In Conversation: Artist Michi Meko and Curator and Art Historian Key Jo Lee

Saturday, Jul 16, 2022 3 – 4 pm

835 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607

In celebration of the success of Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground, Kavi Gupta’s ongoing solo exhibition with Joan Mitchell Foundation Grantee, Artadia Award winner, and Hudgens Prize finalist Michi Meko, we invite you to join us in the gallery for a special discussion between the artist and Key Jo Lee, Director of Academic Affairs and Associate Curator of Special Projects at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Revolving around the extraordinary processes and foundational concepts underlying the works Meko created for Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground, the conversation will reflect on Meko’s ideas about isolation, while illuminating his use of abstraction as an avenue through which, as he says, to “paint what that energy of a Black soul looks like.”

Michi Meko is a multidisciplinary artist whose works engage metaphorically and abstractly with the paradoxes and contradictions that have shaped his personal history and the shared history of Black Americans, particularly in the American South. Recent exhibitions of Meko's work include The Dirty South, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, VA; Realms of Refuge, Kavi Gupta, Chicago, IL; Michi Meko: Black and Blur, Clark Atlanta University Art Museum, Atlanta GA; Michi Meko: It Doesn’t Prepare You for Arrival, Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia (MOCA GA), Atlanta, GA; Michi Meko: Before We Blast off: The Journey of Divine Forces, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA; and Abstraction Today, MOCA GA, Atlanta, GA. His work is held in the collections of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; King & Spalding, Atlanta, GA; Scion (Toyota Motor Corporation), Los Angeles, CA; MetroPark USA Inc., Atlanta, GA; and CW Network, Atlanta, GA, among others. Meko is the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant and the Atlanta Artadia Award and was a finalist for the 2019 Hudgens Prize.

Key Jo Lee is a Cleveland-based curator, art historian, and museum educator. She is currently the Associate Curator of American Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Lee recently curated her first exhibition at the museum, Currents and Constellations: Black Art in Focus (February 20–June 26, 2022), which presented twenty-five artists in nine thematic groupings, as well as introduced a series of permanent gallery interventions meant to broaden visitors’ notions of the relevance and impact of Black art. Her publication, Perceptual Drift: Black Art and an Ethics of Looking, with contributions from Erica Moiah James, Robin Coste Lewis, and Christina Sharpe, will be published through Yale University Press in fall/winter 2022. Lee is a doctoral candidate in history of art and African American studies at Yale University completing a dissertation entitled Melancholic Matter(s): Blackness, Photography, and Physics.