TI-ROCK MOORE

"A Burning House"

July 26 - August 26, 2017

First Saturday Gallery Opening in conjunction with Whitney White Linen Night ||| 5 August, 6-9PM

TI-ROCK MOORE
Rend, 2017
mixed media
204 x 216 inches
 

A 100-year old cotton Ku Klux Klansman robe and hood, and a 200-year old silk antebellum dress have literally and figuratively been taken apart at the seams. The deconstructed fabric sections are then reassembled using blood-red thread as a quilt-like curtain that conceals the tormented ancestry of Americans of European descent andalludes to the restricted, puritanical, and silencing nature of white American domestic spaces. The elements that once bound the garments together—buttons, hooks and eyes, clasps, and the like—as well as every strand of thread that once held the seams together, are displayed in a case as historical artifacts. The fragile, unstitched threads are preserved as an entangled metaphor of interconnectivity that alludes to the myriad ways in which we are all implicated in a system of belief which privileges white over black, male over female, and violence over nurturance.

TI-ROCK MOORE
Rend (detail), 2017
mixed media
204 x 216 inches
 

A 100-year old cotton Ku Klux Klansman robe and hood, and a 200-year old silk antebellum dress have literally and figuratively been taken apart at the seams. The deconstructed fabric sections are then reassembled using blood-red thread as a quilt-like curtain that conceals the tormented ancestry of Americans of European descent andalludes to the restricted, puritanical, and silencing nature of white American domestic spaces. The elements that once bound the garments together—buttons, hooks and eyes, clasps, and the like—as well as every strand of thread that once held the seams together, are displayed in a case as historical artifacts. The fragile, unstitched threads are preserved as an entangled metaphor of interconnectivity that alludes to the myriad ways in which we are all implicated in a system of belief which privileges white over black, male over female, and violence over nurturance.

Tough Under Fire

TI-ROCK MOORE
Tough Under Fire, 2017
mixed media
84 x 12 x 16 inches each; 
84 x 175 x 16 complete installation

 

Six clear acrylic columns mimic the antebellum architecture characteristic of the 19th-century plantation home. Focusing on linkages between the enslavement of Africans and contemporary capitalism, this work interrogates the history and symbolic implications of the “Master Lock,” which was originally created to protect military equipment post-World War I. The very name of the padlock company and their one-time slogan “Tough Under Fire” conjure both the trajectory of how slavery established the precedent for the societal mechanisms that strengthen capitalism, as well as the enslavement to capitalism that contemporary Americans must endure to achieve even a tenuously minimal standard of living. 

TI-ROCK MOORE
New Dark Night, 2017
mixed media
34 x 14 x 14 inches
 
Paul McCartney wrote the Beatles’ 1968 song Blackbird as a metaphor about “black people's struggle in the southern states” during the Civil Rights movement. Adapting the British slang for girl, black “bird” translated as “black girl.” Many artists have covered the spare, haunting tune, including Dionne Farris’ roots acoustic version with the altered lyric “into the light of a new dark night” from the original “into the light of a dark black night.” The subtle shift in language in this semi-autobiographical piece underscores a persistent optimism for a new future that fosters hope for the kind of equilateral change envisioned by the movement.

TI-ROCK MOORE
Gazing, 2017
performance in collaboration with Nicolas Brierre Aziz
114 x 60 x 60 inches

French sculptor Auguste Rodin originally conceived The Poet, inspired by Dante, to sit atop The Gates of Hell. But when an enlarged version of the work was exhibited separately as The Thinker, it was transformed into a singular work of monumental humanity. Deriving inspiration from the original, contemporary thinkers—curators, poets, fiction writers—are positioned high above the audience, forcing the onlookers into the position of admirer looking up at this literally elevated subject, while allowing that subject of the gaze to actively engage with the expectations placed upon him or her by the spectacle. That these thinkers are young black intellectuals further complicates the assumptions within contemporary society made about youth, gender, and ethnicity as it relates to aspirational thought and the potential for leadership.

TI-ROCK MOORE
Cane, 2017
dried sugar cane
96 x 48 x 24 inches
 
Like indigo before it, sugar cane and cotton are staple crops of Louisiana's economy, and collectively these plants are nearly synonymous with a history of enslaved labor in the United States, from the Middle Passage through the current abuses of the prison industrial complex, which exploits its captive labor force for profit. Sugar cane stalks harvested near Thibodeaux, Louisiana, on the privately-owned Melodia Plantation are suspended and inverted, turned upside down in a symbolic gesture of reversal, one that metaphorically upends and thus makes right centuries of economic exploitation and injustice. 

TI-ROCK MOORE
Your Blues Ain't Like Mine, 2017
indigo dye, light and sound installation
132 x 144 x 4 inches (site-specific, other dimensions available by commission)

 

Although generally attributed to the Old Testament and Moses' Law, it was in Roman Law that 40 lashes were deemed sufficient to kill a man, and thus forty lashes less one, or 39 lashes, was believed to be the most you could administer without actually imposing a penalty of death. In the New Testament, Pontius Pilate ordered Jesus to receive 39 lashes, as more than that would have been considered un-Christian.

 

In contemporary reality 39 lashes would be considered “excessive force,” as it is more than enough to kill an individual. Police violence against Black children, women, and men has dominated the American landscape for the past several decades, fueled by the seemingly daily executions for virtually nothing more than the “crime” of being black. Instead, against the backdrop of an indigo-dyed blue wall, silence closes in, protecting those of their ranks who would martyr the innocent among us and yet walk away unscathed, with society finding no fault in their terminal actions against black bodies.

TI-ROCK MOORE
Golgotha, 2017
mixed media
72 x 72 x 12 inches

 

Alluding to the Holy Trinity, three suspended white crowns of thorns explore the ways in which Christianity and white supremacy are mutually reinforcing. While not inherently supremacist, so-called Christian values are used to incite xenophobic, homophobic, and racist violence. The white crowns explicitly reference Christ’s crucifixion at Golgotha (Hebrew for “the place of the skull”) while also symbolizing the ahistoric whitewashing of a Middle Eastern Jesus as a blue-eyed blond.

TI-ROCK MOORE
Three...Two...One, 2017
mixed media
72 x 36 x 12 inches

 

Representing how deeply embedded white supremacy is in law enforcement culture and why African Americans are disproportionately incarcerated and murdered by police, three suspended, parallel bullets memorialize the daily victims of police violence. Instead of the victim’s body, however, the viewer sees the white-originated bullet that put the black body on the ground, hung thus as a reference to this ubiquitous mode of contemporary lynching and the destruction to which unchecked police fire grounded in white terror leads.

TI-ROCK MOORE
Tired, 2017
mixed media
60 x 76 x 31 inches

The United States imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation; Louisiana incarcerates more of its residents than any other state; and New Orleans contributes the highest number of bodies to its prison industrial complex. Economies of cotton, sugar, and indigo harvested by enslaved men and women built Louisiana and the U.S.; now, imprisoned bodies are forced to perform the virtually free labor that maintains these industries in an unending cycle of poverty, imprisonment, and death. “Sick and tired of being sick and tired” is an oft-repeated phrase referencing the persistent fatigue of unrelenting struggle not unique but certainly endemic to the African American population. The exhausted tension between the desire and need to find rest from the weight of oppressive forces, and the inability, either literally or metaphorically, to achieve that repose on the thin, prison-issue mattresses, is the central focus of this work.

TI-ROCK MOORE
Flint, 2016
mixed media
48 x 12 x 12 inches

Moore’s piece “Flint” is an overtly speaks out against the mismanagement of the water crisis in Michigan, Flint, which began in 2014. The brown water constantly flowing from the bright white water fountain signals the ongoing situation in the majority black town, as well as, the extreme limitations placed on communities of color due to flawed infrastructures that privilege the needs of affluent and often predominantly white communities.

TI-ROCK MOORE
Flint [detail], 2016
mixed media
48 x 12 x 12 inches

Moore’s piece “Flint” is an overtly speaks out against the mismanagement of the water crisis in Michigan, Flint, which began in 2014. The brown water constantly flowing from the bright white water fountain signals the ongoing situation in the majority black town, as well as, the extreme limitations placed on communities of color due to flawed infrastructures that privilege the needs of affluent and often predominantly white communities.

Press Release

July 16, 2017 (New Orleans, LA)  JONATHAN FERRARA GALLERY is pleased to present "A Burning House", the first solo New Orleans exhibition of activist artist Ti-Rock Moore.  The exhibition will be on view from 26 July through 26 August with an opening reception on Saturday 5 August in conjunction with the annual Whitney White Linen Night, which brings 50,000 patrons to the Arts District New Orleans (ADNO). 

A Burning House takes as its point of departure an historic conversation between colleagues and activists Harry Belafonte and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during which King expresses his fears: “We have fought hard and long for integration, as I believe we should have, and I know that we will win. But I've come to believe we're integrating into a burning house.” A Burning House features all new works created by Moore expressly for the exhibition, including two site-specific, one-night installation/performances: “Converge,” a provocative audience participation piece with artistic contributions from New Orleans writers Kristina Kay Robinson, Valentine The exhibition also debuts “Gazing,” an evocative, collaborative performance work with curator and theorist Nicolas Brierre Aziz.  

Moore says of the exhibition concept  . . . Who should speak when the subject of art is racism? Is it the subject/victim only, when/if he or she is still able to speak? Or is it the perpetrator, in the zero sum game, victor-takes-the-spoils collapsing American psyche? With racism, you have two actors, two groups, a protagonist and an antagonist, a perpetrator and a victim, an Us and a Them, often, though not always, black and white. In this instance, whose voice has the authority to speak, indeed, to critique, the juggernaut of racism in the United States, that groaning, bloated, yet somehow newly recharged monster that so many people had naïvely relegated to the past? Who is responsible for her group; who is implicated by her privilege, and who by her debasement? And will the message necessarily be different if it comes from either messenger?

 

I acknowledge my white privilege as a direct remnant of slavery, the result of atrocities committed against others. I explore it through my acute awareness of the unearned advantage my white skin holds. White privilege controls America’s heartbeat, and our nation’s collective loss of memory, our historical amnesia, is to blame. I examine my self and identity in a critical manner; I hold my audience and me accountable for our complicity. Indeed, it is past time for white Americans to hold accountability for and stand up to the injustices of racial oppression.

 

My art is an expression of my activism, constantly and consistently mining the past to disrupt the present in order to secure the future. It is loud, expressing the pain and rage of our continued collective disavowal of responsibility from the very systems we uphold. My work is rooted in a critique of white supremacy and the systemic oppression of people of color in the United States, and it is reactive to the violent, vicious, genocidal, and unapologetic way in which we differentiate between each other based on race, gender, and class.


This is the great moral issue of our time. And this is why I’ve devoted my artistic practice entirely to breaking white denial and addressing social justice issues centered on racism. The notion of the artist as activist is at the root of my practice. My art is protest art and is reactive and loud and meant to elicit a higher consciousness. It should be observed as a civic tool. White privilege, white power and white supremacy control America’s heartbeat, and our nation’s collective loss of memory, our historical amnesia is to blame.  My work reflects my acute awareness of the unearned advantages my white skin holds. 

 

Born and raised in New Orleans’ French Quarter Moore emerged in 2014 with protest works created, in part, in response to the devastating, lingering effects of Hurricane Katrina. Moore renamed herself in homage to colorful and controversial twentieth-century painter Noel Rockmore, a New Yorker turned New Orleanian who, like Moore, had been the child of artists. Moore’s self-identification (petit or ‘tit in local parlance) with the mercurial Rockmore as a kind of spiritual protégé positions her within both local history and artistic traditions. Yet there is nothing small about Moore’s driving vision and ambition for her work, which focuses on dismantling the structures that support racism, a distinctly American narrative she seeks to unravel through her work.

 

Moore’s work has been exhibited across the country including The Houston Museum of African American Culture, the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series and Louisiana Contemporary at the Ogden Museum.  Her work is in several prominent collections including Beth Rudin DeWoody (NYC / Palm Beach/ Los Angeles), Lester Marks (Houston), Ric Whitney and Tina Perry-Whitney (Los Angeles), The Lauren and Richard Nijkerk Collection (Singapore), Peggy Cooper Catfriz (Washington D.C.) and the TV series Empire.

 

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For further information, press or sales inquiries please contact the gallery director, Matthew Weldon Showman, at matthew@jonathanferraragallery.com or at the gallery +1.504.522.5471.  Please join the conversation with JFG on Facebook (@Jonathan Ferrara Gallery), Twitter (@JFerraraGallery), and Instagram (@JonathanFerraraGallery) via the hashtags #TiRockMoore, #ABurningHouse, and #JonathanFerraraGallery.