator at Large.

ABOUT THE ASPEN ART MUSEUM Accredited by the American Alliance of Museums in 1979, the Aspen Art Museum is a thriving and globally engaged non-collecting contemporary art museum. Following the 2014 opening of the museum’s facility designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Shigeru Ban, the AAM enjoys increased attendance, renewed civic interaction, and international media attention. In July 2017, the AAM was one of ten institutions to receive the United States’ National Medal for Museum and Library Services for its educational outreach to rural communities in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley and its fostering of learning partnerships with civic and cultural partners within a 100-mile radius of the museum’s Aspen location.

Landscape design by Bluegreen: Rio Crandall

Sculpture fabrication by angus studio

Soil provided by Paonia Soil Co., Colorado’s living organic Supersoil

Special thanks to Bluegreen & Bluegreen BLD for supporting Precious Okoyomon’s exhibition.

AAM exhibitions are made possible by the Marx Exhibition Fund. General exhibition support is provided by the Toby Devan Lewis Visiting Artist Fund. Additional support is provided by the AAM National Council.

All texts © 2022 Aspen Art Museum

Nancy and Bob Magoon Director Nicola Lees

Assistant Curator Simone Krug

Exhibitions Director Kate Marra

Installation Director Jonathan Hagman

Aspen Art Museum 637 East Hyman Avenue Aspen, Colorado 81611

Installation Managers Eric Angus Charlie Childress

Editor Monica Adame Davis

aspenartmuseum.org (970) 925-8050

Hours Tuesday–Sunday, 10 AM–6 PM Closed Mondays

Admission to the AAM is free courtesy of Amy and John Phelan.

The artist would like to thank Rianbow, mummy, Claude Adjil, Nicola Lees, Gio Escobar, Quinn Harrelson, and Anne Boyer. Luis Yllanes, Eric Angus, Rio Crandall, Jonathan Hagman, Charlie Childress, Tim Mutrie, Rai Omri, Simone Krug, Rodney Hill.

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