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

Jun 11, 2021-Sep 18, 2022

Preserved sound into accelerationist light

Explosions into the  black inferno 

the last future we all would become

the portal into

the Quadraphonic playground  

Of exploding hearts, of new errant roots

—Precious Okoyomon

Poet and artist Precious Okoyomon will transform the AAM rooftop, installing a mixture of sculpture and organic matter to create a garden based on themes of pleasure, abundance, and desire. Okoyomon will be in residence in Aspen on multiple occasions, developing and transforming the project over its entire duration, making it a live and responsive commission that will literally grow and replenish over time.

Working in collaboration with local growers, Okoyomon’s garden will combine plants traditionally deemed invasive and dangerous with plants indigenous to the region, a juxtaposition which speaks to Okoyomon’s observation of the natural world as itself an object of colonization and enslavement. By combining invasive plants such as kudzu and honeysuckle with indigenous dandelions, mugwort, and milk thistle, Okoyomon will further their ongoing investigation of the racialization of the natural world. They will cross-pollinate these plants to rebuild the soil, forming a new abundant biosphere. Considering Aspen’s unique climate and topography, Okoyomon’s garden will also invert the idea that the art exhibition is a metaphor for an ecosystem by asking the viewer to consider this real ecosystem as an exhibition instead.

The garden will be endlessly hydrated by a stream of black algae water and, amongst the plants, Okoyomon will present larger-than-life-size “angel protectors”—sculptures made from soil, clay, and scagliola—to protect the garden and those within it. The collaboration with nearby Anderson Ranch Arts Center will add to the strong history of ceramic practice in the Roaring Fork Valley since the late 1960s.

Okoyomon will also introduce a series of collaborations with musicians to create organic soundtracks for the garden that will follow the changing seasons. Each musician will use a combination of external samples and sounds recorded from within the garden to compose an individual response to it. Visitors will be encouraged to move throughout the garden while respecting protocol for social distancing to experience these multisensory (and in part, edible) elements.

In addition, Okoyomon will team up with several friends—each of them artists, poets, musicians, theorists, filmmakers, or performers in their own right—to activate the exhibition through a series of live performances and gatherings. To celebrate the passing of one season to the next, Okoyomon will hold services on the solstices. These services will focus on Black feminism, self-fragilization, and queerness and will ask participants to chant, meditate, and dream new worlds. A poetry retreat will also take place in summer 2022 that highlights Okoyomon’s beginnings as a poet as well as the long and vivid history of exchange between artists and poets.

The exhibition is curated by AAM Curator at Large Claude Adjil.

AM 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.

Special thanks to Bluegreen & Bluegreen BLD.