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Compound Announces Debut Exhibition RADICAL EMPATHY

The exhibition highlights personal and polemical narratives, responding to urgent issues of our time.

Compound Announces Debut Exhibition RADICAL EMPATHY

Compound, a new cultural non-profit dedicated to the intersection of contemporary art, wellness, and community, has announced its inaugural exhibition, Radical Empathy, opening November 2020 in Long Beach. Focusing on the confluence of art and activism, the exhibition highlights personal and polemical narratives, responding to urgent issues of our time.

The exhibition features artists Andrea Bowers, Megan Daalder, Noah Davis, Todd Gray, Leslie Hewitt, EJ Hill, Jenny Holzer, Mildred Howard, Jibade Khalil Huffman, Glenn Kaino, Rick Lowe, Narciso Martinez, Rodney McMillian, Jason Moran, and Tavares Strachan, amongst others..

Art in our political present can be read as a call to arms, illuminating what the late curator Okwui Enwezor considered "a change agenda." Compound proposes that a cultural space for the community is a place in which "to act," educate, and illuminate artistic ideas and ideals particularly at such a critical cultural moment. Originally scheduled for 2021, the exhibition will take the place of Chaos To Cosmos as Compound's inaugural curated exhibition. "Our mission is to create an equitable space for all, and Radical Empathy is emblematic of our curatorial vision as it relates to Compound's art's ability to inspire change," said Executive Director, Airrion Copeland. "While both shows have been under development for several years, we feel it is essential that this significant exhibition of artists and activists be at the forefront of the nonprofit's debut program," said Curator & Artistic Director, Lauri Firstenberg. "It simply could not wait."

Artists featured at Compound are invested in both poetics and politics. They attend to the intersection of aesthetics and politics and often identify as both artists and activists. Rodney McMillian examines the history of painting relative to politics of representation. His interrogation of the genre of landscape painting is approached through looking at land as a site of work, oppression and subjugation. His art making process is invested in a larger project of undoing systemic inequities in the realms of cultural production as well as historical and present day urgent injustices. Glenn Kaino will present a pure white recreation of the American flag, that has been tie-dyed with a Civil War-era tarring solution. Left alone, the fabric heats up as the oxidation of the chemicals creates an exothermic reaction. This spontaneous combustion appears as a symbolic representation of the volatile nature of this time of crisis. The resulting pattern is a beautifully poignant image of concentric circles, a target, alternating black, tan and white. Under the light of examination, the shadows that the flag casts represents the American flag as clear and pristine as a new flag might-a poetic reminder that even during our most unstable and explosive time, the ideals that exist within our concept of our country might still be preserved.

Some extend their work to the belief in art's capacity to heal, to transform our mode of thinking, our base of knowledge and to bear the potential to transform the world through the lens of beauty or radicality. The work featured stems from a humanist desire that acceptance and understanding can lead to an empathetic approach to equality. Leslie Hewitt's photo sculptures, through the lens of post-colonialism and minimalism, conjure both personal and political history and memory. Mildred Howard's work attends to compassion in the wake of injustice. Her wood and glass house sculpture entitled You Are Welcome Here addresses the politics of home and conjures history, memory, domesticity, diversity, equality, class and community.

Potent, expressive and motivating, the work included in Radical Empathy promotes kinship and hope, and visualizes aspects of our political reality and our desire for a salient future.


In advance of Compound's doors opening this November, a series of educational and wellness programs in response to Radical Empathy will take place online throughout the month of October.

GXRLSCHOOL and Compound Present Language of Empathy
Thursday, October 8th, 2:00-3:00pm PST
GXRLSCHOOL's Anna Bulbrook moderates a panel on Language of Empathy with change makers and thought leaders Allison Davis, Yessika Salgado, and Senay Kenfe.

Monthly Radical Empathy Discussion
Saturday, October 10th, 4:00-5:00pm PST
Radical Empathy discussion hosted by KLBP and Long Beach Public Radio's Ashley Aguirre. Ashley will moderate a panel of local leaders to discuss supporting immigrant and refugee communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Art for All
Sunday, October 11th, 2:00-3:00pm PST
Sunday, October 25th, 2:00p-3:00pm PST
Art for All is a youth program which will touch on topics of radical empathy and self discovery in quarantine, led by Sayon Syprasoeuth, an interdisciplinary artist and teacher. **Participants can pick up art supplies from Compound on Oct 10 and Oct 24 from 12p-3p in the courtyard. Please wear a mask.**

Social Justice x Wellness
Saturday, October 17th, 2:30-4:00pm PST
Meditation practitioner, teacher, and activist JoAnna Hardy will guide a meditation followed by a discussion on social justice and wellness.

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